To Protect And Serve, But Not To Empower

, , , | Legal | October 14, 2018

Me: “This is [Police Department]. What is your emergency?”

Caller: “My power’s out.”

Me: “Do you believe someone is outside, and they cut your power?”

Caller: “No, the whole power is out in the area.”

Me: “Okay. Then you need to call the electric company.”

Caller: “But they aren’t open this late.”

Me: “There should be twenty-four hour number for the electric company to call in case of an emergency, ma’am.”

Caller: “I don’t know what it is. Why can’t you help me?”

Me: “Because this isn’t a police issue.”

Caller: “But all the power is out. My food will go bad! This is ridiculous!”

Me: “It’s still not a police issue.”

Caller: “What’s the number for the electric company, then?”

Me: “I’m afraid I don’t know.”

Caller: “You’re no help!” *click*

(The police have their own twenty-four hour number to call the electric company, but I wasn’t about to give it out. Sadly, too many people believe calling police will actually get their power turned back on.)

Thank You For Your Custom Custom

, , , , , | Right | October 14, 2018

(I am at a Renaissance Faire. I have created a custom piece of artwork for a customer. He ordered it a month ago, and it features his, his wife’s, and his children’s names. As he is coming to pick it up today, I have it visible behind my counter. A woman is looking at the piece and complimenting me on it. She seems a little drunk.)

Customer: “Gah, that’s so beautiful. How much is it?”

Me: “Well, that’s a custom order; he paid [total] for it. If you are interested, I can create something custom for you.”

Customer: “Nah, I want that one!”

Me: “I’m afraid that one is paid for; it was custom made and it has his family’s names on it. I can create one for your family, or if you want to take something home today, I have a similar piece for sale over here.”

Customer: “Why can’t I have that one?”

Me: *more firmly* “It’s not for sale. It belongs to someone else.”

(The drunk woman starts crying, but goes quiet, and sits down outside my booth. Five minutes later, I am talking to another customer and hear shouting. The woman has snatched the piece from behind the counter and is trying to run away with it! She makes it around the corner with me in tow yelling, when a man steps up and blocks her way with outstretched arms. Too drunk to figure out how to get around him, she sits down and starts crying. I take the piece from her, then realize the man who blocked her path is the customer who ordered the custom piece! I hand it to him, laughing.)

Me: “I guess you had to earn this one!”

(We sent the drunken woman to first aid to get her water and help her sober up. This year, she came back to the faire far more sober, and was browsing my shop. I don’t think she remembered the previous adventure, and she ended up buying a piece that was legitimately for sale.)

Unsettling Customers Go Skin-Deep

, , , , | Right | October 14, 2018

(I am working customer service at a local grocery store. We are known for our good customer service. It is getting close to closing when a mother and her teenage daughter walk in and grab a large cart. I inwardly groan because I cannot close my counter until the last customer leaves. The mother takes her time strolling through the aisles, looking wistfully around. Finally, they come to the counter to pay with only a few items. By now, it is thirty minutes past our closing time. As soon as I see them walk out the door, I close my register and stash my refund slips for the day. I am about to walk out from behind the counter when I look up and see the mother standing there, just staring at me.)

Me: *trying not to show she scared me* “Oh! Sorry, ma’am. Was there something I could help you with?”

(I am internally groaning because I have already closed my register and there is no way for me to do any more refunds.)

Customer: “Oh, yes. I told her I wouldn’t, but she just wanted me to come back in here and ask. You have such lovely skin!”

(She just stares at me.)

Me: “Well, thank you; that’s very nice of you.”

Customer: “My daughter wants to have your skin. I told her I wouldn’t ask, but she sent me back in.”

(I am getting really bugged out now, but keep trying to smile.)

Customer: “What skin cleanser do you use?”

Me: *giant sigh of relief now that I know she doesn’t want a refund, and she doesn’t want to rip off my skin* “Oh! I really couldn’t tell you. I wash my face with whatever is in the shower at the time. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.”

Customer: “I figured it was just good genetics, but really, I must tell my daughter something.”

(She looks at me expectantly. Just wanting to get her out of here, I say some brand name I remember from a commercial.)

Me: “That’s what I use. Nothing too fancy.”

Customer: “Hmm. I suppose… I guess I’ll tell her that. Good night, then.”

(She finally left for good, leaving me scared to walk out to my car in the dark.)

Those Student Loans Don’t Pay Themselves

, , | Right | October 13, 2018

(I have just explained our program to a caller who wants to make his small business an incorporation, and I’ve just gotten to the $25 referral fee we charge.)

Caller: “Yeah, I can’t believe that!”

Me: “Can’t believe… what?”

Caller: “You charge me for a referral to a lawyer? Are you serious?”

Me: “One hundred percent serious, sir.”

Caller: “I’m a mechanic, and we would never do that!”

Me: “You don’t charge for your services? Can I make an appointment for my car to have a complete engine rebuild?”

(Pause.)

Me: *PAINFULLY polite* “Are you still interested in a referral, sir?”

Caller: “Yeah, yeah…”

Scandinavian Summers Verses Bedtime

, , , | Right | October 13, 2018

(I work at a hotel in Finland. A lady with her grandkids comes to the reception desk.)

Customer: “What time do you make it dark here?”

Me: “It will get dark around 11 pm.”

Customer: “Can’t you make it earlier? The kids can’t stay up that late!”

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