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Time To Get A Bunch More Cats!

, , , | Working | January 11, 2022

I’m living on my own and have no car, so when I get a great offer for kitty litter from a new online platform for pets in my email, I go to the online shop. Everything seems legit and shipping costs are reasonable, so I order six big bags of kitty litter, twenty-five litres a bag. Everything goes fine. I receive two big boxes with two bags of kitty litter in the first and second one but only one bag in the third.

I call customer service and they are very friendly.

Me: “I only got five bags of [kitty litter] instead of the six I ordered.”

Customer Service: “Oh! We’ll send you another bag free of charge.”

Only a few days later, a big box arrives on my doorstep. It has two more bags of kitty litter.

I call the shop again.

Me: “I needed one more bag of kitty litter and you sent two. Just bill me for the extra bag, since I’ll need it sooner or later.”

Customer Service: “Okay, we can do that.”

I think nothing of it, waiting for the new bill. Instead, a few days later, I get another box with, again, two bags of kitty litter and no bill.

I call again.

Me: “This is ridiculous. Now my flat, which is not too big, is now full of kitty litter!”

The five of six bags I ordered would have just fitted in the back of my closet and one would have gone in the box I had to use daily, but I had no idea where to put the extra bags.

Customer Service: “We’re sorry about that. Just keep the extra bags, no bill.”

I think, “Okay, fine. Now I will not need to buy more kitty litter for a long time. Well, I wanted some reserve, just not that much.”

A few days passed and another box came with another pair of bags with kitty litter. This time, I didn’t dare to call. For anyone keeping count, I had now received eleven bags of kitty litter. I had paid for six and only owned one cat! I packed the box aside and waited to see what would happen. 

A few months later, I looked at their online shop again and read that they were closed now.

Somehow, I’m not surprised. I also never got a bill for those extra bags of kitty litter.

Well, at least it was pretty good quality and I really got my money’s worth. On the bad side, my visitors stared at bags with kitty litter piled beside my sofa until I finally managed to use it up. Some made jokes about me being really afraid of floods in my own home and feeling the urge to build a bunker from kitty litter.

Needs A More Accented Approach

, , , , , | Right | January 11, 2022

I get an email from a coworker.

Coworker: “Can you please call [phone number] and ask him what he needed help with? I tried calling him myself, but for some reason, he said that my English was terrible and he couldn’t understand barely a word I was saying. I’m guessing it’s because he’s a native English speaker and my accent is different? I’m very confused.”

This particular coworker is from Colombia, and although she does have an accent, no one has ever had any trouble communicating with her. In fact, one of the requirements to even get a job here is to be able to speak English.

When I dial the number, the software advises me that the number is in the Czech Republic. The conversation — heavily condensed — is as follows.

Me: “Hello, this is [My Name] from [Company].”

Customer: *In a thick accent* “Thanskyoucallingmebackinmiddleofmeetingyousetanothertime…”

Me: “I’m sorry, can you say that that slower?”


Me: “Yes, sir, I am from the US. I just need—”

Customer: “Nooo… it’s very bad English, like you start learning two months.”

Me: “Sir, if you are going to be abusive, I’m going to terminate this call. Now, you contacted us asking for assistance, and we are trying to help you.”

Customer: “WhatIsayIwasinmeetingyougivemeanotherforcallisverycomplicated—”

Me: “Sir… slower!

This goes on for a solid five minutes until I am finally able to gather that he can’t talk to me because he was in an important meeting and wants to set up a time for a call-back to discuss the issue in detail.

After getting off the phone with him, I leave my coworker an email.

Me: “First of all, this customer isn’t even remotely anywhere near any level of fluency in English, let alone native. It took me five minutes to understand that he was trying to tell me that I needed to call him back at another time. Then, it took a good two minutes to communicate a new time to call. Unfortunately, you have people out there who think that since they can speak a comprehensible amount of a foreign language at a level where others can understand them, they feel that by ‘stepping on the gas’ and talking fast, they’ll sound like a native. And when the other person has difficulties understanding them (and vice versa), they try to flip it around and say your English is bad. Don’t worry about Donald Duck here; there is absolutely nothing wrong with your English whatsoever. I actually wish my fluency in German was as fluent as your English!”

And she was able to perk back up and confidently continue on with her shift.

Arrivederci To This Caller

, , , , | Right | December 31, 2021

Me: “Thank you for calling [Business]. This is [My Name]. How can I help you today?”

Caller: *Five-second pause* “Why do you answer the phone in English?”

