Paging Doctor Cymbeline

, , , | Healthy | March 9, 2020

(I work on the switchboard for a major hospital. We take a lot of calls, have a lot of options to put callers to, and are, unfortunately, very used to callers giving us very little information so we have to guess the rest.)

Me: “Good afternoon, switchboard.”

Internal Caller: “Yeah, can I speak to Imogen?”

Me: “Imogen who?”

Internal Caller: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Uh, okay. Do you know what Imogen does or what department she works in?”

Internal Caller: “I don’t know; the doctor just wants a copy of an X-ray.”

Me: *light-bulb moment* “OH! You want to speak to imaging!

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Signing Yourself Up For Friendship

, , , , , , | Friendly | March 8, 2020

(My two preschool-aged children and I are taking the bus home. Both have speech issues, so we use some sign language as well as their gradually-improving English to communicate. The speech therapist says that signing is a great way to help them out; rather than not communicating at all, they just have trouble talking, which is resolved a few years after this story happens. I’m signing to them when two young men catch my eye and start signing to me. The following conversation takes place in American Sign Language. In ASL, it’s common to have name signs to avoid spelling out a person’s name every time you need to reference it.)

Young Man #1: “You three sign? Is one of you deaf?”

Me: “No, we’re hearing, but the kids are still learning to speak, so we sign in the meantime. I learned to sign in school, so at least this way they can tell me what they need!”

Young Man #2: “Oh, I see. Good thing you sign. It’s nice to meet you; we almost never see people signing!”

(Both young men spell their names and show their name signs.)

Me: “Nice to meet you, too!”

(I introduce both of my children by spelling their names and giving their name signs, and I introduce myself by spelling my name.)

Young Man #2: “Do you have a name sign?”

Me: “Huh. No, they just call me ‘Mom.’ I haven’t needed a name sign!”

(We didn’t come up with one for me and I still don’t have a name sign, but the young men and I got a good laugh out of my neglecting to think of one.)

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Drag One’s Name Through The Pizza

, , , , , | Right | March 5, 2020

(I’m a cashier at an Italian restaurant and it is close to closing time. We do to-go orders, and we have only three pizzas left to be picked up. A customer walks in.)

Me: “Hello, sir. Are you picking up?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “Okay, what’s the name and what’d you have?”

Customer: “[Last Name #1] and I’m not sure. I didn’t order it.”

Me: “Okay…”

(I look at the three pizzas we have and none are under that name, and the guy has no idea what he ordered.)

Me: “Could it be under any other name?”

Customer:No! How hard is it to find my d*** pizza?! It’s under [Last Name #1].”

(I start to become aggravated and my manager gets off the phone to deal with this guy.)

Manager: “I’m sorry, sir. What did you have?”

Customer: “Pizza! It’s under [Last Name #1]. This is ridiculous. You misplaced my order.”

Manager: “Okay… and there is no other name it could be under?”

Customer:No! It’s under [Last Name #1]!”

Manager: “Could it be under [Last Name #2]?”

Customer: “What?! No! I don’t know any [Last Name #2]! Do I look like a [Last Name #2] to you?”

Manager: “What about [First Name]?”

Customer: “That’s my first name, but it’s under [Last Name #1]!”

Manager: “Well, can you call the person that placed the order to see what they ordered?”

Customer: “Unbelievable!”

(The customer calls his daughter and she put it under [First Name].)

Customer: “It’s under [First Name]… I’m never picking up pizza from here again! This is ridiculous!”

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Consistent Miscomprehension

, , , , | Working | March 1, 2020

Some friends and I are on a road trip. We stop at a fast food restaurant to grab some food. We order separately and wait for our meals off to the side. We all have slightly unusual names, though they’re easy to pronounce. Or so we thought.

Employee:
“Order for [Mispronunciation of My Name]!”

We’re the only ones waiting, so I know it’s my order. I get my food and wait with my friends still. A few moments later…

Employee:
“Order for [Mispronunciation of Friend #1]!”

We giggle a bit. My friend gets their order and we wait again. Another moment passes.

Employee:
“Order for [Mispronunciation of Friend #2]!”

My friend gets their order and we go back to the car. As soon as we’re heading out of the parking lot, one friend speaks.

Friend #2:
“At least they were consistent!”

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Mothers Die, But Oedipus Complexes Live On

, , , , | Right | February 25, 2020

I work at a housing company. We have over 50,000 houses, so it happens once in a while: tenants die on us.

Me:
“Good morning, this is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

The caller is an adult male.

Caller:
“My mother died.”

Me:
“I am so sorry to hear that, sir, my condolences. What can I do for you?”

Caller:
“I want to cancel her contract.”

Me:
“Of course, sir, let me pull up her contract and help you. What was her name?”

Caller:
“Mom.”

Me:
“Yes, but I mean her name on the contract.”

Caller:
“Mom.”

Me:
“I see… and where did she live; what was her home address?”

Caller:
“[Address].”

Me:
“Thank you. I see that the contract was under the name of Mrs. [Tenant], is that correct?”

Caller:
“Yes, but that was not her name.”

Me:
“I have the wrong address?”

Caller:
“No, it’s right… but her name was Mom! I keep on telling you that!”

Me:
“All right, I understand now. Now, to cancel her contract I need a [form] and a death certificate. Could you send that to me?”

Caller:
“Yes, but they listed the wrong name!”

I have a feeling where this is heading.

Me:
“Did they list [Tenant] as a name?”

Caller:
*Sounding upset* “Yes!”

Me:
“That is exactly the one I need. Please send it to me and we’ll cancel your mother’s contract for you.”

This issue gets dealt with and the contract ends nicely for both us and her son. I think this situation is an exception and think nothing about it. However, two weeks later, I get a call from another adult male:

Other Caller:
“I want to cancel my mother’s contract because she died.”

Me:
“I’m so sorry to hear that, sir. What was her name?”

Other Caller:
“Mom, her name was Mom.”

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