When Bad Behavior Is Accentuated

, , , , | Right | March 24, 2021

I work in a military-affiliated credit union call center as a level-two service rep. I have an accent, but I’m an American, born and raised, originally from the Midwest.

Me: “Thank you for calling credit union, my name is [My Name]. May I have your first and last name please?”

Caller: “Where are you?

I already know where this is going.

Me: “[Location], ma’am.”

Caller: “What’s the capital of Texas?”

Me: “Austin.”

Caller: “What are your [phone cuts out for a second] lobby hours?”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. What location were you asking for the lobby hours of?”

I’m not a branch rep, so I want to clarify which branch she is asking for. Of course, she makes the assumption I don’t understand English well.

Caller: “What’s the capital of Virginia?”

Me: “…ma’am, I have no idea. I was born and raised in [Midwestern city]. Capital is St. Louis.”

I screwed up on the capital because 1. I was pissed, and 2. I forget Jeff City is even a thing most of the time.

Caller: “I don’t have much confidence in you, [My Name]. Can I speak to someone else?”

Me: Eye twitching. “…sure, ma’am. Hold on the line for a moment while I grab a coworker.”

She disconnected while on hold. I made sure to remark about her attitude and behavior in a professional manner, then take a few minutes of personal time.

That pissed me off. My accent is a result of legit brain damage. I have wonderful coworkers that are actually from foreign countries, all Americans, and somewhere in one of our US service centers. Even if we had outsourced service centers, who gives a d***?

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Making Assumptions Costs A Lot Of Gas

, , , , , | Working | March 18, 2021

There is a group of us older folks that have the old Toronto area code on our cell phones. This area code has not been available now for a considerable amount of time and having one almost immediately puts you into the “likely owns a home” demographic.

As a result, many aggressive sales companies autodial these numbers in attempts to sell services; they are handled by call centres with live people.

I get these calls about two to three times a week.

Me: “Hello?”

Employee #1: “Good morning, sir! I would like to offer you a great opportunity to have your whole house ducts cleaned, for an unbelievable price of only—”

Me: “That’s fantastic! But I need to know, what is your service area? Because I’m not downtown anymore.”

Employee #1: “We service all of Ontario, and will send one of our trucks out as soon as my manager gets all your details. You are in Ontario, correct?”

Me: “Yes, sir! Please put me through to your manager; I’d love to book a duct cleaning.”

I am put on hold and a new person starts asking me questions: how big is your home, how many bedrooms, how many square feet, how old is the furnace, etc. I exaggerate the size of my house because I know that they are drooling at the bit to upcharge me from their hook price that is unbelievably cheap.

Finally, they ask for my “neighborhood,” which is an odd question when they don’t know what city I am in. So, I reply:

Me: “[Neighborhood] by the hospital. “

Manager: “Excellent, sir… and street number and name?”

I give the street number and name, and I hear typing in the background.

Manager: “That isn’t coming up on my computer, sir. What is the postal code?”

I give him my postal code in Kapuskasing, Ontario, about a nine-hour drive from Toronto.

Manager: “Okay, that’s coming up… ah… That can’t be right.”

I am put on hold again, and a third person picks up the phone.

Employee #2: “Good morning! I’m here to book your duct cleaning time. We work between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. I see that you have a 2,600-square-foot house and it will take us about an hour and a half to properly clean everything. We can have a truck at your house by… 5:00 pm… Wait… Something isn’t right. Let’s see if I make you the first stop of the day… If you’re the first stop, the earliest is 5:00 pm. What the… Sir, do you even live in Ontario?”

I give him my postal code again. Yes, I live in Ontario.

Employee #2: “I’m sorry, sir, but I’m not sending two guys and a truck driving for nine hours one way to clean your ducts, let alone paying for their hotel and then losing another day for them to come back. Get someone else to do it.”

And he hung up. The next day, I got the same call centre and we did this all again.

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Colora-d’oh!

, , , , | Right | March 12, 2021

I’m working the ticketing desk of a large museum. A family with two children approaches my desk.

Mother: “Hi, the ticket taker said there was something wrong with my ticket. Can you help me?”

Me: “Sure. That’s interesting; I’ve never seen this kind of ticket before… Uh, ma’am, these tickets are for a museum in Washington.”

We’re in Colorado.

Mother: “Really? I let my twelve-year-old buy them. They still work, though, right?”

Me: *Pauses* “No, sorry, they’re not for our museum.”

Mother: “But I already paid for them!”

Me: “But you didn’t pay us. We have no affiliation with that museum whatsoever.”

She stormed off to talk with the rest of her family. I don’t remember if she actually bought a ticket for our museum or not.

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The English Are Everywhere!

, , , , , , | Friendly | March 1, 2021

I am in a lift — ahem, elevator — with an English colleague. His parents are from Hong Kong and speak no English, but he grew up in a town on the Sussex coast so his accent is pure home counties; think Hugh Grant but without the London twang. The third person in the lift is a stranger.

Me: “Where should we go for dinner tonight?”

Colleague: “Maybe that hamburger place on Washington Square [Colleague #2] suggested?”

Stranger: *Pointing* “You shouldn’t have that accent!”

She immediately clapped her hand over her mouth and looked embarrassed, apologising. He laughed it off because he got it. Asian accent, sure. Asian with an American accent, sure. Asian with a British accent, shocking!

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Demanding To A Fault(line), Part 3

, , , , , | Right | February 16, 2021

Customer: “Hello! I live in Chicago and am looking to book a trip to Los Angeles, but I have heard there have been a lot of earthquakes in Alaska lately. I wanted to know if you all had felt them down there and if it was safe.”

Me: *Confused* “Alaska? Ma’am, Alaska is extremely far away from us. We wouldn’t be affected by their earthquakes.”

Customer: “No! Alaska is on the west coast just like California! I want to know if you have felt the earthquakes and if it is safe! I read all about the earthquakes happening there.”

Me: “Ma’am, we haven’t felt any of the earthquakes here. Alaska is over 3,000 miles away from us.”

Customer: “Look. I just want to know if it is safe because you are both on the west coast!”

Me: “Ma’am, have you felt the earthquakes? Chicago is the same distance from Alaska as Los Angeles is.”

Customer: “Ugh, you are so unhelpful!” 

Related:
Demanding To A Fault(line), Part 2
Demanding To A Fault(line)

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