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No One Wants To Be Trapped On A Boat With You, Anyway

, , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: Sivartius | February 4, 2022

I work for a customer service center, and I take calls for cruise and travel insurance. The company I work for is in no way affiliated with any cruise line; we just contract labor with the insurance company and have no control over the insurance policy or the decision of the claim

It’s been a rough day, as I listen and sympathize with people’s tragedies that are causing them to have to cancel their cruises. Then, just a couple of minutes before my lunch, I get this customer.

I give my greeting in an upbeat and cheerful manner, because I’m good at my job, and part of my job is to be friendly to people even if I’m feeling lousy. I get the info to pull up the customer’s account.

Customer: “Yeah. Finally. I had to cancel my cruise, so I need to get a refund.”

Me: “I’m very sorry to hear that you had to cancel your cruise, but I would be happy to help you. What was the reason that you had to cancel?”

Customer: “The state cancelled my unemployment, so I need to get the money back.”

I should mention that the insurance policies that the people sign say that they can get a full cash refund if they have to cancel for one of the reasons listed in the policy, or if they don’t qualify or don’t want to provide documentation, as long as they paid for the plan in time, they can get a Cancel For Any Reason Cruise Credit equal to 75% of what they paid for the cruise, not including what was paid for the insurance. The most common reason is for a medical emergency, and there are things like terrorist attacks and such. Needless to say, just wanting your money back doesn’t qualify for a cash refund.

I’m thinking I must have misheard her or something, I pause for a second to gather my wits.

Me: “What did you say was the reason you had to cancel?”

Customer: *Sigh* “I paid for this cruise with the money I got from unemployment, but I just got a letter from them saying I won’t be getting any more unemployment money after the end of this month, so I need that money back to pay bills.”

Me: *Baffled* “Ma’am, I do apologize for the inconvenience. The policy that you purchased has two sections. The first one is the Trip Cancellation benefit, which offers a full cash refund in the event—”

Customer: “Yes! That’s the one I need!”

Me: “The first one is the Trip Cancellation benefit, which offers a full cash refund in the event that you have to cancel your trip after you pay for the insurance—”

Customer: “Yes. I told you that is what I need. How soon do I get my money?”

Me: “The first one is the Trip Cancellation benefit, which offers a full cash refund in the event that you have to cancel your trip after you pay for the insurance for one of the reasons listed in the policy. Unfortunately, having your unemployment insurance run out is not one of the reasons listed in—”

Customer:What?! I was told that I could cancel for any reason and get my money back!”

Me: “There is a Cancel For Any Reason Cruise Credit equal to 75% of— ”

Customer:No! I need it all back!

Me: “Ma’am, I do apologize for the inconvenience. Per the policy, the full cash refund, minus what was paid for the insurance, is only available if we can document that the reason you cancelled for is one of the eight specified reasons. Otherwise, there is the Cancel For Any Reason Cruise Credit.”

Customer: “A Cruise Credit?! I don’t need me no Cruise Credit! I need my money back.”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry for the confusion, but the policy says that we only offer a cash refund if you have to cancel for one of the specified reasons. Those reasons are—”

Customer: “So, what are those so-called ‘reasons’?”

Me: “The first reason is for sickness, injury, or death, for yourself, a travelling companion, or members of either of your immediate families, that is diagnosed and—”

Customer: “So, what if I say I’m sick?”

Me: “I’m very sorry to hear that. As part of the claims process, we will need documentation of your sickness from your doctor so we—”

Customer:What?! Those are my private medical records. No way are you getting my private medical records. You have no right to see them.”

Me: “That is, of course, your choice, but the policy does say, ‘Diagnosed and treated by a licensed physician,’ so if we aren’t able to get the medical documentation, we would not be able to offer a cash refund. There is, however, the Cancel For—”

Customer: “Well, if I say that I’m sick, that’s all the ‘documentation’ you’ll receive or have any right to.”

Me: “Well, you’re welcome to submit a claim, but if we can’t receive the medical documentation, we will be unable to provide a cash refund.”

Customer: “But I need that money to pay rent and buy groceries for my kids. Are you saying you want my kids to be starving and homeless?”

Me: “I’m very sorry to hear that. Perhaps you can speak with the Unemployment Office to see what they need to—”

Customer: “I already tried that, and they said they wouldn’t. I need that money.”

Me: “Then perhaps you could see if there are any kind of state or local assistance programs? Or perhaps a local church or charity would be willing to help you?”

Customer: “So, what you’re saying is that you want my kids to be homeless and starving! I didn’t know they were gonna end my unemployment when I paid for this cruise. It’s not my fault!”

Me: “I’m very sorry to hear about your financial difficulties. Unfortunately, I can’t change the contract. Perhaps—”

Customer: “No one told me I had to give no reason to get my money back! I shouldn’t have to give no reason why to get my money back. That’s why you buy insurance.”

Me: “I am very sorry for the inconvenience. I am unable to alter the contract or change the reasons listed in—”

Customer: “And what are these ‘reasons’?”

I go through all the reasons listed in the policy, and, surprise, surprise, none of them apply to her. She gets even more upset, screaming even louder.

