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How To Get Ahead

, , , , | Right | August 20, 2020

I’m in a very small branch of a popular UK bakery, and I do mean small; the floor is about the same size as a small bedroom. It’s about 5:00 pm on a Friday, and as it’s my birthday, I’m going out that night and staying with a friend, so I have a huge backpack stuffed full. The store is such a small size that I and three other customers — the guy in front of me at the till and the couple at the hot food counter — fill it.

When the couple turns around after getting their food, it puts them right next to the guy at the till. However, I’ve already been standing there behind him with my items in hand while he’s served. Note that I’m really tiny and not always easy to see when standing behind other people, but I am in full view of the couple. He gets his change and leaves.

Cashier: *To the couple* “Hi, what can I get you?”

Customer: “Just these, thanks.”

I am taken aback and reply admittedly slightly louder than I intended.

Me: “Oh, all right, then.”

Customer: *Giving me a dirty look* “Well, you can go ahead if you want. We were here first, though.”

I step forward without acknowledging her tone or her look, and the cashier gives me an apologetic look as she realises what’s happened. As I’m digging inside my backpack for my purse to pay, I notice that the customer leans backward to talk to her partner. I have my earphones in but my music switched off, as I always do when I’m at the till.

Customer: *Loudly, with great emphasis* “Jesus. H. Christ.”

Me: “I can hear you, y’know.”

She never said another word.

Filing This Idea Away For Later

, , , , , | Working | May 20, 2020

My friend keeps getting calls from those accident telemarketers. One day, she takes a call when I am there.

Caller: “I can see you were in an accident that wasn’t your fault, [Friend].”

My friend bursts into tears.

Friend: “If you know about it, you’ll know that [Friend] died in that accident!”

The caller hung up. My friend didn’t get any more calls.

Fair Warning: This Story Will Make You EXHAUSTED

, , , , , , , | Working | April 30, 2020

When my two siblings and I first got phones, we were under our mother’s contract. Every month we would just pay via bank transfer into her account the amount each contract was for each sibling. For reference, we had been with the exact same provider for many years and we were happy with the services… until this happened.

With her first job, my older sister decided to treat herself to a new phone and have a new account set up. To do so, she had to take a new number. Our mother called up to have her old number removed and then passed things to my sister to set her new account up.

We were assured that this would be sorted and her contract would be sent within twenty-four hours via email. They also said our mother would receive an email in the same time span confirming the disconnection of the old number. Twenty-four hours passed and we received nothing, but it was the holiday season so we just assumed they were maybe backed up and we would give them another day. 

A few hours after this, I received an email — all our separate emails were attached to each separate number on the account — saying my number had been disconnected, but as I had not finished payments on my phone they would like to know how I would be paying the remaining balance. 

My mother called them, rather annoyed but assuming it was an honest mistake. The person she got seemed nice, reconnected my number then and there, and assured us that the correct number would be disconnected this time.

We thought nothing of this until twenty-four hours had passed again. My sister had still not received her confirmation email that her old number had been removed. Instead, it was my twin who then got the email I had gotten.

Mother called again, angrier, but still trying to remain patient because she hates being one of “those” customers. My twin received confirmation that his number was reconnected again and we were assured again that the issue was resolved. Another twenty-four hours passed, and my sister had still not received the email. Instead, it was our mother who received it. Immediately, she took my phone and called them. This time, she was rather irate.

“I don’t know who is screwing up on your end,” she said. “I have asked for my eldest daughter’s number to be disconnected as she has now taken out her own account. We were told to wait twenty-four hours for confirmation emails. Firstly, my other daughter’s number was cancelled but the eldest’s was not. We called and we were assured this would be rectified. Then, my eldest son received confirmation that his number was disconnected and still not my daughter’s.

I called again and was once again assured the issue had been resolved. Well, guess who has just received confirmation of a number being disconnected? Me! What is so difficult?!”

As she didn’t have it on speakerphone, we could not hear what the poor person in customer service was saying. 

“No, you listen,” my mother continued after a minute. “I explained multiple times which number was to be disconnected, so don’t hit me with that ‘the numbers are similar’ tactic. Three different people have cancelled the incorrect number despite actually confirming said number on all calls. Get the issue sorted and now.”

We all waited in silence for what was to be said.

“Thank you,” my mother said finally. “Now send that email as soon as possible, please.”

Mother huffed in annoyance once the call was disconnected and handed me my phone back. Once again, twenty-four hours passed. This time, my sister finally received confirmation that her old number had been disconnected and our mother’s was reconnected again. Thinking the issue was sorted, we left it at that… until the mother’s direct debit came out after my twin and I had done our normal monthly bank transfers into her account to cover the cost for the month.

“Are you serious? They’ve charged us all double what they’re supposed to!”

We were all furious, so once again, my mother called up. This time, though, she put it on speakerphone so we could all hear.