Me: “Uh… because this is the English department?”

Caller: “I want to speak Italian!”

Me: “Okay, then you will need to hang up, redial, and push three for Italian. It appears you pushed two and got the English department.”

Caller: “But I will have to wait again! I waited for twenty minutes!”

Me: “I’m sorry that happened, but I’m not sure what else to tell you. Press three for the Italian department when you redial.”

Caller: “Connect me to the Italian department!”

Our internal telephone system isn’t that simple; it would involve me looking through a directory of many employees from six different language markets, trying to remember which one of them speaks Italian, and then checking their work status to see if they are available to take calls. My system is telling me that there are three people on hold waiting to talk to me.

Me: “I’m not able to do that from here. You will need to hang up and redial.”

Caller: “No, you will speak Italian with me! This is Italy! Speak Italian!”

Me: “Sir, we’re actually located in Germany. I don’t speak a drop of Italian. Please hang up and—”

Caller: *Speaking Italian*

Me: “Sir, I don’t understand you. Please hang up and redial—”

Caller: *Continuing in Italian*

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I have to end this call.” *Hanging up*

Putting The Beer Of God Into This Teen

, , , , | Working | December 29, 2021

In Germany, the legal drinking age for “soft” alcoholic beverages such as beer is sixteen. Also, between the ages of sixteen and eighteen, you’re allowed to visit clubs until midnight.

I had just turned sixteen. My friend and I were on our way to a club, excited to enjoy our newly gained freedom, when we decided to get a beer each. I offered to buy it while my friend waited outside and, as I’m a bit weird with social interaction sometimes, I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to try a self-serve checkout for the first time so I wouldn’t have to talk to the cashier.

Little did I know that these registers send an automated call for an employee as soon as you try to buy any alcohol while simultaneously flashing a bright red warning that I’d have to show my ID. In retrospect, this, of course, makes perfect sense, but as I hated breaking rules I would have never thought about the fact that many people try to get alcohol as a minor.

The next thing I knew, I found myself facing an angry-looking lady.

Employee: “I need to see your ID!”

No problem. I’d have needed it for the club anyway, so I started digging my pocket. This was my next mistake, as the eyeliner I had with me (you know, the important stuff a sixteen-year-old girl takes with her when she first goes clubbing) prominently poked out, which led the lady to yell at me.

Employee: “You’re stealing that eyeliner!”

By now, my anxiety had kicked in and I just wanted to get away. I have never stolen anything in my life, so being accused of this was quite horrible for me, especially as I really didn’t understand why anyone would go through the hassle of stealing a one-euro eyeliner, use it, and then just stick it in their pocket without making sure it wouldn’t fall out.

Me: “I brought this with me. See, it’s obviously used.”

I tried to show her.

Employee: “I’m going to call the police if you don’t show me a receipt.”

Me: “I bought this probably three years ago, God knows where.”

I don’t remember how I convinced her that I did, in fact, not try to steal this eyeliner. I do remember her calling me all kinds of names, including a liar and a thief. I think, in the end, she just gave up and, surprisingly, allowed me to buy my beer — not without doubting my ID to be real first and also struggling with the maths to figure out that I was indeed old enough to buy this beer, though.

Employee: “Now get out. Never come back. See this as your last warning.”

This happened more than ten years ago and I have never ever touched a self-service checkout again. Also, I still get anxious anytime I buy alcohol, even though I have never again been asked to show my ID.

For Acts Of Kindness, You Wreath What You Sow

, , , | Right | December 25, 2021

Our store mostly sells home accessories, decorative items, and gifts. As it is Christmastime, we have a lot of advent wreaths made of artificial materials, amongst other things.

Customer: “I want [specific wreath], but you have sold out!”

Me: “We have one of the type you’re looking for hung up as store decoration.”

This wreath is already decorated with candles, bows, small Christmas tree balls, figurines, and the like.

The manager makes the effort to get a ladder to untie and take down the wreath in all the hustle and bustle in the middle of the Christmas business. Not only that, but he sells her the wreath for the price of an unadorned one, so she gets the candles, Christmas tree balls, figurines, and everything else on it for free.

The following day, the customer comes angrily storming back.

Customer: “I demand that you exchange these candles for other ones because these are faulty!”

She argues until she gets the most expensive candles we had for free, in exchange for the ones that she got the day before as a gift!

The old candles were fine, by the way. There was a tiny gap between wick and wax, and you just had to tilt the candle a little bit for the first drop of wax to reach the wick and they burned normally.