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Whistle While You Work It Out

, , , , , , , | Right | January 7, 2022

I work in a call center for a major bank. I help with anything from balance to lost/stolen cards to online banking. I get a call from an older gentleman who sounds like he went riding with King Richard in the Crusades.

Me: “How can I help you today?”

Customer: “I want to add someone to my bill pay.”

Me: “I can help you with that. Can you please log in to your account?”

Customer: “Where?”

Me: “Are you on our home page?” 

Customer: “What is a home page? 

Me: “Do you have your computer on?”

Customer: “I need to be in front of the computer? Hold on…”

I hold on.

Customer: “Do I need to turn it on?”

Me: “Yes, please. Let me know when it’s up and running.”

Customer: “I’m on the home screen. Where do I go now?”

Me: “You said you wanted to add someone to your bill pay, correct?”

Customer: “Yes, how do I do that?”

Me: “Log into your checking account on our website.”

Customer: “How do I do that?”

Me: “Double-checking: who are you going to be adding to your bill pay?”

Customer: “My mortgage company says they will accept electronic payments through bill pay. I want to do that.”

Me: “Okay, I can help you, but I need you to log into your checking account.”

Customer: “How do I do that?”

Me: “By chance is there anyone else at home that uses your computer that can help us?”

Customer: “My five-year-old grandson is here. Do you want to speak with him?”

Me: “I’m willing to give it a shot if you are.”

Customer: “Let me get him.”

It sounds like he is missing his front teeth, so he whistles a bit when he talks.

Kid: “Hello?”

Me: “Hi. I was hoping you would be able to help your grandfather with something on the computer. Do you know how to pull up a website?”

Kid: “I go on Grandpa’s computer all the time; Mom doesn’t let me go on the one at home.”

Me: “Well, I can keep that secret if you can help your grandfather with something.”

Kid: “Okay.”

I then spend the next thirty minutes walking a five-year-old and a very old man through how to set up bill pay. The kid was a wiz on the computer and was showing his grandfather where to go and what to push. He didn’t know how to read but knew all his letters, so I could spell things to him and he found them quickly.

It was the longest call I ever had, but still, ten years later, it makes me smile as the kid was so excited helping his grandfather with the little whistle when he spoke.

Little Old Lady Versus The Little F***ers

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: Brit-Git | January 3, 2022

I recently got a job in retail at a convenience store/mini supermarket in rural New England. It’s a part-time gig just to help cover bills. It’s also my first retail job; I’m forty-nine and worked in newspapers for twenty-five years before retiring.

Among the few highlights of the job is one little old lady who comes in every day for the local paper. She’s in her seventies, all of about four-foot-one-inch tall, and a total sweetheart; she’s unfailingly polite, cheerful, and always smiling. If it’s quiet, she’ll stop for a quick chat. If it’s busy, she’ll wait patiently in line without complaint. She’s a gem.

One day, she comes up to me as I’m stocking shelves.

Customer: “Do you sell ant cups?”

I have no idea what she means, and when she starts explaining, I realise she’s asking about ant traps.

Me: “Yes, we sell them! Follow me.”

She immediately puts her arm through mine, and off we go, like some old-timey couple out for a stroll through the New England fall.

We get to the aisle, and she finds what she thinks is the right thing.

Me: “I might have to get some traps, too, as we have big carpenter ants at our house.”

Customer: “No, these are little f***ers. I usually just squish ’em, but there’s too many now.”

I’m left walking her back to the checkout, her arm through mine again, trying to stifle my laughter at this sweet little old lady just throwing out the F-bomb.

The next day, she comes in for her paper. I’m on checkout, and when she’s paid, I lean over a bit.

Me: “So, did you get them?”

She looks me dead in the eye.

Customer: “The little f***ers? They’re deader’n s***.”

Cue me retreating to the break room, closing the door, and just laughing for a solid two minutes.

Inflation’s A Thing. Who Knew?

, , , | Right | December 23, 2021

Older Customer: “How much are your pizza slices?”

Me: “They’re $2.50 a slice.”

Older Customer: *Angrily* “I remember when they were fifty cents!”

And she stormed out.

Sometimes You Have To Go Way, Way Back To The Basics

, , , | Right | CREDIT: norgeek | December 20, 2021

Back in the mid-2000s, I was technically an intern building PCs at a small computer shop, but in reality, I did everything from picking up parts from our supplier to shipping and dealing with customers and troubleshooting, and I even did the weekly garbage run.

