When “Not Available” Means Exactly What It Should

, , | Right | March 30, 2020

(I work for an equipment rental facility that also offers online bookings. Sadly, I have some variation of this conversation more than I like to admit.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Rental Facility]; how may I help you?”

Customer: “Hi. I was on your website and I tried to book a reservation. I kept trying but it just kept giving an error message that you don’t have that equipment available for some reason. So, I figured I would give you a call and book it that way.”

Me: “All right, what was it you wanted?”

(They then proceed to give me all of the details about what they want and when.)

Me: “So, the reason why it was telling you it’s not available is that it’s not available for that time that you wanted.”

Customer: “Really? I just figured your website was not working or something.”

(What is worse is that they often tell me that they went through and tried to get it at another location or another time and it worked just fine, but not at the specific day/location they wanted. How do you figure it’s a website problem, then?)

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It’s All Down River From Here

, , , , | Right | February 27, 2020

I work at a place where people can rent rafts and go down the river. A few customers from Arkansas have too much to drink and end up on the opposite side of the river to where they’re supposed to land.

Me:
“You guys gotta paddle over here!”

Drunk Lady #1:
“We’re wasted!”

She then hits the water with the paddle and yells, but the rest of her group does not paddle. They begin to drift by.

Coworker:
“You guys need to paddle in or you’re gonna go by!”

Drunk Lady #2:
“We’re trying as hard as we can, you motherf*****s!”

Drunk Man #1:
“Y’all motherf*****s rushin’ us or something’? We could just float by… check out the rest of the river!”

Drunk Lady #1:
“We could, ‘cause these f*****s are bein’ rude to us! I know I’m a Southern Belle but I sure know how to be a b****!”

Drunk Man #2:
“Did those guys just call us motherf*****s? We have a kid here! Rude a**holes! F*****s are cursing in front of a kid!”

They reach the shore, and everyone stumbles out of the raft except for a terrified seven-year-old.

Me:
“I hope you guys enjoyed your day on the river.”

Drunk Lady #2
“How could y’all motherf*****s curse in front of a kid? I’m ten weeks pregnant, too! We’re from Arkansas! I wanna talk to y’all’s boss!”

The group starts cursing at us, and then one gentleman comes up to me.

Chill Customer:
“I’ve been coming here every year since 2006 and I’m gonna come back again, and I’ll be sure to leave those drunk a**holes at home.”

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Getting Owned By The Rent-To-Own

, , , , , | Right | April 3, 2019

(I work at a rent-to-own store where customers can rent furniture, electronics, and appliances for a weekly rate, eventually owning them. A large part of our job is chasing down people who haven’t paid the rent on their merchandise. One customer, in particular, a woman in her mid-20s, is a huge problem, going weeks without paying, not answering her phone, and not working with us at all. Then, she will come in and pay a portion of what she owes and vanish again for a few weeks. This cycle goes on for about three months and we’re fed up, calling all her contacts and visiting her house every evening. One day, an older couple comes in and the man speaks to my manager.)

Man: “Why are you guys harassing my daughter so much?”

Manager: “Who’s your daughter, sir?”

Man: “[Trouble Customer].”

Manager: “Oh. Well, sir, we’re simply trying to get her to pay her rental bill.”

Man: “She signed your papers, didn’t she?”

Manager: “Yes, she did sign the rental agreement.”

Man: “Well, then, she’s going to pay you. You can just leave her alone.”

Manager: “Sir, I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. She signed the agreement that she was going to pay the amount due, in full, by Saturday of each week. She’s never once paid on time and she’s currently two weeks behind.”

Man: “But she’s given you money, so what’s the problem?”

Manager: “I’m sorry, but I’m not completely sure where the disconnect is here. She has an agreement with us that says she will pay every Saturday…”

Man: “She agreed that she’ll pay you, and she will. There’s no problem, so leave her alone.”

(This went on for twenty minutes, getting nowhere. The concept of “must pay by an agreed-upon time an agreed-upon amount” was lost on this guy, and apparently, his daughter. They all figured that they could just get around to paying when they felt like it and that was their prerogative. The story with this customer continued for another few months, with her eventually getting behind by nearly six weeks in payments. We couldn’t do a legal replevin, however, unless she threatened to deface or destroy the goods. So, we made up a story to the cops about her threatening to smash her stuff if we didn’t leave her alone and we were able to get into her house and take it back. She wasn’t happy and cried a lot, but that’s the game you play with a rent-to-own store.)