“I can see here that there was an issue with a disconnection,” said the customer service representative. “Unfortunately, disconnection charges cannot be reversed—”

“Listen,” my mother said sternly. “My eldest’s contract had run out; she was just paying a month-to-month tariff. According to your terms and conditions, no disconnection fees are charged. Anyway, your disconnection fees are £45 per number. My contract is £14.50 per month, and my twins are £42 and £35.50 per month. Why have I been debited £250? That’s an extra £23. Oh, and it was your screwup that incurred disconnection charges. You made the mistake; you remove the charges.”

“Disconnection charges cannot be removed,” the representative explained. “As for contracts, I can see here your twins’ contracts are valid for a further twenty-three months at those prices, but yours is now £40.50.”

My twin and I looked to one another, shocked. Last we’d checked, we only had four months until our contracts ended.

“Excuse me?” my mother said, incredulous. “At no point did I agree to pay £40.50 per month. And last I checked, which was only a couple of weeks ago, my twins had four months left. Why has this suddenly changed to twenty-three?”

“When a number is reconnected, you are automatically placed into a new two-year contract—”

“Well, cancel said contracts,” my mother instructed. “We will be taking our business elsewhere. Not at one point in any of my previous calls was I aware of this, nor did either of us receive any confirmation email saying so. We did not agree to new contracts. I will also be disputing the charge with our bank.”

“Would you like me to cancel your account, ma’am?”

“Indeed, I would, and do not offer me anything,” my mother said. “I have been a customer for over a decade, and my twins have never been with another provider, but that will be changing. Remove the disconnection fees, charge us what we agreed initially, and do not add any more fees.”

“I apologise for everything that’s happened,” said the representative. “I will get that processed right now for you.”

Our mother hung up and immediately made a call to another company. They were appalled when they found out the circumstances of our switching. They were able to offer us very similar tariffs to what we’d had previously, we could keep the same numbers, and they were cheaper. Immediately, we signed up and thought that was now the end of it. 

After the chargeback was reissued to our mother’s account, she immediately cancelled the direct debit so the previous company could take no more payments from us.

One day, I came home from classes to find a bulky letter from a debt collection agency. Furious, mother called them.

“Hello, I have just received a letter saying I owe this amount for unpaid bills,” my mother explained. “I cancelled all contracts with [Phone Company] for multiple screwups and I have been with another company for weeks now. This is the first I’m hearing of this being owed.”

Once again, she didn’t have it on speakerphone so we only heard her side of things.

What?!” my mother suddenly exclaimed. “I was assured that they had cancelled all our contracts weeks ago and I was told that all disconnection fees would be removed. I was also told I’d get a refund of the extra they charged me for a contract they signed us up for without making us aware it was happening!”

This went back and forth for nearly an hour, our mother getting more irate as time went on. From reading in between lines, we figured out what had happened. The phone company did not remove the charges, did not refund the £36 extra they charged our mother, added three more disconnection charges for the three cancelled contracts, and did not even process the cancellation in the first place. Therefore, they were still trying to charge us. 

Once our mother was off the line, she immediately let out a scream and got on the line to the phone company. The poor representative didn’t even get out a hello before she let rip.

“Listen here!” my mother started in. “I don’t know what is going on here but I am getting nowhere. I called to disconnect my eldest daughter’s account but you cancelled the wrong number. You then reconnected hers and again you cancelled the wrong number. I was assured that this would be resolved and again the wrong number got cancelled. After this, it seemed like it had been resolved, but then my direct debit came out, which included three disconnection charges which should not have been on there because you screwed up.

“Also, without our knowledge, you put us on to new contracts which we did not agree to, nor did we sign. I called up to cancel and I was told that all disconnection fees would be removed, as well as the difference of the cost on my phone which almost tripled due to your screwup, and no other disconnection fees would be added.

“I just received a debt collection letter and I called them. You guys never cancelled the contracts and did not remove the charges! We have been with another provider for weeks now, so you will cancel the accounts with immediate effect, all charges will be refunded, and you will let the debt collectors know it was your mistake.”

My mother listened for a moment and then launched back in.

“What do you mean, there are no notes about calls I have made? Are you telling me none of the people I spoke to left any trace so they wouldn’t get in trouble?”

When my twin and I hear this, our jaws drop in astonishment. They’d made it look like we were the ones at fault.

“I understand that on your side it looks like we screwed up, but you record all your calls, correct?” my mom asked. “Because, if so, I don’t delete call records from my phone. I will find exact dates and times for each and you can listen in on them all.”

The representative agreed to do so and to call us back once he had finished. Two hours later, we received the call back, which we were surprised about as we didn’t expect it.

“I am so sorry this happened,” the representative told us. “It’s not enough and I completely understand why you switched because I would’ve done so, as well, if that were me on your end. Two of the representatives you dealt with are in my building, so I have sent an email to their manager with the dates and times you gave me. As for the third, I’ve done an employee search and they no longer work for us.

“I have gone on myself, after receiving approval from my manager, to make sure that all charges will be removed. I have sent an email to you which you should receive within a couple of hours. I have also filled out a request to the team who directly deals with debt collection agencies to make them aware. Once they receive this, they will give you a courtesy call confirming that everything has been dropped.”

