Bin There, Done That

| Wales, UK | Bizarre, Language & Words

(One of many things we do is help with the management of refuse and recycling facilities for local residents. The county is a popular retirement destination and most of our callers are elderly. Unfortunately this means we get a high volume of calls where we just can’t help people because no matter how hard we try, we cannot coax their requests out of them:)

Me: “Bore da, good morning, [Local Government].”

Elderly Caller: “BINS!”

Me: “You’ve got a query about your refuse or recycling?”

Elderly Caller: “BINS!”

Me: “Have you missed a collection? Would you like me to send some staff over to come and help empty your bins?”

Elderly Caller: “BINS!”

Me: “Was it that you needed a replacement bin? Did one of your bins get broken?”

Elderly Caller: “NUHHH. BINS. MY BINS!”

Me: “I’d like to know how I can help you with your bins, sir. Do you know your address? Or is there somebody in the room who can help you with your call? I really want to help you if I can.”

Elderly Caller: “BIIIIIINNNSSSSS! BINS! MY BINS! BIII-I-I-I-I-NNNNSSSSS!”

(I heard the phone clatter to the table or floor and the line went dead shortly thereafter. I have set up regular direct debits to dementia charities since I started working here. We get several calls like that every day and I always wish I could do more! I especially wish we had 999-style call location technology so we could trace calls and call people back who’ve hung up on us by mistake. Maybe one day…)

Not Talking About An Auto Dealer

| UK | Bizarre, Criminal & Illegal

(I work in admin for local authority parking enforcement. It’s a 50/50 split between making sure people paid their legitimate fines, and catching errors/fakes by incompetent or dishonest wardens. Part of the job is chasing down people who have outstanding fines for long periods. We obtain address details from the DVLA and make contact. Usually they call us after getting an intimidating letter. This young-sounding woman is one such. She sounds…distracted. Bear in mind that she is calling local government.)

Caller: “I got this letter saying I owe money for a parking fine but that’s not my car.”

Me: “You’re on record as the registered keeper.”

Caller: “Really? What car is it?”

Me: *make/model/colour/registration*

Caller: “Oh, yeah. That was mine. I haven’t got it now, though. I only had it a few days then I gave it to my dealer.”

Me: “Your dealer?”

Caller: “Yeah, my dealer. I traded it to him for drugs. You know how it is. I gave him that car for drugs. So, it’s his fine.”

Me: “Right… Well… You should probably tell the DVLA you don’t own the car anymore.”

Caller: “What…?”

(The weirdest part for me was the way she kept saying she was buying ‘drugs’. Somehow I wouldn’t have expected someone buying illegal narcotics to phrase it like that.)

A Fee-ble Attempt

| Silverdale, WA, USA | Money

(I work for a sub-agency for the state that has a five-dollar fee per transaction. There is also an optional five dollar donation on every transaction.)

Me: “Your total is [total].”

Customer: “No, I don’t want to make the donation today.”

Me: “I took the donation fee off, but we do have a five dollar office fee here that sort of cancels it out. So your total is [total].”

Customer: “What?! How dare you charge me just to come to this office? I demand you take that fee off!”

Me: “I am sorry, sir. I cannot do that. We are not run by the state, so the only income this office has is that five dollar fee. If I didn’t charge it to you, I wouldn’t get paid.”

Customer: “Do you think I care if you get paid?”

Me: “Probably not, but I do. I cannot take the fee off. If you would like to avoid paying it, you can always pay through the courthouse. They don’t charge it.”

Customer: “Fine!”

(The courthouse in question is over 30 miles away. He will most definitely be paying more than $5 in gas just to get there!)

Accredited With Being Stupid

| SC, USA | Crazy Requests, Extra Stupid, Technology

(I work security and administrative actions at a government agency on Fort Jackson. Our agency, like most, has initials that are very similar to NCAA.)

Me: *answering phone* “National Center for Credibility Assessment. My name is [My Name]. How can I help you today?”

Caller: “Hi. This is probably going to be the stupidest question you answer all day.”

Me: “Okay, go ahead.”

(The caller then begins to go on about how she is in need of taking accredited classes for her physical trainer courses and she needed to know how to go about getting those classes.)

Me: “Ma’am, I am not entirely sure you called the right place. This is a polygraph school.”

Caller: “Right, so how would I go about being accredited? Can you direct me to another department?”

Me: “I’m sorry, the only thing we do with any physical education is within the first two weeks of the polygraph course, when the students get college level anatomy.”

Caller: “Well, your website brags about being NCCA accredited.”

Me: “No, ma’am, I assure you it does not. I think you are tying to—”

Caller: “You are NCCA right?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, but we don’t offer the courses you would need to physical therapy. I think you mean NCAA.”

Caller: *legitimately confused* “I don’t understand.”

Me: “This is the NCCA, the polygraph school. You may need to revisit the website and try a number within the site.”

Caller: “But I was just on your site. YOU accredit people.”

Me: “Ma’am, will you go back to the site you visited?”

Caller: *heavy sigh* “Okay”

Me: “Now will you read for me the letters at the top of the page?”

Caller: “NCAA… Ooh.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, the initials are very close but you do in fact have the wrong number.”

Caller: “I am sorry I wasted your time; I will search another number.”

Me: “Okay, thank you, have a great day.”

*click*

(The lady calls back again and when I answer she begins to complain that I lied to her to get out of doing my job. I walk her through the NCAA website to find a number for the courses she is interested in. She then begins dialing the number with me still on the phone. When they answer this is all I hear…)

Caller: “ACCREDIT ME, YOU A**-HOLE!”

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Regina Phalange Calling

| Derbyshire, England, UK | Bizarre, Funny Names, Movies & TV

(My dad works in TV licensing, the main role of which is issuing warnings to people who haven’t paid their licenses. This exchange takes place as he’s reading back a form to a suspected license fraud filled in earlier in the day.)

Dad: “I think this either made the stupidest attempt not to get caught ever or she’s taking the p***.”

Me: “Why?”

Dad: “Well, under ‘name’ she’s put ‘Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock.'”

(I crack up, recognising the ‘Friends’ reference.)

Dad: “Hey, I’m the one who has to go back and sort this!”

Me: “Okay, here’s what you need to do…”

(I tell my dad a few ‘Friends’ quotes to slip into conversation, to make it clear he knows what she’s doing. Apparently she paid up (under her real name) as she didn’t think anyone would remember that show!)

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