This Story Will Take Your Breath Away

, , , | Healthy | February 23, 2020

(I work in an inbound 24/7 call centre while studying. We take calls for over 150 different companies and can rarely do more than take their details and have them be called back, but we are not supposed to let the callers know that. On one of my last Saturday night shifts, my coworker receives a call from an elderly man for a company that sells and waits on equipment for patient care, including oxygen tanks for private use. Extra note: on weekends we rarely get any calls, so there are only two people in the office at a time.)

Coworker: “This is [Company]; how can I help you?”

Old Man: “My oxygen tank isn’t working. Please send someone to help me.”

Coworker: “I’m sorry, but we are already closed. I can make a note for support to call you back, but they will only see it on Monday. Do you require the oxygen supply constantly?”

Old Man: “I need my oxygen tank and it isn’t working. Please help me.”

Coworker: “I am really sorry, but there is nothing I can do until Monday. Please hang up and call emergency services; they will be able to help you until we can get your oxygen tank fixed.”

Old Man: “No! These are your oxygen tanks! You have to help me! Please help me!”

(They keep going in circles like this for almost 15 minutes, with the man repeating the phrase “please help me” until he hangs up on my coworker, but not before she has convinced him to tell her his name and address.)

Coworker: “I don’t know what to do. I don’t think he’s going to call an ambulance. What if something happens to him?”

Me: “Maybe we should call an ambulance for him to be sure? You got his address, right? Lack of oxygen can make people very confused, I think.”

(My coworker called our supervisor, because we are not technically allowed to make external calls. He said he didn’t know, either. We could call emergency services if we wanted to, but if the man decided to sue for breach of privacy, it would be on us. I decided to call the non-emergency line instead of my coworker, since they couldn’t fire me, anyway. The operator seemed more than a little weirded out by me calling an ambulance for a stranger I had never seen or spoken to but had an address and a name for, but he thanked me and my coworker for the effort. I never found out what happened to the old man, but I hope he was okay, whether he needed that ambulance or not. Emergency services are completely free here, by the way, for you concerned US citizens out there. PSA: At least around here, if you suspect someone’s life is in danger, you are totally allowed to disregard any data protection slips your workplace had you sign.)

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Disconnecting From The Baby At Work To Have A Baby At Home

, , , , | Working | February 22, 2020

(I’m helping one of our more high-maintenance employees set up their computer. I’m also visibly pregnant, a week and change from my due date.) 

Me: “Okay, you’re all set. Let us know if you need anything else.” 

Employee: “Can I get your extension? I want to call you in case I have issues.” 

(We’ve been trying to discourage people from calling us techs directly and to use our ticketing system, instead, so it can be documented. Oh… and because their favorite techie may be out for silly things like being sick or having a baby.)

Me: “Oh, just call the general number or put in a ticket. Any one of us can help you.”

Employee: “Well, I’d like to get your extension, anyway. You’re the best tech I’ve worked with.”

(At this point, I’m exhausted. My ankles are swelling, the baby is kicking my ribs, and I need to eat. I just want to chill in my office for a bit.) 

Me: “Okay, it’s [number]. But I’m going on maternity leave in a couple of weeks, so you’ll need to call the general number or make a ticket.” 

(The baby arrived a week early. When I came back, I found out my officemate had turned off my phone’s ringer, partly because that employee called my extension several times a day for computer issues, and they complained because I wasn’t “more available” to help her. They complained enough that my employer considered asking if I’d be willing to come back early. They didn’t.)

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Closing Early And Opening The Floodgates

, , , , , , | Right | February 22, 2020

(I am a manager of an indoor children’s playland. I have the discretion to close early if we have not had any customers for a length of time. Weekends are always hectic with kids of all ages, but on weekdays we are mostly busy in the mornings with toddlers and often quiet in the afternoon, especially in winter with Daylight Savings. One Tuesday afternoon is particularly quiet. We had everyone pile out fairly quickly by 2:00 — probably for the school run — and we were left empty. I make the call at 4:30 that we’ll close at 5:00 and hang a sign on the door at 4:45 notifying customers. At 5:05, with everything locked up and the sign still on the door, I stand by my car, waiting with my colleague whose mum is late picking him up. Into the car park comes a car that parks next to mine.)

Colleague: “Who’s that?”

Me: “Oh, that’s not your mum, then?”

Colleague: “No.”

(A woman and her two- or three-year-old toddler come up.)

Woman: “Are you closed?”

Me: “Yes, I am terribly sorry but we have closed at 5:00 pm tonight. We will be open again tomorrow from 9:30 am.”