We all breathed audible sighs of relief at hearing this. It was obvious from the representative’s tone of voice that he was extremely annoyed with everything. A little over an hour later, we received the email he’d sent us which confirmed that every charge had been reversed. Logging into the account confirmed that this was the case. The next day, we received the courtesy call from the debt collection agency and we thought nothing of it until months later.

After my twin and I turned eighteen and our contracts were up with our new provider, we followed in our sister’s footsteps and made a separate account. Unfortunately, their system rejected it due to us failing a credit check. Neither of us had ever missed a payment for anything, so we asked where it had come from. You guessed it: our original provider. 

We all sent scathing reviews to their corporate offices at this, to which we were told the most they could do was to add a note to the report that there was not a missed payment and it was an error, but it would remain on the account for the whole five years it takes where we live for these to disappear from a report. Luckily, this small change allowed my twin and me to make new accounts, but now we can’t get cars, mortgages, etc., for at least five years.

All this because my sister got a new number.

Doesn’t Have The Equipment To Deal With That Stress

, , , , , | Right | March 10, 2020

(I work part-time in a call centre alongside my studies. I work for a telephone, TV, and broadband provider where if you cancel, everything must be sent back; otherwise, there will be a fine that will rise if not paid.)

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

Customer: “You need to come and collect my equipment.”

Me: “Okay, what you will need to do is fill out a returns slip, which I am sending right now for you, free of charge. Then, you take this to a collect plus store; from there they will send it back to us.”

Customer: “No, you are not listening. You need to come and collect it.”

Me: “I’m afraid I cannot do so, as it has to be done through a third party. I have no contact with this third party, so I cannot arrange for someone to collect it.”

Customer: “What? That is absurd! I will not have that!”

Me: “I’m afraid we cannot send someone to your address to collect your equipment. You will need to take them to a collect plus store.”

Customer: “Uh, fine. What is the closest one to me?”

(I have a look at this and see that there is one 1.2 miles away from his house. I let him know this and this is where it gets ridiculous.)

Customer: “Okay, I shall do so tomorrow. When will the credit be cleared?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, what credit do you mean?”

Customer: “Well, I will get money to cover my petrol to return this, right?”

Me: “No, we cannot do that—”

Customer: “What the f*** is this? First, you cannot send someone out to collect it for me. Now you’re telling me I have to pay out my own f****** pocket to return your f****** equipment?! Forget it! I will just keep it.”

Me: “Sir, if you do not return it you will be fined for keeping it, and if this is not paid it will get higher and higher.”

Customer: “Well, pay for my f****** petrol, then, you bloody idiot!”

Me: “I have already informed you that I cannot do that sir—”

Customer: “Get me your manager. He will do something, I am sure.”

(I go and get my manager and tell him a rough idea of what this is about. He bursts out laughing and sends me off to tell the customer that he is busy and can’t take it. I tell the customer this and he gets even angrier.)

Customer: “What do you mean, he is busy? I bet you didn’t even get him, you imbecile. Get him for me right this instant; if you do not, I will be filing a complaint against you and [Company] for fining me because you are not helping me!”

(I go back to my manager and tell him this again. He looks at me dumbstruck. He honestly thought I was kidding and that was why he laughed the first time. He gets up and gestures for me to transfer the customer over to him right away.)

Me: “Okay, I have now gotten his attention; I am going to transfer you through right now.”

Customer: “Good! It’s the only decent thing you’ve done for me today. Goodbye.”

(Oddly enough, during this call my lunch break was due to start, so I take this straight after. I come back just before my break is over as I want to know the aftermath of this nonsense. I go up to my manager and he hits me with this:)

Manager: “[My Name], that was a pain. He only hung up a couple of minutes ago.”

Me: “What did you tell him? He refused to listen to me whatsoever.”

Manager: “Oh, just the truth. I simply told him if he did not return it he would have the fine and this cannot be waived. I also told him we will not apply a credit to cover his petrol to go to the nearest store. He didn’t like this and said he was not driving there out of his own pocket. So I simply told him to walk, as that way he wouldn’t need to pay and since it is only 1.2 miles away, it shouldn’t take long. He hung up swearing and cursing. I expect a complaint to be filed any time now.”

(There was no complaint ever filed.)

Cat People (Putting Out Crazy Customers)

, , , , , | Right | February 14, 2020

(This occurs shortly after David Bowie’s passing. We are playing his music over the speakers. A woman comes in and heads straight for the checkout.)

Me: “Hello! How can I help you?” 

Customer: “Turn that music off.”

Me: “Oh, is it not to your liking?” 

Customer: “It upsets the cats.”

Me: *looking around* “Cats? We only allow guide dogs in the store. You’ll have to leave if you have cats with you.”

Customer: “They’re at home.”

Me: “They aren’t with you?” 

Customer: “No.” 

Me: “How can they hear the music if they aren’t here, then?”

Customer: *narrows her eyes* “If my cats are upset when I get home, I’m complaining!”

(With that, she left. An hour before closing we did get a call from her. The manager listened to her for half a minute before bursting out laughing saying he hadn’t heard that one before, and he hung up. We haven’t heard anything from her or her cats since.)