Finally Having An Electric Light-Bulb Moment

| UK | Working | December 29, 2014

(We have a pre-paid gas meter. The amount we pay for gas is loaded onto a plastic credit card-like card, and then the card is inserted into the meter to add the amount of gas. Recently, it’s stopped working, so my father calls the company.)

Call Center Rep: “Hi, you’re through to [Gas & Electricity Company]. My name is [Call Center Rep]. How can I help you?”

Father: “Yes, hello. My pre-paid gas card seems to have stopped working in the meter. I can’t add the gas I’ve paid for.”

Call Center Rep: “All right, I can help with that. Can I have the name on the account and your address?”

Father: “Yes, it’s [Name] and the address is [Address].”

(There’s a few minutes of silence.)

Call Center Rep: “Hmm, I don’t seem to be able to find you in the system.”

Father: “Our gas supply was only hooked up three months ago. My name should be there.”

Call Center Rep: “Let me just try again.” *few more minutes of silence* “Wow, I still can’t find you. Can I get your name and address again, and your telephone number this time?”

(My father gives her all of his information again, but she still can’t find his name in her system.)

Call Center Rep: “This is so strange. I really don’t know what’s going on, but your name and address just isn’t in my system.”

Father: “Look, I’m sitting here looking at my gas meter and all the information I was given when the gas supply was installed three months ago. My name and address has to be there.”

Call Center Rep: “All right, let me just transfer you to [Electricity Supplier]. They might be able to help you more than I can.”

Father: “Wait, what? No, this has nothing to do with my electricity supply so [Electricity Supplier] won’t be able to help me.”

(The rep doesn’t listen and transfers my father anyway and he spends the next ten minutes on hold. Finally someone answers.)

Electricity Rep: “Hello, this is [Electricity Supplier] and my name is [Electricity Rep]. How can I help you?”

Father: “Hi, yes, I don’t actually think you can help me. I’m having an issue with my pre-paid gas card, and when I called [Gas & Electricity Company], she said she couldn’t find my name or address in her system and transferred me to you.”

Electricity Rep: “Yeah, we have nothing to do with your gas supply. The only thing I can do is transfer you back to [Gas & Electricity Company] and hope that someone else can help you. I’m sorry.”

Father: “That’s okay. Thanks anyway.”

(The electricity rep transfers my father back to the gas and electricity company and he spends another few minutes on hold before someone answers. Surprisingly, it’s the same rep from before.)

Call Center Rep: “Hi, you’re through to [Gas & Electricity Company]. My name is [Call Center Rep]. How can I help you?”

Father: “Yes, hi, we talked a while ago about my pre-paid gas card not working. You transferred me to [Electricity Supplier], but they couldn’t help me and they sent me back to you.”

Call Center Rep: “Yes, I remember. What did you say your issue was?”

Father: *rather annoyed now* “My pre-paid gas card is no longer working.”

Call Center Rep: “Oh! Your GAS card isn’t working! Sorry, I thought you meant your electricity supply wasn’t working. Sorry. What was your name again?”

My Father: “[Name] and my address is [Address].”

Call Center Rep: “Yeah, there you are!”

(Thankfully, she was able to figure out the problem and sent a new pre-pay card in the mail. She also credited our account.)

Christmas Complaints Have Hit The Roof

| Kent, England, UK | Right | December 26, 2014

(The call centre takes calls from tenants of housing associations who need to report repairs. It is Christmas Eve and the night before there had been some extremely high winds and a lot of rainfall resulting in a massive amount of calls regarding roof leaks. Half of the engineers are on holiday, some of the call centre staff have called in sick, and call waiting times are over 45 minutes.)

Me: “Good morning, [Company]. Sorry for the wait. How may I help you today?”

Tenant: “I’ve been on hold for ages! I went outside this morning and found lots of broken roof tiles on the ground. My living room is flooding and my fence has fallen over.”

Me: “Ma’am, is there any room above your living room, another floor, or a loftspace?”

Tenant: “No, just the roof.”

Me: “Ma’am is the water coming through the ceiling or down a wall?”

Tenant: “It’s coming through the roof! So will you have someone out in the next couple of hours? I need to get my Christmas shopping done.”

Me: “Unfortunately due to the extremely high winds I have been advised that we cannot allow our roofing engineers to go up on roofs as it is too dangerous and they are at risk of falling. I can, however, get someone to you on 27th to resolve the roofing issue. However, your fence will not be repaired until January.”

Tenant: “WHAT? How dare you say you can’t get anyone to me today! This is ridiculous. My flat is flooding!”

Me: “Ma’am, there is no way I can get a roofer to come out and repair your roof today. There are 70 mph winds.”

Tenant: “That is no excuse! I have water coming into my living room and it is going to spoil CHRISTMAS!”

Me: “The only thing I can advise is to put a large bowl, bucket, or pot under where the leak is coming from until the 27th. There is not much more rain forecast so the leak should stop. I know it is a few days away but we just cannot allow someone up on a roof today.”

Tenant: “I can’t hold Christmas with a pot in my living room. This is not good enough! I WANT SOMEONE HERE TODAY!”

Me: “Ma’am, please stop shouting at me. I am trying to help you.”


