Superior In Name Only

, , , , | Legal | January 23, 2021

I live in a second-floor condo when this happens. One night, I’m watching a film and having a couple of beers. At 23:30, the outside doorbell rings.

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Police, open up now!”

Something isn’t right. It’s been a quiet night.

Me: “One minute, please. I’ll come downstairs.”

I walk down two flights of stairs. I open the door, confused, to find four police officers.

Me: “Can I help?”

Officer: “Is this 17 [Location]?”

Me: “Yes?”

Officer: “Open, mate, we have business to do.”

I stay where I am and hand him my police ID. It has my picture and name and says, “Sworn in [date one month ago]”.

Officer: “Oh, hello. We haven’t been introduced, I’m Sergeant [Officer].”

Me: “Reserve [My Surname]. What’s going on, Sarge?”

Officer: “A hoax emergency call was placed for an ambulance to this address. Do you know anything?”

Me: “Huh? A hoax ambulance call? Not me.”

Officer: “Is there anyone else on the property?”

Me: “My roommate. Speak to him if you like; he doesn’t know much English. What’s the address again?”

Officer: “17 [Location] Boulevard, [postcode].”

I’m annoyed. He’s got the wrong address; a cop should know the area. It also isn’t how I planned to introduce myself to a superior officer.

Me: “Sergeant [Officer], this condo block is [Location] Plaza, not [Location] Boulevard. Can I help you find [Location] Boulevard?”

Police: “Please.”

Me: “Street over there. Odd numbers are on the left.”

Clarity, people. Google Maps is there for a reason.

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Welcome To Idiotshire, Population: Me

, , , , , , , | Working | January 19, 2021

The animal rescue/sanctuary charity I volunteer with also serves as the helpline for a national bird of prey charity. We only have the resources to go to local cases but have a directory of rehabilitators across the UK so we can put callers in contact with someone close to them. For those unfamiliar with the UK’s counties, many are named after the most important city in them — Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire, etc.

In this instance, I’m helping a caller who came across a wounded peregrine falcon and I have reached the stage of finding someone who can help them.

Me: “All right, let’s see if we can find anyone close by. Whereabouts are you?”

Caller: “I’m in Cambridge.”

Since this is one such city as I mentioned before, this would be enough for most people to go on. But in this case, my brain completely fails me and I respond before I can stop myself.

Me: “Right. My geography’s not very good; what county is that?”

There’s a slight pause, just long enough for it to sink in.

Caller: “Cambridgeshire.”

Unsurprisingly, the feeling of idiocy strikes me hard as I realise how incompetent I sound and I try to think of something to say to get things back on track.

Me: “I rest my case.”

For what it’s worth, that did get a chuckle out of her and helped lighten the mood of an otherwise serious call. Mercifully, I was able to find a rescue center close by that the caller could take the bird to for treatment, without even forgetting the layout of my own country again!

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Russian Right Over To The Globe Store

, , , , , | Working | January 8, 2021

I will start by saying that I realize I was a jerk to the fraud agent that I spoke to in this story. My brain-to-mouth filter broke when she revealed herself to be extra stupid.

I travel quite frequently — every six months or so — back and forth from New York to Russia where some of my family lives, and I always put a travel advisory on my account prior to travel.

I use my credit card in a supermarket in Moscow. I then try to use it to buy something from another store and it doesn’t go through. I look at my bank’s app to find that my card is frozen. I call the bank and speak to the fraud department.

Fraud Agent: “We froze your card because it was used in an unknown location.” 

Me: “Oh, really? Where?”

Fraud Agent: “Moscow.”

Me: “Uh, don’t I have a travel advisory on my account?”

Fraud Agent: “Well, yes, but that was for Russia, not Moscow.”

I stared at my phone for a minute wondering if someone could possibly be this stupid.

Me: “Uh, Moscow is in Russia. Now please unfreeze my card.”

Fraud Agent: “Oh, we can’t do that. Once it’s frozen due to fraud, we have to send you a new card.”

I lose it. I definitely am THAT customer.

Me: “Let me get this straight. You’re a moron who doesn’t realize that Moscow is the capital of Russia, which I have a travel advisory for, and have had a travel advisory for every six months for the past ten years I’ve had the card, so you froze the card because you can’t read a f****** map? Now you are telling me you have to send me a new card, even though I am out of the country and obviously won’t get it until I get home two weeks from now?”

She speaks in a sweet way like what I just said made perfect sense.

Fraud Agent: “That’s right. Anything else I can help you with?”

Me: “Uh, yes, you can transfer me to your manager and buy yourself a globe.”

The supervisor was able to unfreeze the card and cancel the new card, and they apologized for the issue. I feel bad that I lost it on the fraud agent, but I seriously could not believe that she was that dumb. What’s worse, there are actually two people in the fraud department that need geography lessons: the one who froze the card in the first place and the woman who answered the phone.

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At Least They Know Where Africa Is

, , , , | Friendly | December 31, 2020

One of the stories on the recent “South Africa” roundup reminded me of this event that I experienced a few years ago.

I am offered a chance to teach for a year at a school in Malawi. As I am getting ready, I have a lot of people ask me where Malawi is.

Me: “Well, it’s in the South of Africa—”

Them: “You’re going to South Africa? That’s so cool!”

I learned pretty quickly to just say that Malawi was “two countries north of South Africa and one country in from the Indian Ocean.”

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Where In The World Is My Credit Card?

, , , , , | Working | December 11, 2020

My spouse and I get a call from our credit card company.

Representative #1: “We’ve had a security breach and, while your card wasn’t affected, we are going to cancel it and send you a new one, just to be safe.”

Me: “That’s fine, but we’re leaving tomorrow on a trip. Can it wait until we get back?”

The rep says yes, confirms our return date, and makes note of where we’re going so using our card won’t get flagged.

We drive north from California as planned and, at about the time we cross the border so we can spend two weeks with our friends in Canada, the credit card stops working. While we have enough money in our accounts, only a small bit of it is easily accessible from where we are. We’re fine for now — and our friends are fronting us funds best they can — but we can’t get home without a working credit card. So, we call the company.

Representative #2: “We needed to cancel your card, but the new one should be at your home by now.”

Me: “We’re not at home. We’re in Canada. The other rep said we could wait until we got back. Can you reactivate the card?”

Representative #2: “Sorry, I can’t do that, but I can send you a new card.”

We give the rep the address: [number, Street, and Town], British Columbia, Canada. A couple of days later…

Me: “We were supposed to get our new credit card at our friends’ house where we’re staying.”

Representative #3: “We can’t find the address. Are you in Columbia?”

Me: “What? No. We’re in Canada. In the province British Columbia.”

The rep promises to send it right out to the correct address. A couple of days later…

Me: “Where is our credit card?”

Representative #4: “We mailed it to your address in the British Virgin Islands.”

Me: “!!!”

Finally, they suggest getting a new card in person. As they’re an American company, there is only one bank in the area they’re affiliated with that can do it, a half-hour drive away. We make the trip and get the card, and it works.

When we got home, we looked through our pile of mail and found the first cards mailed to us at home, now cancelled. And we found a very interesting envelope, with another set of now-cancelled cards, forwarded to us from the British Virgin Islands.

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