Divorcing Yourself From Your TV

, , , , , | Right | November 25, 2018

(I work for a large TV provider in their billing department.)

Customer: “All of my TVs are showing [common error code that comes up for a variety of reasons].”

Me: “Well, that’s definitely something I can help with. Can I get your phone number so I can bring up your account?”

(I verify account information and see the account status is disconnected.)

Me: “It seems your account is disconnected; give me a moment to read some of the notes and see if I can’t find out what’s going on.”

Customer: “That’s weird. I just paid the bill and everything.”

Me: “I don’t see a balance due, so we definitely received the payment.”

(I begin explaining as I’m reading the notes, which in hindsight is a terrible idea.)

Me: “It looks here like a woman called in earlier and requested the disconnect for… oh.”

Customer: “What?”

Me: “The note says she turned it off as part of a… divorce?”

(There is a long pause, where I can almost hear his heart breaking at the news.)

Customer: “W-what? I had no idea. That’s what it says?”

Me: “I’m so sorry. That’s what the previous rep said in their note.”

Customer: “She didn’t say anything. I can’t believe it. You sure that’s what it says?”

Me: “That’s all it says.” *awkward pause* “If you’d like, I can reactivate the account, or you can call back later. Whatever works for you; we are available 24/7.”

Customer: “Yeah, I’ll just call back later when I figure this out.”

Me: “I’m so sorry.”

Customer: “Don’t be. You didn’t know. Thanks for your help.”

(To the customer: prior notes on the account showed you were a pretty nice guy and treated my fellow reps well. I am truly sorry about how I ham-fistedly broke the news of the divorce, and I hope you found someone more worthy of your affections!)

The Babysitter Blues

, , , , , , | Related | September 22, 2018

(My father wasn’t a great parent when I was growing up. He and my mother divorced when I was ten, when she found about his ongoing affair. Shortly after their divorce was finalized, he married his mistress, and they moved to a place on the opposite side of the city and expressed no interest in spending time with me, despite my asking to see him. Fast forward a few years: I’m now thirteen. My father, his wife, and their twin boys move back into our area of the city, and for the first time since the divorce, he has agreed to spend time with me. I’m hesitant at first, but at my mother’s insistence, I agree to meet. I go over to their home to have a quiet evening with their family, see their new home, and meet my half-brothers for the first time. I’m a bit uneasy at first, but I start to relax once the kids take a liking to me. I’m in their playroom in the back of the house when I hear the front door slam shut. Concerned I don’t hear my father’s or his wife’s voice afterwards, I decide to check it out. To my surprise, my father and his wife are no longer in the house, and have left a note on the table saying they’re going out and will be back in a few hours. In a panic, I call my mom.)

Me: *panicked* “So… Dad and [His Wife] are gone, and I’m alone with the twins. I don’t know what I should do.”

(My mom flips out, cursing my father and his actions, but quickly calms herself down when she realizes I’m panicking.)

Mom: “Did they say where they were going or how long they’d be? Did they even mention they were leaving at some point?”

Me: “They didn’t tell me anything. I was playing with the twins in their playroom in the back of the house when I heard the door slam. When I went out to check it out, I saw their note on the table, which says they’ll be back in a few hours. They didn’t leave a phone number for me to call in case of an emergency.”

Mom: “I’m going to try giving him a call and see what’s going on. If I don’t call you back in ten minutes, you call me, okay?”

(About two minutes later, my mom calls back, saying she’s called my father, left a voice message, and sent him a couple of texts demanding he call either one of us as soon as possible. Because she doesn’t know when or if we’ll hear back from him, she offers to come look after the boys with me if I’m uncomfortable doing so by myself. I regularly babysit the kids in my neighborhood and the children of my mom’s friends, so I tell her I feel comfortable enough staying and watching the twins. I was more caught off-guard how I was thrown into the situation. Around 11:00 pm, my father and his wife walk through the door, asking me how it went.)

Me: “It went fine. They fussed a little bit, but calmed down after a while. I got them to finally go to sleep around eight and they’ve been quiet since.”

Dad: “That’s great. I knew they’d like you.” *to his wife* “See? I told you she’d be a great babysitter.”

Me: “That’ll be $55.00, please. I prefer cash, but I guess you can write the check out to Mom and she can cash it for me.”

Dad: *taken aback* “What?”