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They’re Not Going Far In Life

, , , , | Right | September 12, 2018

(We not only rent equipment, but sell bulk material; topsoil, sand, and gravels, etc. We load customers’ vehicles, but cannot tie down loads or do maintenance on their vehicles for liability reasons. A customer has just had a large, top-heavy piece of equipment loaded into the bed of a pickup.)

Me: “Okay, you’re good to go as soon as you tie that down.”

Customer #1: “Oh, I don’t have anything to tie it with. Do you have any ropes?”

Me: “No, unfortunately, we don’t do that anymore as they were never returned. All we have is twine, and you’re welcome to that.”

Customer #1: “It’s okay; I’m not going far.”

(Later, another customer has just had half a yard of gravel loaded into a utility trailer that looks like it hasn’t been on the road since the 1950s. The threadbare tires are so flat that the trailer is practically riding on the rims.)

Me: “Ooh, that doesn’t look good. If you can pull around to our service bay, we have an air hose so you can top the tires up.”

Customer #2: “It’s okay; I’m not going far.”

(Later, yet another customer has rented a 40-foot extension ladder — 20 feet long and quite heavy. He has us put it on top of an old compact car with no roof rack. We give him some cardboard to protect what’s left of his paint.)

Me: “Okay, you’re good to go as soon as you tie it down.”

Customer #2: “I don’t have any rope. Can’t you do that?”

Me: “Unfortunately, we can’t; you have to do that.”

Customer #2: “Well, what do I do?”

Me: “Well, we can give you as much twine as you need, but you have to tie it down yourself.”

(The customer takes about half an hour and half a mile of twine to strap down a ladder that’s far longer than his car. Finally, he’s done.)

Me: “Are you sure that’s going to hold it?”

Customer #2: “Sure. Besides, I’m not going far.”

(The customer was traveling to another town about 30 kilometers away. Sadly, just about everyone who failed to understand their responsibility to safely transport goods or equipment had the same answer: “I’m not going far.” We had a running joke that there must be a vast, subterranean city beneath us, as nobody seemed to ever go “far,” and feared for those who had to share the road with these stunned weekend warriors.)

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Intern(ment) Camp

, | Working | June 6, 2016

(I’m an intern at a sound and light rental company. Since the beginning of my internship there, i have been nothing but degraded, put down, and had to deal with remarks like ‘are you retarded or just incompetent’ and ‘lazy ass cow.’ I’m already in the process of finding another place to do my internship but decency obliges me to stay in this firm until things are settled with my next intern address. Plus, my boss is on vacation so I can’t just leave. I’m busy loading the truck with equipment that’s quite heavy. Meanwhile, my colleague is testing some microphones, taking his sweet time doing so. I can’t lift one piece of equipment onto the truck on my own so i ask him to give me a hand.)

Coworker: “Can’t you see I’m busy? I’ll help you in a second.”

(I wait for a bit. He is still taking his sweet time testing the mics. I look around if there is other stuff to do, but there isn’t really anything. I go and ask him again.)

Coworker: “Geez, girl, can’t you do anything on your own? I’ll be there in a minute! Go smoke a cigarette or something.”

Me: “You know I don’t smoke.”

Coworker: “Whatever. Go do something for yourself. See if I care.”

Me: “Really? It will take you like ten seconds to come and help me out. If you could just do that we both can get on with our business.”

Coworker: *inaudible mumbling*

(Again, I wait. I get a text message in the meantime and go check it. Right there and then, my other coworker, who has declared himself ‘boss’ in my actual boss’ absence, comes to me.)

Coworker #2: “God-d*** it! Now I see you fiddling with your phone again! You lazy, stupid girl! I’m so d*** tired of you! If you think you’re too good to do anything around here you’re in for something!”

(I’m baffled with the injustice, and I try to say something but decide I’m not in the mood for a fight.)

Me: “You know what, dude? You’re right. Okay? You’re absolutely right. Whatever you say.”

Coworker #2: “Don’t you put on that disrespectful tone towards me! You know who you are talking to? I deserve some d*** respect from you!” (the guy is my age: 24)

Me: “For real?! Do I still have the right to stand up for myself here or not?”

Coworker #2: “No, you don’t! And if you don’t like it you can pack up and leave!”

Me: *suddenly calm* “Okay.”

(I grabbed my stuff and left. Coworker #1 suddenly hurried to lift the equipment into the truck, giving me an absolute death-glare. When my boss returned he didn’t even have the decency to have a normal evaluation talk with me without picking a fight. I never came back after that. Thankfully I found a new intern-place right after that was a hundred times better!)

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