Me: *getting a little exasperated* “Ma’am, I don’t know what else to say. It is just too dangerous for our roofers to go out today. Would you be happy to climb a ladder today?”

Tenant: “Of course not. It’s windy. Now go type on that little computer of yours and book someone to COME TODAY.”

Me: “Just a moment, ma’am, and I’ll speak with one of the engineer’s supervisors.”

(I put the tenant on hold, and explain the situation to a supervisor.)

Me: “Is there anything we can do?”

Supervisor: “What does she want us to do? Become omnipotent and turn off the wind? You know what, I live nearby and I was just heading home. I’ll go out and see if there is anything we can do from inside.”

Me: “Oh, thank you!”

(Resumes call.)

Me: “Sorry about keeping you on hold.”

(I hear the tenant shouting in the background.)

Tenant: “No, don’t you wipe up that water. Let them do it. It’s what they are paid for! Those little f***s never come out when we need them!”

Me: “Ma’am, are you there?”

Tenant: “That was so disrespectful and rude! I can’t believe you put me on hold!

Me: *trying to hold my tongue* “Ma’am, one of the engineer’s supervisors will be with you today.”

Tenant: “Well, see what happens when you kick up a fuss?”

Me: “Have a wonderful Christmas.”

Tenant: “Yeah, whatever. You should be fired.” *click*

(Three hours later, the supervisor called in to say that her roof wasn’t leaking. She’d left a tap on in her en-suite bathroom (which, it turned out, was above the living room). Best thing about this? The tenant had to pay for the repair bills and the callout charge.)

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Unhappy Holidays, Part 2

| Panama | Right | December 25, 2014

(We’ve been told not to say Merry Christmas to the customers at work and to say Happy Holidays instead, as someone might get offended. But sometimes, once or twice a day, a Merry Christmas will slip out, and this happens one of those times.)

Me: “Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

Customer: “No, that will be all. Thank you!”

Me: “Thanks to you for calling. Have a nice day and a Merry Christmas.”

Customer: “What did you just say?”

Me: “Thanks to you for calling—”

Customer: “Don’t you dare! You said Merry Christmas! I don’t celebrate Christmas! I’m an atheist! Do you know how offended I am?”

Me: “I’m really sorry, sir. I didn’t mean to offend you. ”

Customer: “I want to speak with your supervisor immediately!”

(I go get a supervisor and I explain him what happen, and as it is something normal to happen, she goes to the phone to apologize to the customer.)

Supervisor: “Thank you for holding, sir. The agent explained to me what happened and I’m really sorry about this occurrence, and I can assure you it won’t happen again.”

Customer: “What kind of sick people are y’all hiring? I’m an Atheist, why will you wish me a Merry Christmas?”

Supervisor: “Again, sir, I’m really sorry about that. But as it happens I don’t celebrate Christmas either and I’m not creating a fuss about people telling me Merry Christmas! So suck it up, get a life, and stop calling for this!”

(Later on, she explained to me that this guy had been calling several times during the day for the same thing, waiting for someone to wish him a Merry Christmas.)


Unhappy Holidays

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Putting The Grin In Grinch

| WI, USA | Right | December 24, 2014

(I do chat support for a major mobile device manufacturer. A customer comes in to chat all upset:)

Customer: “Christmas is ruined! I spent $180 on a cell phone and it isn’t going to be delivered in time.”

Me: “That is unfortunate, sir. I see we shipped it on time, and it is in the shipping company’s possession. But for some reason the tracking shows that the package had been diverted, causing a delay in delivery. I apologize.”

(I try to explain that it is not something I have any control over, but he isn’t having any of it. Finally, there is a pause, and then he tells me:)

Customer: “Okay, I just called my son over to the computer. He is here now. Go on… explain it to him. Tell my 12-year-old why you ruined his Christmas.”

(I was stunned. There were a few false starts where I started typing a reply, then deleted it and tried to gather my thoughts. I was SO glad this was a chat and not a call, or things would have probably gone downhill very fast.)

Me: “I am very, very sorry that the package did not arrive on time. I promise you, it is on its way and you will receive it soon. In the meantime, I want to ask you to please be patient, and to be grateful that you have a dad that would buy a cool phone like this for you, because there are a lot of children who have to make do with much less. I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas, and a good night.”

(The chat suddenly terminated a few minutes later, when he disconnected without a word.)

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Thank You For Calling The North Pole

| Dublin, Ireland | Right | December 22, 2014

Me: “Good evening. You’re through to [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Customer: “I mean it. It’s really him!”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Customer: “It’s really Santa Claus!”

(I now realize the customer is speaking to someone on his end. I hear gasping on his end.)

Me: “Sir, did you redial this number by accident?”

Customer: *still talking to his child* “Yes, yes, Santa. Jack is being naughty.”

Me: “Put me on speaker.”

Customer: “Jack, Santa wants to talk to you.”

(Puts me on speaker.)

Me: *in my best Santa voice* “Ho ho ho, Jack, you be good now so your Dad will let me bring lots of presents to you this year.”

Tiny Voice: “Yes, Santa, I promise.”

(Clicks off speaker.)

Customer: “Thanks for that. Couldn’t get him to go to bed.”

Me: “No problem. Merry Christmas.”

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