God Bless The Camera Age

, , , , , , | Working | October 14, 2019

(As a Christmas present, my girlfriend buys me a wicker swivel rocker to replace an old, rickety chair in my den. For those who have never had a swivel rocker, the box is large enough to use as an office desk, and it contains three pieces: the chair’s wicker frame, the cushions that are placed on said frame, and the base that stands it up and allows swiveling and rocking. The Saturday after we get it, we attempt to put it together correctly. “Correctly” means rotating the swivel mechanism in the base so the slot for the bolt is lined up with the hole in the base proper we’re meant to feed the bolts through. However, this mechanism will not swivel. At all. At first, we assume we just have a bad grip on it, so we attempt to put the chair together by reaching into the top of the base. Though cramped, we are able to do it, but not correctly. The chair is very clearly crooked. This is where the alarm bells are raised. It could be that improper assembly resulted in a crooked chair, or it could mean the swivel mechanism itself is crooked and won’t spin because the base is interfering with it. I choose to take a seat and test this theory. The swivel rocker at my parents’ turns on the slightest pressure in my feet. Attempting to turn in this one, however, gets me nothing. Even as I dig in my heels and lean to different sides — an attempt to see if I could dislodge the swivel mechanism — the only thing I manage to do is slide the chair across the floor. The swivel base definitely doesn’t work. Armed with that knowledge, I call the company. After getting through to a human — I assume a sales rep, because a proper title is never given — the following conversation occurs:)

Me: “I recently acquired one of your swivel rockers, but it doesn’t swivel, so I’d like to return it and get a full refund.”

Sales Rep: “I’m sorry to hear that. Can I interest you in a 70% discount?”

Me: “No. The chair doesn’t swivel. It’s defective. I want to return it.”

Sales Rep: “Okay, I’m sorry you’re unhappy. We can refund that just as soon as we get the product back.”

Me: “So, will you be sending a truck?”

Sales Rep: “No. We don’t have any trucks of our own. We outsource deliveries to [Delivery Company]. You’ll have to drive the product to one of our stores for your refund.”

Me: “And how exactly do you propose I put this gigantic box into my car?”

Sales Rep: “Oh, those are kind of big, aren’t they? Well, why don’t you rent a moving truck?”

Me: “Will [Company] be paying for the truck rental?”

Sales Rep: “Why would we pay for your rental truck?”

Me: “Because you’re the ones who won’t send a truck to pick up your defective merchandise.”

Sales Rep: “Sir, I told you we outsource to [Delivery Company]. Their services aren’t free.”

Me: “Neither is truck rental.”

Sales Rep: “Sir, there… Sir, my supervisor is requesting I transfer the call. Please hold.”

(I don’t even hear one note of the hold music.)

Supervisor: “Mr. [Girlfriend’s Last Name], I’ve reviewed the call. We’ll be calling [Delivery Company] to set up an appointment for a pickup. They’ll call you to confirm the date. Will there be anything else?”

(I assure him we’re done and end the call. It should end there, but sadly, fate is never so kind. One day, I come home and find this message waiting for me on my voicemail.)

Voicemail: “Hi, this is [Delivery Company] calling to confirm a pickup scheduled for [Tomorrow]. Please be home on this date so we can pick up your package. Have a nice day.”

(Did you notice there was no time parameter stating when I can expect them tomorrow? So, as far as I can tell, I have about a six-hour warning that the company is coming tomorrow at any point between midnight and midnight the following day. Good thing I wasn’t scheduled to work tomorrow, anyway. So, I spend the day doing chores around my house and finding ways to occupy my time when those are done. The doorbell rings exactly zero times, there is exactly one knock on my front door — which come when the newspaper hits it — exactly one time my creaky gate swings up — the mail carrier — and no notice stating the driver has even been to my property. The following day, I drive down to a company depot to resolve this. The response:)

Customer Service: “Our driver says he rang your bell and knocked on your door, but there was no answer.”

Me: “And what time was that?”

Customer Service: “What?”

Me: “What time did the driver arrive at my house?”

Customer Service: “The file doesn’t say.”

Me: “Do you track your drivers’ vehicles?”

Customer Service: “Yes.”

Me: “Then why not look up when the GPS puts him at my address?”

Customer Service: “We’re not allowed to share the locations of our vehicles without a court order.”

