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Kindness Has Found Her Calling

, , , , , | Hopeless | September 12, 2018

(I work in a call centre that’s open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We’ve just experienced a huge snow storm, which is completely out of the ordinary for Ireland, and the call centre had to close for two days. When we reopen, it is incredibly busy, and customers are furious at how long it is taking to get through. Then, I get this lady.)

Me: “Hello, you’re through to customer services. This is [My Name] speaking. Apologies for the long wait, and thank you for holding. How can I help you?”

Customer: “Hi! How are you?”

Me: “I’m good, thank you. How are you?”

Customer: “Oh, don’t worry about me. You’re obviously very busy today.”

Me: “Yes, I do apologise about that. We’re just experiencing a backlog after being closed because of the snow. I can log a complaint for you, if you wish?”

Customer: “Oh no, no, no. I used to work in a call centre myself. Tell me, what’s your target handling time for calls?”

Me: *confused* “Um, five minutes?”

Customer: “Okay, so I’ve been speaking to you for just under a minute. That means I can continue to talk to you for four minutes without ruining your stats.”

Me: “Okay. And what can I help you with today?”

Customer: “Oh, nothing at all. I just know how awful the customers must be treating you today, so I wanted to ring and have a friendly chat so your day isn’t all bad. I’m ringing the call centres of any suppliers I use and doing the same thing. You shouldn’t be shouted at all day because it snowed.”

(She genuinely had no query, and just filled the next few minutes with idle chit-chat. She just wanted at least one person to get a nice call on what was an otherwise awful day. We were so busy that she must have waited nearly an hour just to be nice to someone for five minutes!)

Might Actually Be Worth Getting Whooping Cough, Instead

, , , , | Healthy | July 27, 2018

(I’m midway through my pregnancy and have been putting off getting the whooping cough vaccine, so I call my doctor to schedule an appointment.)

Me: “Hi. I was wondering if I could book an appointment for the whooping cough vaccination?”

Receptionist: “What’s your name and date of birth?”

Me: “That’s [My Name] and [date].”

Receptionist: “It says here you’re 22 weeks.”

Me: “Yep.”

Receptionist: “Then, no, you can’t have an appointment.”

Me: “Um, right. Is there any reason why not?”

Receptionist: “The vaccine is only available from 26 weeks.”

Me: “Oh, right. I thought [Doctor] said I could get it from 16 weeks. I must have misheard. It’s okay, though, I can wait another four weeks.”

Receptionist: “Let me check with the doctor. Hold the line.”


Receptionist: *sarcastically* “Well, I guess the doctor just knows more than me, huh? Clearly I’m just a receptionist, so I wouldn’t know anything. Apparently you can get it from 16 weeks.”

Me: “So, can I book an appointment?”

Receptionist: “At 11 on Monday.”

Me: “That’s perfect. Thank you.”

Receptionist: “The vaccine isn’t free, you know.”

(Most health care is free while pregnant in Ireland, but things like vaccines aren’t.)

Me: “Yep, that’s fine. I have no issue paying.”

Receptionist: “Good, because you have to pay. You’re not getting it free.”

Me: “I know.”

Receptionist: “Because it’s not free. You have to pay.”

Me: *Pause* “Is there anything else you need from me?”

Receptionist: “No, but when you come in for the appointment you have to pay.”

Me: “Okay, bye now.”


Not Even A Nugget Of Consideration

, , , , | Right | June 6, 2018

(A small grocery store near where I used to live sometimes sells bags of frozen chicken nuggets that are EXACTLY like [Fast Food Place]’s nuggets. They usually only get a small shipment in, and they sell fast; they only get four boxes, each with four bags of nuggets. A friend and I arrive early and manage to get some; my friend gets two and I get one. A bit later, as we continue shopping, we hear a woman asking the man who stocks the nuggets…)

Customer: “I need all the nuggets you have left!”

Stocker: “I have six bags left, ma’am.”

Customer: “Is that all you have? I have a lot of kids to feed! I wanted all of them!”

Stocker: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but these sell out very quickly. Do you want them or not?”

