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Collect All The Information Before You Call Collections

, , , , , | Working | November 25, 2022

I fall behind on a retail store’s credit card bill — my fault — and get a letter threatening my credit score if I do not pay in full by the following Friday. I send a check and date it for the following Thursday so that it is before the deadline.

On Thursday, I receive an email with a ten-digit confirmation number showing that my account has been brought up to date.

The Monday after, I receive a call from the company I have just paid. The caller’s tone is no-nonsense, getting more aggressive as the call goes on.

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Are you [My Name]?”

Me: “Who is this?”

Caller: “Miss [My Name], this call is being monitored and recorded for quality assurance and training. Are you aware of your account with [Company] being past due?”

Me: “That account was paid in full last week. What is your name?”

Caller: “We have no record of you paying in the last two months. If you do not bring your account up to date today, [Company] will have no choice but to send your debt to a collector, and your credit score will be negatively impacted.”

I give up on getting this woman’s name.

Me: “I paid. I have proof on my bank statement and a confirmation number in an email.”

Caller: “Ma’am, I am not going to argue with you. If you do not pay [amount I just paid] by the end of this phone call, I will send your account to collections myself.”

Me: “Okay.”

A moment of silence.

Caller: “Ma’am?”

Me: “I’m here.”

Caller: “Will you be paying your debt today?”

Me: “No.”

Caller: “Okay, that’s it. You’re going to collections.”

Me: “[Confirmation number].”

Caller: *Smug* “Is that your card number, ma’am?”

Me: “It’s my confirmation number from the email from [Company]. I received it on Thursday.”

There’s another pause.

Caller: “Can you repeat that number, please?”

Me: “[Confirmation number]. I paid [amount].”

Yet another pause.

Caller: “Thank you for your time, ma’am.”

She disconnected the call without so much as an apology.

I contacted [Company]’s customer service and told them about our encounter. They denied any such call taking place and showed that I had indeed paid up before the alleged incident.

I cancelled my card and left a negative review online.

Ain’t Mansplaining A Gas?

, , , , | Working | November 25, 2022

I’m young and female. I’m fueling up at a nearby gas station. I am completely minding my own business and have made no indication whatsoever that I need any type of help. It’s worth noting that I’m the only female currently pumping gas; all the other customers at the other pumps are male.

The gas station attendant comes over and instantly gives me “creepy” vibes. He tells me I’m pumping gas wrong, takes the gas nozzle out of my hand, and proceeds to demonstrate the “right” way to pump gas — which involves tilting the nozzle a grand total of ten degrees to the side and using both hands on the handle. This is something I can’t do as my left hand is full with my wallet and keys due to women’s clothing lacking any form of pockets.

Attendant: “You’re spraying gas all over the ground, and you’re going to get it all over yourself. This is how you need to pump gas.”

Me: “Yeah, there’s so much gas on the ground already.”

The attendant looks down. The ground is literally bone dry; there isn’t a drop of gas on it.

Attendant: “There’s no gas on the ground.”

Me: “That’s my point.”

Attendant: “You have an attitude problem. I’m just trying to help you.”

Me: “I don’t have an attitude problem; you do. I never asked for any help.”

Attendant: “You have a major attitude. I’m only trying to help here!”

The gas pump shuts off as it has filled my tank. Luckily, I wanted a full tank. But if I had wanted to stop after twenty dollars, for example, I wouldn’t have been able to since he took over pumping. The attendant also hangs up the nozzle himself, which fails to give me the option for a receipt.

Attendant: “And you should put your keys and wallet in the car when you’re done with them so you can use both hands on the handle. You should be glad I’m preventing you from getting gas all over yourself.”

Me: “My door locks automatically after so much time; I’m not about to lock myself out.”

Attendant: “Geesh, what’s your problem? I’m only helping!”

Me: “Next time, ask if the person wants help.”

He left at that point, muttering something I didn’t hear under his breath. I left, too. When I got home, I immediately filed a complaint with the gas station’s company. I only got a form letter in response; I have no idea if they took further action that I wasn’t privy to.

Outsourcing To A Third Party Often Ends In Disaster

, , , , , | Working | November 25, 2022

I am a personal shopper at a chain grocery store. My company offers “delivery,” but instead of using their own associates to deliver the groceries, they use a third party “choose your own hours”-type company. The drivers in our town choose not to drive in the evenings. Ever. If a customer places an order for delivery for an 8:00 or 9:00 pm timeslot, they are not getting their groceries.

This is annoying for everyone involved because customers don’t get their items and call us to complain, but there is nothing we can do except submit a request for a driver, suggest they come to pick up their items themselves, or cancel the order. Naturally, we are the ones that bear the brunt of their anger. I 100% believe that these customers have the right to be angry and definitely should find the right channel to complain to. Again, I really do empathize with them.

Most customers eventually accept a corporate number they can call and make a formal complaint, but this story takes the cake. It is the day after Thanksgiving at around 3:00 pm.