Me: “Um… My fee for babysitting? I charge eight dollars per hour for one kid, and then an extra two dollars an hour per additional kid — an extra three dollars if one of them is a baby. So, two kids, that’s ten dollars an hour, and the two of you have been gone since 5:30, which is five and a half hours. That brings your total to $55.00.”

(The two of them look at each other, then back to me, in both horror and disgust, as if I had asked them to help me hide a dead body.)

Me: “What? You literally ditched me and your kids, expecting that I’d watch over them. You’re lucky I called Mom first and not 911. So, if you’re going to treat me like a babysitter, I want to get paid like one.”

(After he dropped me off at my mom’s, my parents had a long argument over my father’s antics. In the end, I was paid the money — no tip, though — but it was a while before I agreed to meet my father and his family anywhere other than a public place again.)

They’re Ignoring The Biggest Extra-Life That The World Can Give Them

, , , , , , | Related | June 12, 2018

Back when I worked at a gaming company as in-game support, one parent in a divorce filed a complaint with us about the other parent harassing them.

This is pretty common: lots of people meet in-game, fall in love, marry, and then fall out of love after finding out what living with this person’s like, or that moving across the country and getting a new job was a bigger problem than anticipated.

I quickly discovered this wasn’t the case here; these were two parents whose relationship predated the game. I knew this, because chat logs between the two parents were primarily angry discussions about their eight-year-old son and who’d get custody rights.

It turns out, neither parent wanted custody, since raising the child would detract from their game time. Interspersed with these awful parents trying to disown their son was the occasional message from said son, who would ask one parent or the other for help with homework or if he could help with dinner. Both parents would dismiss the child regularly.

I got this petition at three am. It took me half an hour to find the specific comment that my petitioner found worthy of complaint. I filed the petition as quickly as I could, then called my girlfriend to tell her how much I loved her.

They’ll Be Indebted To You

, , , | Related | June 8, 2018

(My mother has recently divorced my step-father.)

Man: “Hello, this is [Debt Collector Office]. I’m looking for Mr. [Ex-Stepdad].”

Me: *tired of explaining to every single caller* “Sorry, there is no one here by that name.”

Man: “Oh, isn’t this [my phone number]?”

Me: *sighs* “Yes, it is, but the man you are looking for doesn’t live here… anymore.”

Man: “Do you happen to have his contact details? I really need to get a hold of him. You know, he really is in huge debt, and it can cause a lot of problems if I can’t find him.”

Me: *now intrigued, as we never knew in how much financial s*** he actually was in* “Huge debt, you say?”

Man: “Yes, it really needs to be handled! Do you have any idea how to get a hold of him?”

Me: “Well, I don’t know his exact address, but he lives in [City] now. There are two under that name over there, as his father lives there, too, and he has the same first and last name, so you need to have [Ex-Stepdad] Junior. And do me one favour: make sure you find him. I’ll be laughing my a** off if he goes bankrupt.”

Man: “Don’t worry about that. Trust me, this debt is huuuuuge. Thanks a lot for the help! We might be able to find him now!”

Me: “My pleasure!”

Trash-Talking Your Ex

, , , , , | | Related | May 23, 2018

My parents recently divorced and my mom moved out as a consequence. Both of my parents were pretty down about it and relatively hostile towards each other, which put a lot of strain on me and my siblings.

One day my mom was visiting us children, eating a small snack with us at the table, while my dad was sitting on the sofa a few metres away. I went to the calendar hung on the wall to check for an appointment and realised that my dad had reassigned the row showing my mom’s appointments to instead show when each kind of trash was emptied by the city; however, the top row with her name was written in non-erasable pen.

That seemed like such a typical thing that a divorced couple would do out of spite that I broke down laughing hard, because my dad absolutely didn’t intend it to be malicious; he put it there simply because my mom used to take care of the trash and there was space. Of course my mom came to look at what was so funny and broke down laughing, too.

When my dad walked over, too, she joked about how insulted she was about being used as a trash reminder and he joked back that she deserved it. Consequently, my whole family spent a quarter hour laughing and wheezing on the floor. I think that moment saved our relationship as a family; that day was the first time they had talked with each other in person, not over text or asking us to relay messages. In the following days and weeks they started handling each other with a lot less tension and apologized for putting us between them. I’m very glad for that silly little coincidence.

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