Me: “So, how am I supposed to believe the driver ever actually came to my address yesterday?”

(Predictably, a manager pounces on that moment.)

Manager: “Sir, our driver arrived. It’s not our responsibility to ensure you’re home.”

Me: “All I want to know is the time of the arrival.”

Manager: “4:25 pm.”

Me: “You’re sure it was at my place at 4:25 pm?”

Manager: “Yes! 4:25 pm on the dot at [My Address], according to our computer.”

(I hold up my phone.)

Me: “So, fun little fact: I have a few surveillance cameras on my property. One of them monitors the front door. The feed is recorded on a cloud server I access on any device, such as my phone. So, let’s watch 4:15 to 4:45 yesterday.”

(As you can guess, the only thing my camera sees is a few people walking on the sidewalk. There’s not even a truck present.)

Me: “I didn’t see a truck, did you?”

Manager: “What’s your address again?”

Me: “The one you called out earlier.”

Manager: “Could you just confirm it?”

Me: “What address do you have on file?”

Manager: “[My Address].”

Me: “That’s me. So why was there no truck?”

Manager: *pause* “Any chance you’ll be home tomorrow?”

Me: “What time tomorrow?”

(Miraculously, I got a mere two-hour block of time, the driver actually showed up within that time, and the folks who made the chair gave my girlfriend a full refund. Far more aggravation than there should have been, but at least it worked out.)

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Unfiltered Story #169559

, , | Unfiltered | October 10, 2019

(I thought the progression of customer comments on my costume at work was funny. I am dressed as a Hogwarts student, in a very authentic looking Hufflepuff uniform)

Customer 1: I like the Harry Potter getup.

Me: Thanks

Customer 1: Why Hufflepuff, though?

Me: Because I like Hufflepuff and that’s what house I’m in on Pottermore. Plus Hufflepuffs are like the underdogs.

Customer: Yeah. They are.


Customer 2: Oh, don’t you look cute in your uniform!

Me: Thanks

Customer 2: Oh! Oh, it’s like from Harry Potter!

Me: Yeah!


Customer 3: So are you being a school girl for Halloween?

Me: No, I’m a Hufflepuff. At Hogwarts. From Harry Potter.


Customer 4: So what are you supposed to be? Someone from Whoville?


Customer 5: I love your costume. Hufflepuff rocks.

A Sweet Ending

, , , , , , | Working | October 9, 2019

My old broadband company was hopeless. My net was down more than it was up, often for hours to days. Family friends were almost ready to sue them as their “service” was so bad locally. I decided it was finally time to switch to a faster and more reliable company.

The changeover was due at midnight and was to have a new router in the post before it. The post came that day and there was no new router in it, so I sighed and resigned myself to using Twitter to complain yet again about broadband issues. 

The new company responded to tweets quickly and found there was a system error, so the automatic release of the router when I signed up had not happened for some reason. For the inconvenience, he would credit my account with £8 for being without the Internet for what could be up to five days, but he put an urgency request on it.

The next day, to my surprise, a router and parcel came in the post. The parcel was a bar of chocolate from a local supplier with an apology note from the new broadband company, written by the guy I had spoken with on Twitter. After setting up my new router, the first thing I did was sent a DM to acknowledge that the router had arrived and thank him for the chocolate.

The next day, a second router arrived! I went back on Twitter to announce my routers were breeding. I was sent a free postage bag a few days later to return it and was thanked for telling them as so many kept them.

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She Was A Proud 5zNdkU Until She Got Married

, , , , | Working | October 4, 2019

(When creating online accounts, I usually fill the “Recovery Questions” with another random password and store both in my password safe. I do the same for a password for an online shopping service. Cue the following call:)

Caller: “I’m calling on behalf of [Shop] and wanted to clear a problem with your password recovery answer.”

Me: “Yes?”

Caller: “It seems you entered some random characters as the answer to, ‘What is your mother’s maiden name?’. You’re not supposed to put your password there, but answer the question.”

(I go into explanation mode on how password recovery features are insecure.)

Caller: “Still, you need to put a correct answer there; if you lose your password how do you plan to recover it?”

Me: “I have the password stored in my password safe.”

Caller: “You might lose it.”

Me: “It’s stored on a RAID 6 guarded by a three-generation backup off-site.”