Customer: *frustrated* “Yes, I want them!”

(As we are passing her on the way to the checkout, she glares at us when she sees we have some of the nuggets in our cart.)

Customer: “I needed those nuggets! You people are just so greedy!”

Friend & Me: “…”

Working Here Is The Bomb

, , , , , | Working | May 22, 2018

(One day I discover that the door to the chemicals cabinet in the lab is unlocked. Assuming this is an oversight, I inform one of the chemists who I am friendly with.)

Me: “Hey, [Chemist], I just wanted to let you know the door to the cabinet in that room is unlocked.”

Chemist: “Oh, that’s always unlocked.”

Me: “Really? But everyone who has access to this building can just walk into that room. Isn’t there really dangerous stuff in there?”

Chemist: “Oh, yes. You could make TNT with the stuff we have here.”

Me: *looks shocked*

Chemist: “What you do is—” *starts telling me the recipe for TNT*

Me: “I don’t need to know! But seriously isn’t that dangerous? A lot of people have access to this building.”

Chemist: “Ah, but you see, the trick is to make it without blowing yourself up. Most likely they’d kill themselves.”

Me: “Ah, they should make plastique. It’s nitroglycerin, basically, but it’s a bit more stable. I learned to make it when I was a kid.”

Chemist: *looks shocked*

Me: “That’s a quote from Terminator. I don’t actually know how to make a bomb.”

Charity Starts At Home, A Dozen Times

, , , , , | Hopeless | April 21, 2018

(I am working for Concern, a very well-known charity in Ireland that focuses on famine relief and aid for developing countries. I go from door to door, asking people to sign up for a small monthly donation. It’s quite a gruelling job; I have a list of a hundred doors to knock on in a day, and am only expected to sign up two or three people. The rest will all be no-answers or refusals, sometimes very unpleasant refusals. I’m at the end of a long, tiring day of knocking on doors and giving my pitch over and over. I genuinely care about the work our charity does, but when you’ve said a thing dozens of times in a day it’s hard not to sound like a robot, and though I never resent a simple refusal, some people really are shockingly rude about it. I approach one of the last houses on my round, trying to pluck up my energy, and knock on the door. A slightly scruffy-looking young man in his late twenties opens the door and I start my spiel. He holds up his hand to stop me and I’m expecting a refusal, just hoping he’ll be polite and won’t shout at me.)

Guy: “Yeah, it’s okay. I’ve been expecting you guys; I saw you going around the neighbourhood earlier. Come on in.”

(Surprised, I follow him into his kitchen.)

Guy: “Here, sit down and show me how to sign up. Oh, do you want a beer?”

Me: “I… uh… Thank you so much, but I don’t think I’m allowed to drink beer while I’m working. So, you’d… like to sign up?”

Guy: “Yeah, sure. I know about what your charity does already. How much would you like?”

Me: *not believing how easy this is* “Well, the minimum is €11 a month, but if you could manage to make it €21 a month or over, the charity gets an extra tax break from the government, which would increase the value of your donation to us.”

Guy: “Let’s round it up to €25 a month, then.”

Me: “Wow, thank you!”

(I start walking him through the donation forms.)

Me: “You know, I’ve never actually met anyone who had already decided to sign up before I came to their door!”

Guy: *nonchalantly* “Yeah, well, I’m already signed up to twelve others, so…”

Me: “Twelve?! I have to ask, is this okay for you financially? We don’t want anyone to feel pressured to do more than they can.”

Guy: “Don’t worry; it’s no problem. I came into quite a lot of money recently, and I’ve enjoyed donating to charities ever since. I like to spread it around to lots of different organizations rather than giving a lump to just one, you know?”

(We finish up the forms and I go to leave, thanking him profusely all the time. He caps everything by saying:)

Guy: “No, thank you for coming around today. I might have forgotten to include your charity if you hadn’t come to the door. Keep up the good work.”

(I was so touched I nearly cried. I hope that if I ever get rich, I’ll enjoy generosity as much as that guy did. For now, I just do what I can, and try to remember how much pleasure there can be in giving.)