Trust In The Exercise

| Working | December 6, 2015

(My boss, I, and another coworker are visiting a site in Salt Lake City to interview them regarding a project they completed, with a group of consultants who may pilot the same project at our site in Alberta. We’ve just finished up for the day and are heading out.)

Boss: “[Consultant], you know where you’re going, right? To get back to the airport?”

(The consultant is quiet.)

Me: “[Consultant]? We are going to be cutting it close for time; do you need us to look up a map?”

Consultant: “So, either this will be fine and it’ll be a really cool photo op for you guys, or you’re spending another day in Salt Lake.” *suddenly veers off the highway to a gravel road, and yells* “TRUST EXERCISE!”

(He ended up taking us to a really cool ledge of concrete overlooking the flats, with a big natural rock formation. It was indeed a very cool photo op – and now we all use ‘trust exercise’ as a joke for unexpected fun!)

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Incompetent By Any Estimate

| Working | October 30, 2014

(On every monthly electric bill it’s noted whether it’s an ‘actual’ reading or an ‘estimated’ reading. Typically “estimated” means that the reader came around but wasn’t able to access the utility closet for some reason. While it shouldn’t be a big deal to just have someone come out and re-read, the estimates are anywhere from 50% higher to twice or more our typical monthly average. This happened on the latest call.)

Me: “Yes, I’d like it if someone could come out and do a reading on my meter?”

Operator: “It looks like a reading was done just two days ago, sir.”

Me: “Actually, if you look in your system that’s an ‘estimate,’ not an actual reading, and it’s far higher than it should be.”

Operator: “Well, sir, you know that our estimates are actually based off very precise—”

Me: “Let me stop you right there because I’ve heard it before. Your ‘calculations’ are wrong. They’re based off the guy who lived here ten years ago, not us. Our average monthly consumption in the summer months is anywhere from $90 to $110, which if you looked at our CURRENT history you’d see. This ‘estimate’ is stating $197. And no, don’t tell me that it will ‘balance out next month’ like I was told last time because it didn’t. I want somebody out here to do a proper reading ASAP.”

Operator: “It’s not as easy as that, sir. We—”

Me: “Yes, it is. It always has been. When can he be scheduled to be here?”

Operator: “As this isn’t an emergency, we can’t have someone come directly—”

Me: “I know. You can’t have someone here now. Just tell me a date and a time range and I’ll make sure that the building maintenance has the utility closet unlocked during that time frame.”

Operator: “Can you… Can you please hold a moment, sir, while I set that up?”

Me: “Of course.”

(I get put on hold… and five minutes later the phone disconnects. Furious I call back, give a BRIEF explanation to the new operator, and get switched to a supervisor.)

Supervisor: “I’m looking at your account now, sir, and I apologize. It appears the person you were dealing with attempted to set you up with a repair visit, not a meter reading; they also had you flagged as a ‘problem’ customer with a ‘belligerent attitude.’ However I was actually listening in on that call and you have nothing to worry about. I’ll have your account fixed and we’ll have a meter reader out there Saturday between 10 am and 2 pm. Your account will be updated with the proper statement by Tuesday at the latest. I’m sorry that I can’t be more precise than that.”

Me: “No, ma’am, that’s perfect. Thank you!”

(My statement of almost $200 suddenly dropped to $92, and since then I haven’t had any more problems with ‘estimate’ readings!)

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Hasn’t Found His Calling

, | Working | September 16, 2013

(I’ve recently started a new job, and am listening in with an experienced colleague. A customer is very distressed because she’s having trouble finding out who her electricity supplier is, and she’s being passed from pillar to post. She doesn’t raise her voice or become abusive in any way. My colleague stonewalls her until she starts to cry and hangs up, defeated.)

Me: “You can call [department], and find out who her supplier is.”

Colleague: “I know, but I don’t want to. It’s too much hassle.”

Me: “She was crying!”

Colleague: “Yeah, a lot of my customers do that.”

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