Caller: *pause* “It’s still not something you’d remember.”

Me: *getting fed up* “So what? It’s stored on—”

Caller: *interrupting* “But it may get lost; it always happens and then you have no way to recover your account. We take this very seriously and—”

Me: *also interrupting* “Okay, I will remember this!”

Caller: “You want to tell me you would remember… 5zNdkU1Pr9kN—”

Me: *interrupting and reading the rest of the answer I stored* “Of course I will. That’s my mother’s maiden name.”

Caller: “…”

Me: “My mother was an alien from Tau Ceti Five and 5zNdkU… is a perfectly normal and actually even fairly common name there!”

Caller: “…”

Me: “Are you saying my mom was not a decent person just because she doesn’t have a German name like Huber or Maier? Are we at that point already again?”

Caller: “N… no, of course not, but…”

Me: “Because I didn’t expect [Company] to be in any way xenophobic.”

Caller: “Of… of course we are not, but…”

Me: “Great. So, I guess you have no further inquiries about my mother’s maiden name?”

Caller: “Er… have a nice day.”

Me: “Same to you.”

(I don’t know whether she thought I was nuts, and I’m usually not the one to play the xenophobia card, but seriously, what trouble do you put people through for an online shopping account?)

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Unfiltered Story #168386

, , | Unfiltered | September 26, 2019

Thanks to some odd wiring notes on our power meter, we commonly get bills for the usage of another house on our street, and they bills for ours. When chasing it up with the company, we were both told to both send in letters or emails to explain the scenario so that the company could sort it.

This mistake has happened multiple times, so our neighbour refuses to pay anything on his bill (even his own usage) until the invoice is correct, which can then lead to pending disconnections, which because of the company’s masterful handling of utility maps, intermittently dispatch to our property.

So, it was not as much of a surprise as it could have been when the meter box made a ‘ping’ noise as it opened at my house one evening. I scooted through the garage to the meter, and caught the worker with the box still open. After explaining the situation, and demonstrating the bizarre meter notes, he followed his procedure to call the company on cellphone and ask them for further instruction. They spoke a few moments, then he put the phone on speaker so we could both follow the outcome – I didn’t complain, as it was quite cold.

Nothing too strange happened through the beginning of the call; I identified myself so that the record could be accessed, ran through the case history, and then the customer rep went quiet for about thirty seconds without saying anything.

Me: “Hello? Are you still there, or has the phone-?”
Rep: “Yes, I’m still here, just shut up.”
Me: “What!?”
Rep: “Just shut up! I’ve had a long afternoon, do you identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander?”

This is a voluntary statistical question pretty common in most interactions with government or corporate services here, allowing the various bureaus to track number, interests, and needs of the various indigenous peoples.

Me: “Negative.”
Rep: “**** off.”
Me, intelligently: “Uh- What?”
Rep: “**** off! I’ve had a bad day and I don’t need you going off at me just because you don’t want to pay your bills.”
Me: “I apologise if I sounded hostile somehow, but I’m not looking to avoid paying my charges; I have paid my usage, but the invoices have been sent to the incorrect-”
Rep: “You s are all alike, getting drunk on OUR tax dollar, ****ing it up with your friends and hundreds of fat children. Go back to the ****ing bush!”
Me: “Madam! How dare you! Get your supervisor on the call.”
Rep, continuing as though I hadn’t spoken: “- stinking up the train and ****ing breaking **** wherever social security sends you. Dole begging human trash, the lot of you!”
Me: “Supervisor. Get me your supervisor now.”

Unfortunately, my request was not adhered to, as the rep then terminated the call. The worker, aghast, just closed the box without disconnecting our power.

Me: “What the **** was that about?”
Worker: “Sir, I’m just a contractor, but I’m really sorry that you had to deal with that. I’ll be filing an official complaint when I get back to base. Have a great night.”

The rep had on the file that it was myself who had been verbally abusive, aggressive, and bigoted (against ‘good white folk’), but it got put aside quickly enough when the worker’s official complaint came through. Thankfully as well, the day after that, the company apologetically contacted me to make amends for having messed up the billing once more; though it hasn’t prevented the mistake from occurring again, I thankfully have not had to deal with the same call rep who decided that I must be of Aboriginal descent from a partial conversation on the phone.