Customer: “I want to speak with a supervisor since you want my children to starve to death!”

Me: “I’d be happy to get a manager on the line as soon as possible, but they can’t change the policy, either.”

Customer: “Then connect me with someone who can!”

Me: “Any changes in the insurance contract would require the sign-off of the entire legal department, and even then, it would apply to new policies, not ones already signed.”

This is a guess on my part.

Customer: “Fine! Then let me talk to the CEO!”

She says that like I have the CEO on speed dial or something.

Me: “I can submit an escalation to our Executive Team.”

Customer: *Still screeching* “I don’t need no ‘Executive Team’! I didn’t ask you for no ‘Executive Team’. I told you to let me speak with the CEO!”

Me: “The Executive Team is the highest level I have access to, and even there I don’t get to talk to them, just submit escalation requests.”

Customer: “That’s not good enough! I want the CEO’s private cell phone number! I know you have it!”

I don’t.

She kept threatening to call the cruise line and tell them to fire me, but I kept trying to tell her that I don’t work for the cruise line. Eventually, she said she was “gonna sue yo a** and send you to prison,” and hung up.

Being the friendly and helpful person I am, I submitted the escalation, and I made sure to put in the exact details so that if she called in again, people would know what she was up to. And then, I went to lunch, secure in the knowledge that I was most likely never going to hear from her again.

Gotta Get Down On… The Procedures

, , , , , | Working | December 28, 2021

I work on a dinner cruise ship as a deckhand. An overhead announcement comes on.

Cruise Manager: “All servers, text me the name of our current house wine and a work-appropriate song title. All bussers, text me whether coffee is included in a brunch ticket and a work-appropriate song title. All bartenders, text me a suggestion for a sweet signature cocktail and a work-appropriate song title. For every wrong answer, I will be inserting Rebecca Black’s Friday into the playlist.”

Five minutes later:

Overhead: “Friday, Friday…”

Are You The “Vacation Type” Now, Kiddo?

, , , , , | Working | October 30, 2021

When I’m fifteen, I go on an open-bar cruise, but obviously, I don’t plan on partaking in that. I’m also not the vacation type, so I spend most of the trip on playing video games and hanging out indoors. I learn what a virgin drink is and get really interested in trying all of them since they’re free. I’m a few drinks in when I get to a drink I’ve never heard of.

Me: “What’s a ‘blended white Russian’?”

Bartender: “It’s like a milkshake but with coffee, and it has alcohol in it.”

Me: “One of those, virgin, please!” *Tries the drink* “Oh, this just tastes like milk… Did you put the coffee in there? Can you?”

He takes it back and puts the coffee liqueur in it. I do not know that it’s alcohol.

Me: “Oh, wow! That’s great. Thank you!”

A few minutes pass…

Me: “Another, please!”

Another few minutes…

Me: “Another, thank you!”

After doing this for a WHILE, I start to get really ill. I see my mom walking across the deck and I call her over.

Me: “Can I get the room key? I drank too much milk too fast so I think I’m going to be ill.”

My mom turns on the bartender.

Mom: “I feel like you should know better than to fill a kid full of milkshakes when we’re on a boat.”

Bartender: *Deadpan* “That’s not a milkshake. It’s a white Russian.”

Me: “Don’t worry. I ordered a virgin!”

Bartender: “You asked for coffee liqueur.”

Me: “I asked for coffee.”

Bartender: “This is a bar. The only coffee I have is Kahlua.”

Mom: “Oh, my God, you’ve been serving a fifteen-year-old drinks!”

Bartender: “Oh, he’s fifteen?” *Looks at me* “You look younger.” *Walks off*

We were under the impression that there was no minimum drinking age in international waters so we didn’t try to complain, which I just learned isn’t even true. Also, “free drinks” was false advertising; most of the drinks I ordered were “Specialty Cocktails” and were very expensive. Sorry for my 400$ vomit, Mom.

Anxiety That Gets You Through The Day

, , , , , , | Working | November 24, 2020

I’m at our main ticket booth, and the captain for one of our private charter cruises is hanging out waiting for his guests to arrive. He witnesses my encounter with a phenomenally stupid guest and my obvious urge to beat my head against a wall.

Captain: “So, what are your coping mechanisms for dealing with wanting to yell at guests?”

Me: “The certain knowledge that if I yell at guests I’ll probably get fired.”

Coworker: “Anxiety.”

Me: “Yeah. Anxiety.”

Captain: “I’m not sure I like those answers.”

We Think Maybe They Don’t Know What A Boat Is…

, , , , | Right | November 19, 2020

I’m working at the main ticket booth of a local sightseeing cruise company. The booth faces landward with our docks behind it. Guests line up in designated queues in the courtyard to wait for boarding, and we lead them down the ramp and onto the dock. I am finishing a reservation for a guest.

Me: “We’ll begin boarding at 11:45 from that line in the courtyard.”

I point to the line. The guest doesn’t see it.

Guest: “Where?”

Me: “Right there. You’re looking right at it.”

The guest then points at the courtyard.

Guest: “Is that where the boat is going to be?”