His Reason To Be Angry Has Been Cancelled

, , , | Right | October 10, 2019

(I work in a call center for a government agency that helps people pay for their health insurance plans. It’s not uncommon for people to be confused about how to cancel insurance, to make mistakes, and to blame us when they make those mistakes, so I dread whenever someone calls and says they have an issue with a cancellation.)

Me: “Hello! Thank you for calling [Government Agency]! What can I do to assist you today?”

Caller: “I’m still being charged for insurance I cancelled four months ago! I’m getting really angry now and I want you to stop billing me!”

Me: “I’m so sorry to hear that, sir. We are not the insurance company, so we aren’t involved with sending you bills, but I’m happy to do whatever I can do to help you!”

(I ask for his information and find his account.)

Me: “Oh, well, I don’t see that you called to cancel your insurance plan and it’s still active. When did you call us to cancel?”

Caller: “D*** it, are you calling me a liar?! I cancelled my plan and I want you to stop f****** billing me!”

Me: “I understand you’re frustrated, sir, but I am trying to help you. Do you remember approximately when you called us to cancel? Or did you maybe call the insurance company?”

(At this point, I’m thinking he accidentally called the insurance company to cancel, because that’s a common mistake. When someone’s insurance is partially financed through our agency, they can only cancel by calling us directly.)

Caller: “I didn’t call anyone, d*** it! I did what anyone does to cancel a service! I wrote ‘cancel’ on the bill’s envelope and had it mailed back return-to-sender!”

(Well, that’s a new one. I try very patiently to explain that that is not a valid method of making a cancellation and that those automated billing statements from insurance companies aren’t sent from an address where people can receive mail. I also gently explain that even if the insurance company had gotten the letter, they couldn’t have done anything with it. To cancel, a person needs to either call us directly and validate their identity or to go online and cancel using their password-protected account. This goes on for twenty-five minutes.)

Me: “Again, I do understand that you feel frustrated with this situation, sir, but that was not an accepted method of cancelling. I can cancel your insurance moving forward, but you will still be responsible for the past month’s premiums.”

Caller: “How stupid can you be?! This is how I’ve always cancelled things in the past! I don’t owe anything! Did you even graduate high school?! Give me someone with a brain! I want a supervisor!”

(I seriously doubt most places would accept what he did as a valid cancellation, but I apologized once again for his frustration and connected him with a supervisor who told him the exact same thing. He called back four times that day, trying to find someone who could give him a different answer.)

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Am I Being Punk-in’d?  

, , , , | Working | October 9, 2019

(I’m waiting my turn at a bakery. The woman next to me is being served.) 

Customer: “Does the seeded bread contain pumpkin seeds? I’m allergic to them.”

Cashier: “Oh, no, they have punkin seeds, not pumpkin.”

Customer: “Uh, honey… there’s no such thing as punkin.”

Cashier: *blank look* “None of our breads have pumpkin, just punkin.”

Customer: “Never mind, I’ll go elsewhere.”

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Rest(room) Assured, Someone Is In There  

, , , | Right | October 9, 2019

(I work in a fast food restaurant. I am cleaning some tables near the restrooms. There is one men’s restroom and one women’s restroom, each a one-stall facility. A woman and her son, aged seven or eight, walk up to the men’s restroom and try the door; it’s locked.)

Woman: *while jiggling the door handle* “It’s not opening!”

(The woman tries a few more times before turning to me.)

Woman: *flustered* “Why is this door locked? My son really needs to use the toilet!”

Son: *embarrassed* “Mom, it’s fine.”

Woman: *to me* “Is there a key so I can open this door?”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. I cannot give you a key. Someone is currently in there and opening that door would disturb their privacy.”

Woman: *realizing* “Oh…”

(I left the area while the mother and son waited for a few more seconds. I didn’t see the gentleman’s reaction when he left the restroom, but I can bet he wasn’t too happy!)

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I Say Tomato, You Say Marijuana

, , , , | Legal | October 9, 2019

When I was growing up in the 80s, my parents were basically hippies. We lived in a rural area. We raised chickens, ducks, and goats and grew our own vegetables, some of them in a greenhouse, along with other kinds of plants.

One night around midnight, we heard a crash and a revving car engine. We ran outside and saw that someone had broken into our greenhouse and stolen some of our plants.

We moved some things around and went back to bed. Then, around two in the morning, there was a knock at the door. It was the cops. They said some kids had been pulled over for reckless driving and had confessed to breaking into our greenhouse and stealing our plants. They wanted to investigate the damage.

My parents took them to the greenhouse, and the cops asked them to estimate the value of the stolen plants and the damage to our property. My mother made up a ridiculously high number, which they put into their report.

The plants that were stolen were tomato plants, some of them with unripe tomatoes on them. Furthermore, in order to get to the tomato plants, the kids had to pass by our actual — immature — potted marijuana plants, which by this time were safely hidden in our bathroom. The cops gave us a funny knowing look, but they had no probable cause to search our house, after all.

And my parents ended up making a tidy profit on the busted screen door of our greenhouse.

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The Face Of Misogyny 

, , , , | Working | October 9, 2019

(My department is on a conference call using a well-known business software allowing video feeds. The meeting has been going for about half an hour.)

Colleague: *interrupting* “Don’t you find it funny how I’m the only woman in this group and my face is never shown when I’m talking? It looks pretty misogynistic if you ask me.”

(There’s an awkward silence.)

Me: “Umm, your face should be in the bottom right of the window.”

Colleague: “What?”

Me: “Yeah, your face doesn’t appear in the window when you’re talking because it’s always there. You appear on everyone else’s though.”

Colleague: “No, that’s total BS—”

(Another colleague sends a screenshot in the chat log, showing her face, full screen, with the colleague’s face in miniature in the bottom right.)

Colleague: “Oh, yes. I am there…”

(Another awkward silence follows.)

Other Colleague: “Shall we continue?”

Department Manager: “In a moment. For the record, I’m a woman. Shocking, I know. I’m calling in on my phone so you won’t be able to see me. Perhaps we should focus on the meeting instead of whether you’re on everyone’s screen? Please, continue.”

Other Colleague: *continues where he left off*

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