Woman: “But you can’t close early. He wants to play.”

(The kid looks like he doesn’t have a clue where he is and is preoccupied with a balloon.)

Me: “I am terribly sorry for the inconvenience but everything is already locked up and my colleague here is just about to be picked up. I won’t be able to open up again on my own.”

Woman: “I know [Owners] and they will fire you for closing early. They let my son and me play until close all the time.”

(This kid must have been minus-five-years-old when he met them!)

Me: “Again, I am sorry but [Owners] have not been the owners here for seven years, though they were the ones that created the rule to close early and the current owners agree with the logic behind it.”

(At this point, my colleague’s mum arrives but he stays with me, presumably in case there are any issues. Seeing the woman’s commotion, she, too, gets out of the car to see what’s going on.)

Woman: “You’re missing out on business here. You’re going to go out of business.”

Me: “Thank you for your concern, but as I mentioned, I am following protocol and we are now closed, so I will certainly be very happy to see you and your child another day for a play.”

Woman: *now yelling at us* “Tell me one reason why you can’t open. You should be open. I am a paying customer. I am right. You are wrong. [Owners] will fire you. You need to open now. My son is distraught!”

(He isn’t, though he looks upset by his mother shouting.)

Woman: “Why are you closed? Open the d*** playland now. My son is hungry and we want some chips. You’re not logical. You’re a b**** and you just want to go home early! Your manager will hear about this. This is illegal. I want free entry! I want free chips! You’re going to go bankrupt soon!”

Me: “Lady, stop screaming at us in front of your poor kid; you’re scaring him. We are closed. I was originally sorry that we inconvenienced you but I am no longer, as you’re being completely rude. I am the manager; I make the call if we close early and the correct, current owners approve this. I don’t need to explain myself to you, but since you enjoy going around in circles with no comprehension, nor manners, I’ll lay it all out for you. We had an unusually quiet afternoon and it made no logical sense to stay open any longer. Unless several customers came in, it wouldn’t cover the pays, let alone everything else. We are a business. We’re not a charity. The prices are what they are to cover rent, insurance, electricity, water, gas, food, drinks, staff, maintenance, software, play structures, cleaning, advertising, and a much longer list of items that are all behind the scenes to make us what we are today. Now, if you would like to come back on another day, when we are open, and you are polite and considerate, then we would absolutely love to see you and your son again. And if not, then I wish you a good evening, for we are all going home. Should you require any assistance leaving, I might be able to conjure up the security team we also have to pay for, to help you leave.”

(She stood there speechless for a minute before getting back into her car. The next day was my rostered day off so I didn’t have to deal with her expected wrath but, as it happened, she never called.)

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The Entitlement Alarms Are Blaring

, , , , | Right | February 20, 2020

(Incidents do happen in restaurants, and when they do, sometimes the most irritating part is not the incident itself, but those customers who demand free stuff because of it. One night, the fire alarm in the restaurant goes off for no reason, and it takes nearly fifteen minutes to get it to shut off. Once it does, other noise is just getting started:)

Customer #1: “Are we finally gonna have some quiet in here?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, sorry about the noise; the fire alarm went crazy for a while there.”

Customer #1: “So… where’s our free ice cream?”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Customer #1: “We all done endured all this noise, so we deserve free ice cream!”

(Soon other customers hear what’s going on.)

Customer #2: *pounding on the table* “I want ice cream! I want ice cream!”

(Finally, my manager explains to them that they can have ice cream if they pay for it, but the situation really isn’t one in which we owe them anything.)

Customer #1: “I could have just got up and left, but no! I sat here all this time and what do I get for it? Jack s***!” *leaves*

([Customer #2] just left, mumbling to herself. At least then we had some real quiet.)

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Barking Up The Wrong Sub Shop

, , , , | Friendly | February 20, 2020

(I’m in the break room at work when my friend comes in to eat lunch. She has picked up a sandwich from a local chain.)

Friend: “So annoying! I ordered online so it would be ready, but I ordered from the wrong store, apparently.”

Me: “That’s frustrating.”

Friend: “The worst part is that this one wouldn’t just make me my sandwich. They made me buy a new one even though I could show them that I had ordered and paid for one already!”

Me: “But you’re the one who ordered from the wrong store?”

Friend: “I know, but they still should’ve offered to give me a sandwich!”

Me: “It wasn’t their fault, though, and they might’ve gotten in trouble.”

Friend: “I know, but it would’ve been nice of them. Now I’m out $8!”

(I gave up trying to reason with her at that point. I don’t think she ever really understood why they didn’t give her a new sandwich even though it was her mistake.)

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