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This Stupid Technology With All Its Numbers

, , , , | Right | October 12, 2021

I work for a call center for a major grocery store chain. Something I can do is make a temporary password for an account that’s a mix of numbers and both big and small letters. Most people understand when I say something such as “capital A as in ‘alpha’” or “lower case T as in ‘Tom’.” Today, I get a call regarding a password reset.

Caller: “I just got off the phone with another lady and I didn’t understand a thing she was saying about the temporary password she gave me. It made absolutely no sense.”

Me: *Thinking* “Okay, maybe she didn’t make sure she had the right letters.” *Out loud* “Not a problem. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Yeah, it was just a mix of random numbers and letters. What’s a capital?”

Despite dying inside, I try not to sound condescending.

Me: “It’s a large letter…”

Caller: “Well, can’t I just make up my own temporary password? Like a string of numbers?”

Me: “You have to use the temporary password we provide you; however, after that, you can change the password to something easier to remember.”

Caller: “Well, I don’t understand what she told me.”

Me: “I can generate a new password for you and walk you through the password reset over the phone.”

Caller: “Fine, but I don’t see why I can’t just do the numbers like what I had back when I first made my account in 1992.”

We did get her password reset. It was worse than pulling teeth. She kept asking why she couldn’t go back to like it was “before technology took over.”

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You’ve Been Cancelled

, , , | Working | October 11, 2021

I work at a call center for an online retailer. While we’ve always allowed customers to place orders for items that are not in stock but will be soon (backorders), our policy changed after many items were on backorder for months instead of a week or two for restock. Essentially, our CEO decided on a new policy where every few months we would cancel backorders we were not going to get back in for a long time and issue a coupon as well as a refund. As the person who has to field angry customers about this, I’m not thrilled by the change.

A woman calls in to check on a backordered item she thought should have shipped out. A week ago, our system ran its auto cancelation procedure and emailed out coupons. I pull up the order and discover that this item has been canceled due to the aforementioned reasons.

To say she isn’t pleased is an understatement. I explain the policy change, that we sent her an email regarding it, and that I also have the coupon number I can give her over the phone if she did not receive it. She screams at me, of course, that the cancelation of her four-dollar order is the final straw with us and that she doesn’t want a coupon — worth more than the item we canceled — and demands that I pull up another order to cancel that, too.

You’ll never guess what had happened to that order.

I explain that the second order was also canceled for the same reason and offer her the two coupons worth well more than the amount of the items that were canceled. She screams at me that she is “so absolutely done with you people!” and hangs up the phone.

She netted all her money back and almost twice that amount in free coupons. But some people want to be mad.

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The *Click* At The End Of A Story Was Never So Sweet

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: applesaurus772 | October 9, 2021

At my call center, we handle a specific benefit where members can purchase over-the-counter items with a credit that the plan gives. Mostly, we handle Medicare and Medicaid recipients.

My day is going all right and then this screaming banshee comes through the line.

Me: “Thank you for calling [Insurance Company]. My name is [My Name]. Who do I have the pleasure of assisting today?”

Caller: “My name is Mrs. [Caller], spelled—

She lists out the spelling of her easily spelled first name but doesn’t spell out her last name.

Caller: “—and I’m calling for my mother. Did you get that?!”

I roll my eyes to check on my few remaining brain cells.

Me: “Yes, Mrs. [Caller]. Is your mother available to give me permission to speak with you?”

It’s always easier for us to get permission from the member; otherwise, we have to call over to member services and see who’s on file simply because we don’t have access to it. That’s the plan’s choice, which we have no control over.

Usually, this is when important information comes up, like if the member has a physical disability or anything like that.

Caller: “Oh, fine. Here, talk to her.”

The caller hands the phone to her mother, and I hear garbled mumbling and a very choked, barely formulated yes. I start to give my recording script when the phone is snatched back.

Caller: “Did you hear her? She said yes!”

Me: “Unfortunately, I have to actually speak with the member in order to verify their identity.”

Caller: “Ugh. I’ve never had to do this before, but fine.”

She hands the phone back to her mother. I hear a garbled yes and indecipherable words and start to go into the recording script.

Me: “For security purposes, can you please verify your name?”

I hear mumbling and another yes before the phone is snatched back again.

Caller: “She had a stroke; all she can answer is yes or no questions! God, you have to make everything difficult. I just want to place an order!”

Me: *Rolling my eyes* “Yes, I’m sorry. I did not know your mother had a stroke. Let me go ahead and confirm with member services that you can speak on the member’s behalf. Can I get the spelling of your last name?”

She begrudgingly gives me the spelling while complaining. I put her on hold and call over to member services. Guess what? No power of attorney under her name is on file. Great.

Me: “I’m very sorry, Mrs. [Caller], but we do not have anyone by your name listed that can speak for the member.”

She starts cussing and screaming.


She then goes off somewhere with the phone. In the distance, I hear the mother saying yes again.

Caller: “She’s saying yes! Can you hear her? Now take my f****** order!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but since you’re not on file, I cannot take the order as the member, as you stated, cannot confirm their identity. In the meantime, you can use our website to place an order.”


Me: “Due to HIPAA laws, I cannot access her account. You will have to use the website.”


More screaming and cursing follow.

Me: “Ma’am, HIPAA has been around for decades. No one in my department would have given you access if you were not listed on the account or if the member could not verify their identity. You will have to use the website until you can send in your power of attorney documentation.”