It was around the time when many businesses here in Norway started to move their stuff from physical locations to online services — everything from banks to government functions — and lots of people were starting to pick up their first PCs out of necessity rather than interest.

I got to work and found that I had a build order for one of our basic PCs. I built it, tested it, packed it up, and called the customers as they wanted to pick it up at the store.

I happened to be at the front desk when they came to pick it up, and it turned out to be an elderly couple, so I offered to put everything in their car for them. Those cheap steel boxes were heavy back then! Apparently, they would get help to set it up at home.

Just as I was about to leave work for the day, I was called to the office and told there was a problem with the computer I built earlier that day. The elderly couple was on the phone, and I took the call.

Me: “Hi. I heard you were having a problem with your new computer?”

Them: “Yes, you forgot to include the antenna!”

Me: “I… Um, I am pretty sure there wasn’t supposed to be an antenna? It didn’t have Wi-Fi.”

Them: “There has to be; the computer says it isn’t getting a signal!”

Me: “Did you connect everything? Are all the lights on? Did you figure out all the cables?”

Them: “Yes, everything is connected. It’s just not getting the signal!”

I’m not a phone support guy, and this elderly couple did not appear to be sufficiently comfortable with this new contraption to go through troubleshooting by phone, anyway. I also knew it’d be a hassle for them to pack everything back up and return to the store, which is normal store procedure. I asked them where they lived, and it was not a terrible detour for my drive home, so I offered to drop by and take a look.

When I got there, everything looked fine at first glance… until I realized that the tower wasn’t anywhere to be found. Huh. The monitor was saying, “No signal,” because there was nothing —other than the mouse and keyboard plugged into the integrated USB hub — connected to it.

Me: “Hey, uh, where’s the PC?”

They stared blankly at me.

Me: “The big black box?”

Them: “Oh, so there is something missing?!”

I then remembered that I’d carried everything to their car, put the monitor and accessories in the back seat, and put the PC itself in the trunk. I went out to their car, found the PC where I’d left it, and brought it inside. A couple of minutes later, it was running, and I got it connected to their Internet service.

I realized that they’d need a bit of a crash course to get started, and I offered to show them how the basics work. They gladly accepted but insist on serving me dinner first. I got home pretty late that day, but I never charged them anything for it. The food was good, they were nice, and for years afterward, they’d send their friends and family to our shop to buy computers.

Raise A Glass To Dolores And Her Devoted Friend

, , , , , | Friendly | December 14, 2021

My mom once told me that when she and my dad had just married and gotten their first telephone, she’d get calls from an elderly lady who wanted to speak to Dolores. She was very friendly, and even when my mom repeatedly told her there was no Dolores, she still insisted my mom was Dolores.

My mom got used to it after a while. At least once or twice a week this old lady would call to talk to Dolores. Every call started with, “Hello, Dolores! How are you?” And she ignored every attempt to explain to her that she had the wrong number. So, eventually, my mom didn’t even try anymore. She even grew quite fond of the lady and indulged her.

She never found out who that lady really was, as she only stated her first name, and she never told anything that’d helped to pinpoint where she called from. She talked about her daily routines, her cat, the garden, and other random stuff. Often she’d reminisce about past experiences she had shared with Dolores. She also sounded very old and a little shaky and could only talk for about ten or fifteen minutes tops before she got too tired to go on.

She also only called on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays, always at the same time — around eight pm. After a while, my mom had grown so fond of her that she insisted on being home at that time just so she wouldn’t miss a call.

The whole thing lasted for about a year, and then the calls eventually stopped. My mom thinks the old woman was lonely, and from the things she told my mom, it seemed that Dolores was a childhood friend of hers. We think she either went to a retirement home or died and that’s why the calls stopped.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Dolores had also died long before the old woman started to call. Maybe that woman had dementia and really believed my mom was Dolores, or maybe she knew that there was no Dolores but since my mom was so friendly she’d decided to call anyway just to have someone to talk to.

My mom felt really sad when no more calls came. She still thinks of that lady now and then and wonders who she was and what happened to her. As for me, I’m really happy that I have a mom who’s so compassionate and friendly, even to strangers. I try to be like her.