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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Excelling At Belittling Them  

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

(There is a certain report that we need to have run monthly. Unfortunately, the people who are authorized to run the report insist on giving it to us as a heavily formatted PDF, which makes it all but impossible to pull the actual information out that we need. We have repeatedly asked for just the raw data, but they insist that it is utterly impossible for them to extract just raw data from the system. Finally, after months of cajoling, I manage to get the report runners to sit down with me for a meeting to walk through the process of pulling the report. From the start, they treat the meeting as a waste of time, acting bored and talking down to me about how “complex” the system is. They end up paging back and forth through several menus before they finally find my report. They make a big production about opening it up, and then they jump up trying to export it.)

Me: *holding my hand out* “Wait!”

Report Runner: “What?”

(I reach over, pull the mouse out of his hand, and scroll it over a centimeter, moving the cursor from a button with the “PDF” symbol to a button with the “Excel” logo. I click on it, bringing up an option box, where I select the option to export raw data as an Excel document, and then do so. I turn back to look at the group, which is now dead silent.)

Me: *in the most icily polite voice I can manage* “We would like future reports to be exported as raw Excel files. Please.”

(Thus far, they have managed to actually follow that request.)

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He Has A Very Descriptive Past

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

(My dad is regaling me with stories on a drive. As we go past a chemist:)

Dad: “That was the chemist that used to provide your grandfather with the drugs that kept him alive for ten extra years. The main pharmacist sold the place to someone else and when the new people opened up the computer records they found all sorts of horrible comments attached to people’s files: ‘Ugly, old b****,’ ‘Impotent pin-d**k,’ ‘Nice tits on her,’ etc.”

(Fast forward ten years and I am handing in a prescription at a chemist on the other side of the city. The pharmacist looks at my name on the script and says:)

Pharmacist: “Oh, [My Uncommon Surname]! Did you have a grandfather that lived in [Town of the first chemist]?”

Me: “Yes, I did.”

Pharmacist: “I used to own the chemist there and saw your grandfather often. I sold that place and moved here about ten years ago.”

Me: “Oh, really, how about that…” *smiles and nods, pulls my cardigan closed, backs slowly out of the place, and makes a mental note not to go back there*

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Best Early Anniversary Gift Ever

, , , , , , | Working | October 13, 2019

(My boyfriend and I have been together since I was in ninth grade. We’re out for lunch at a fast food place.)

Waitress: *to me* “What can I get you?”

Me: “I’ll have a chocolate shake.”

Boyfriend: “I’ll have fries, a cheeseburger, and a… vanilla shake.”

(The waitress nods, smiling at my boyfriend, and then disappears. She comes back with my boyfriend’s order, but mine takes an extra fifteen minutes. She kinda throws it down, which makes it threaten to fall over. I ignore her, until she comes back with two stacks of napkins. She hands one to each of us, and my boyfriend looks at his for a second before sneering.)

Boyfriend: “Be right back, babe.”

(Turns out, she has written, “If you ever want to dump the slut and hit me up…” with her Snapchat handle and number on the napkin. My boyfriend goes over and shows it to the manager, and then tells the manager that he wants to do something first, before the waitress gets chewed out. So, he comes back to the table, grabs my hand, takes me over to the door to the kitchen, waits until the waitress comes out, and dips me.)

Boyfriend: “Happy anniversary, babe!” *kisses me*

(Our anniversary isn’t until August, but… Best. Present. Ever. Her face was hilarious when I came back up for air.)

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Stubbing Out That Idea

, , , , , , , | Working | October 11, 2019

(I process payroll for a chain restaurant for a living. Part of my job is answering employee inquiries, ranging from “Can you help me set up my direct deposit?” to “I’m missing hours on my payroll.” I have a decent amount of experience, so it takes a bit to surprise me, but this is a gem that I’ve never received before. This is a call I get one Friday afternoon.) 

Me: “[Company] payroll, how can I help?”

Employee: “Yes, hello? Is this payroll for [Restaurant]?”

Me: “Yes, it is. How can I help?”

Employee: “I need to cash my check but I don’t have the time to go to [Restaurant] to pick it up and then to the bank to cash it, so I was wondering, can I just go online and print the thing from there and take it to the bank?”

(I start internally troubleshooting. Is this a direct deposit? Maybe he got the information wrong in the system and wants to take his pay stub to the bank so they can see if they can find it?) 

Me: “I’m sorry, I’m not sure I understand. What’s your name?”

Employee: “[Employee].”

Me: *logs into the system and pulls up the employee’s pay information* “I’m seeing that this was a live check, which means it would be at the store.”

(Then, it dawns on me.)

Me: “I’m sorry, are you asking if you can print out your pay stub and take it to the bank to try to cash it?”

Employee: “Yeah!”

Me: “Sorry, [Employee], that isn’t possible.”

Employee: “Why not?”

Me: “That just isn’t how it works. Our checks have special features on them that the bank needs in order to cash it.”

Employee: “Like what? What does it have that the pay stub doesn’t?”

Me: “Well, for one, it has the account number so they know which account to pull the funds. All payroll checks also have magnetic ink, which would be a big indicator of the pay stub not being valid. Also, the pay stub is just to show you how your check was calculated. It isn’t a check.”

Employee: *smacks teeth* “Man, how am I supposed to have money for the weekend?”

Me: “I don’t suppose you have mobile banking?”

Employee: “What is that?”

Me: “It’s basically an app for your bank that’ll allow you to deposit your check into your account from anywhere, so you could go pick up the check and mobile deposit it.”

Employee: “Can I do that with the pay stub?”

Me: “Unfortunately, no. It’s not a check, remember? What if you pick up the check and go to a check-cashing facility or a money center?”

Employee: “I can do that? I thought I could only do it with my bank?”

Me: “You sure can! I used to cash my checks at [Large Retail Chain]. There will be a fee, but it’s usually less than $10. Do you have a store or money center near you?”

Employee: “I do! That should work. Thank you for your help!”

Me: “No problem! I’m glad I could help. Have a great day!”

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