Then, the phone changes hands.

Caller’s Husband: “Hi. What is the problem here? This is Mr. [Caller’s Husband].”

His name also is not on the power attorney form we have on file.

Me: “You’re not listed on the account and the member cannot verify their information. To protect the member’s health information, due to HIPAA, you are not allowed access to this account.”

Caller’s Husband: “This is ridiculous. Do we have to switch companies? Because we will cancel the insurance policy if you don’t place this order.”

Me: “I’m very sorry, sir, but no insurance company will allow you access to an account you’re not listed as authorized on. Due to HIPAA laws, if I granted you access, I would be jeopardizing my job, and there are criminal charges associated. No company is going to give you access. Now, again, you have to use the website. That is your only option at this time until we have a power of attorney form on file with Mrs. [Caller]’s name attached to it.”

Caller’s Husband: “I want to speak to your supervisor! This is the worst customer service I’ve ever seen! You just don’t want to do your job. Get me a supervisor.”

Me: “Unfortunately, without an account and without you authorized to speak on behalf of the member, you cannot speak with a supervisor.”

The caller takes the phone back.


Me: “Because you’re not listed on the account, you also cannot file a grievance. Now, as I’ve stated before, you can use the website to place an order until your power of attorney paperwork is filed. Otherwise, I cannot assist you.”


Me: “I’m very sorry about that, but I’ve given you your options. And you can stay on the call if you would like; however, I will not be able to assist you with this account.”

Caller: “Well, you’re f****** useless. I don’t have time for your bulls***! I want your name and your employee ID and your supervisor.”

Me: “For security reasons, we do not give out last names or employee IDs. My first name is [My Name].”

Caller: “I want your supervisor and last name. You have to give me that information.”

Me: “No, I do not. My last name is classified for my protection.”

Caller: “You’re such a b****. F*** you.”

Me: “Have the day you deserve.”

Caller: “Likewise, c***.”


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Tell Me What You Want Without Telling Me What You Want

, , , | Right | October 8, 2021

We sell tickets to the theatre, musicals, and various events.

Me: “[Ticketing Bureau], [My Name] speaking. How may I help you?”

Customer: “What was your name again?”

I know this isn’t going to be a fast call.

Me: “It’s [My Name with a spelling of my last name].”

The caller is obviously writing things down. I hear papers shuffling.

Customer: “Thank you, [My Name]. I’m calling because I ordered tickets for [Musical] on [date] for [seat numbers] with your coworker, [Coworker]. I called at [time].”

A few seconds pass as I wait for him to continue. He doesn’t. 

Me: “All right, and what can I help you with today?”

Customer: “Well, I ordered tickets for [Musical] on [date] for [seat numbers] with your coworker, [Coworker]. I called at [time].”

Me: “Okay, but what can I help you with today?”

Customer: *Slightly annoyed* “I ordered tickets for [Musical] on [date] for [seat numbers] with your coworker, [Coworker]. I called at [time].”

Me: “I get that, sir, but I don’t know why you are calling right now.”

Customer: “Oh, I haven’t gotten my tickets.”

Me: “Oh, I can see how that can be a problem. Were you supposed to receive them by email or by post?”

Customer: *Deep annoyed sigh* “Let me start again. I ordered tickets for—”

I now interrupt, which kind of goes against my morals, but this call is getting long and he is paying forty-five cents a minute.

Me: “I get that, sir, but I just need to know how you were going to receive them so I know where to check.”

Customer: “Oh, by post.”

Me: “All right, sir. Let me look at your account to see if they already went out. May I have your postal code and house number?”

Customer: *Now clearly annoyed* “We are registered in every single system. I have an account with you guys. You should be able to see my address in my account where the tickets got sent to.”

Me: “I understand, sir, but to pull up your account, I need to input the postal code and house number. It doesn’t pull up your account automatically.”

Customer: “Well, I don’t see how you…”

A female in the background tells him to stop being so annoyed.

Customer: “Uh, yeah. It’s [postal code and house number].” 

Me: “All right, I see that the tickets got sent to [address] about a month ago.”

The customer tries to bluster again, but I don’t stop talking.

Me: “Clearly you didn’t receive them, so I’ll send them again. Can I send them to the same address or would you like to receive them somewhere else?’

Customer: *Sheepish* “Same address is fine.”

Me: “All right, since it’s already later in the evening, they will get sent tomorrow. If you haven’t received them in three postal days, please let us know. We will then make sure you can pick up the tickets at the theatre before the show. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Customer: “No.”

I hear more of the female voice.

Customer: “Thank you for your help.”

Me: “Have a good day, sir.”

Female Voice: “Sorry for him being a pain!”

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For The Umpteenth Time, WE CANNOT READ YOUR MIND

, , | Right | CREDIT: XoX_K_XoX | October 7, 2021

Me: “How can I help you today?”

Caller: “I need to update my address.”

Me: “I can do that for you. Do you have your policy number?”

Caller: “No. Is there any other way you can find it?”

Me: “I can search by your postcode.”

Caller: “[Postcode].”

Me: “That postcode isn’t coming up.”

Caller: “It should. That’s my new one.”

Me: *Pauses* “So, it’s not the postcode in the system.”

Caller: “No.”

Me: “I need the postcode that is on your policy to find your policy.”

Caller: “Urgh. Why did you have to be so vague?! How was I meant to know that?”

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