Customer: “Hello. I am calling about an order that was placed on Wednesday for 9:00 pm. I never received it. This is the third time I’ve called.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. I talked to you on Wednesday night. I was not able to schedule a driver for your order.”

Customer: “I know. I told you I couldn’t come to get it because my truck is broken down, and you said you would keep requesting a driver until 10:30. I stayed up all that time waiting for my groceries and they never came. I am very unhappy about this, as you can understand, so I called earlier today and talked to somebody who said she was the manager. She told me she could cancel the order and I’d get a refund. The money is not on my account yet and I’m calling to find out why.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. It takes three to five days for the money to get processed.”

Customer: “Well, that is entirely unacceptable. I can only afford to buy groceries one day at a time, so I have had no food in my house for two days because of this. I need that refund right now because I have no money to buy food. I want my $98 back on my account right now.”

I’ve pulled the customer’s order up on the computer. It was for $49.

Me: “I am so sorry about that. Unfortunately, I can’t do anything to speed up that process. I have a phone number for customer service I can give you. They might be able to authorize a faster refund.”

Customer: “I don’t want to call a different number. I want you to do it. Give me back my $98!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m looking at your order. I can see you purchased a turkey, stuffing, green beans, sweet potatoes, rolls, a pumpkin pie, and a few sodas. It says your total was $49. Where are you getting the $98 from?”

Customer: “The rest is for my pain and suffering because you ruined my Thanksgiving!”

Me: “I think you’d better call the customer service line. They have the authority to offer you some additional compensation.”

Customer: “You know what? You’re an idiot. Your whole department is made up of idiots. You completely ruined my Thanksgiving and won’t help me. I will never shop there again and will tell all my friends never to shop there. You’re all a bunch of motherf*****s!”

She hung up. Part of us did really feel bad for her. We understand she had financial hardship, and this is the kind of thing that makes us wish we could do deliveries ourselves. Most of her order had been substituted anyway, since it was placed the night before Thanksgiving — ham instead of turkey, sweet potato pie instead of pumpkin, etc.

But any food would have been better than none, and if we’d have been allowed, we’d have been glad to take it to her. Still, there wasn’t any more we could do. We do not have the authority to offer her more than what she paid. I hope she called and complained to someone who actually could help her.

Un-Finnish-ed Business

, , , , , , | Working | November 24, 2022

I lived abroad for a while, and then I moved back to Finland. My mom had to sign for my phone and Internet to be connected, in her name, despite me not having lived with my parents for more than a decade.

I was informed by various employees, usually rudely, that I had “bad credit” and therefore could hope for nothing but a prepaid phone — definitely no house Internet. Now, that’s not something you want to hear, so I got my credit report. Maybe I had forgotten to deal with some payment when I left the country, and it had gathered interest in my absence? No, nothing of the sort — a report as clean as freshly fallen snow.

Further inquiries taught me that the phone/Internet company was looking for bills paid. In Finland. In the last two years. While I had not lived there for ten.

I offered proof of paid phone bills from the other country where I’d lived, paid electricity bills, paid rent, a recommendation from my landlord, anything. Nope, I needed to have bills paid in Finland; otherwise, their system flagged it as me not paying any bills. Well, I didn’t, seeing as the bills were nonexistent. During all this, the clerks also never failed to treat me as someone who was trying to scam them — by living abroad?

And that’s why I had to take my mom to the phone shop to sign for me, just like I did when I was fourteen.

What I really want to know is how people deal when they don’t have family here. Finland’s official line is that it wants to attract foreign specialists and experts. Well, if not having always lived in Finland is a crime, good luck with that.

The Curse Of The Babyface, Part 3

, , , | Working | November 23, 2022

I am someone who has the mixed blessing of being “babyfaced.” I say it’s a mixed blessing because this was seriously problematic for me in my teens and twenties. I had issues such as having the police called by a concerned citizen who thought a seventeen-year-old was passionately kissing a ten- or eleven-year-old, being kicked out of bars and nightclubs by rude bouncers accusing me of using a fake ID, and being carded at the theaters to see R-rated movies — despite the fact that I was thirty.

But this recent incident had me nearly in tears. It was after the health crisis lockdown, and right down the street from me was a massive playing field where I noticed people always running track or playing a sport. I decided I’d made enough excuses to keep sitting on my wobbly butt after noticing I could barely jog a block before running out of steam. I strolled into the office adjacent to the playing field to ask how to sign up for a membership.

The lady behind the counter gave me an odd look.

Lady: “I suppose you could, but I’m not sure you would fit well. The members here are pretty young, and you’re much older.”

Me: “That’s okay; I don’t mind young adults. I just would like to get back in shape and be active.”

Lady: “I understand that, but… are you sure you can keep up with them? Most of them are teenagers, and you are how old? Twenty-five? Twenty-six?”

Me: “Actually forty, but I don’t know whether to get offended or hug you!”

The Curse Of The Babyface, Part 2
The Curse Of The Babyface