The Reason The Company Doesn’t Pick Up Her Garbage: They’re Scared

, , | Right | April 12, 2019

(I work for a municipality answering the information line. I pick up the phone and give the standard phone greeting for our city.)

Older Woman: “I need the phone number for [Garbage Pickup Company]!”

Me: “Well, that company doesn’t sound familiar; they don’t pick up garbage for us.”

Older Woman: “NO! I live in [Small Town about half an hour away] and they didn’t pick up my garbage! I need their phone number!”

Me: “Okay, we only look after garbage pickup in [City], but let me look up the number for you.” *starts typing*

Older Woman: “HELLO?”

Me: “Yes, I am just looking the number up. It’s 35—“

Older Woman: “NO! That’s long distance; I need a local number!”

Me: “Well, that is the only number listed for them.”

Older Woman: “THAT WON’T WORK! GIVE ME A LOCAL NUMBER!”

Me: “Sorry, I don’t have any other phone numbers for them.”

Older Woman: “Well, then, give me the number for your local garbage company. They will have it!”

Me: “I am not sure that our local company will have a phone number for a company an hour away…”

Older Woman: “I SAID GIVE ME THE LOCAL COMPANY!”

Me: “All right, but I am not sure if they will be able to help you.”

Older Woman: “GOOD! Now was that so hard?”

Me: “No?” *thinking* “YES!”

This Situation Is Un-Tenant-able

, , , , , | Working | April 10, 2019

(I’m applying for council housing. I have waited three months for a reference number to sign into the account they’ve made for me. I call the office.)

Me: “Hi. I’m calling regarding my application on the [Local Area] website? I haven’t received my reference number; it’s been about three months.”

Employee #1: “Okay. What’s your name?”

Me: “[My Name].”

Employee #1: “And your address?”

Me: “[Address].”

Employee #1: “Are you currently a tenant with us?”

Me: “No, but I signed up and selected you on the drop-down list for who I’d like to deal with my application.”

Employee #1: “Sorry, you’ll have to go to your local council housing office.”

(I go there and explain all this to the employee.)

Employee #2: “Sorry, as you selected them to deal with your application, only they can handle it.”

(I go home and call back. The first two times, I am told they can’t help as I’m not a tenant, but on my third call, they agree to send me out a letter with the reference number. Lo and behold, when I get it, it doesn’t work. I call back several times and I’m told that I can’t speak to them unless I already live in one of their properties. In the time it’s taken to get to this point, I’ve had a baby. I go back to the local council office.)

Me: “Hi. I’m sorry to bother you, but—“ *explains the whole situation*

Employee #3: “I’m sorry, we can’t change your details here, but I can do a search and find your reference number. It’s [completely different, longer number].”

Me: “Thanks so much!”

(I go on the website. I now need a two-bedroom property because of the aforementioned baby. I can’t apply for one as I’m down as a single adult, so I need to get my details changed. I call the people dealing with my application again; it takes another three calls, spread over a week, before someone can update my details. During this week, I find that my current landlord has decided to evict me, probably to avoid doing necessary work — there’s black mould and I have had to stay with my mum to avoid potential risks to my baby for the past three months.)

Me: “Look. I know it’s not your fault, but this situation is absolutely untenable, and I’m being passed from pillar to post. If you can’t help me, can you transfer me to someone who can?”

Employee #4: “I can transfer you to lettings, but I doubt they can help.”

(I am transferred.)

Lettings Employee: “Sure, I can update those details!”

(It took three minutes. All in all, I had been running around trying to sort this out for six months when this could have been done in a matter of minutes!)

Wanting To Say Aloha To This Conversation

, , , , , | Working | March 5, 2019

(A family member of mine is applying to get his family into the state-run health insurance program after a move to Florida.)

Worker: “Okay, so, we have your birth certificate and driver’s license. You were born where?”

Applicant: “Massachusetts.”

Worker: “Okay, and we have the paperwork for your wife and she was born in…?”

Applicant: “Colorado.”

Worker: “Okay, and here’s the paperwork for your daughter; where was she born?”

Applicant: “Hawaii.”

Worker: “Okay, we just need her naturalization papers and we’ll be all set.”

Applicant: “What?”

Worker: “Your daughter’s naturalization papers. She needs to be an American citizen.”

Applicant: “She was born in Hawaii.”

Worker: “Exactly, so we need to see her naturalization papers.”

Applicant: “Lady, she’s a citizen. Hawaii is a state.”

Worker: “No, it isn’t.”

Applicant: “Yes, it is.”

(Rinse and repeat a few times.)

Worker: “Let me go check with my manager.”

(She leaves and returns.)

Worker: “Okay, we’re going to let it go this time.”

Applicant: “Because it’s a state.”

Underprivileged Understanding Is Underwhelming

, , , , | Right | February 10, 2019

(As a receptionist for a local government office, I get a wide variety of people in. I do my best to treat them all with respect, though sometimes it’s not easy. A man comes in who wants to know about funding for local buses. I show him the information, and he notices the funding is separate for regular school buses and for those that transport kids with special physical needs.)

Customer: “Uh… Ah, yes, those buses are for underprivileged kids.”

Me: “Yes, well, they’re for kids, like in wheelchairs. They need ramps and stuff like that.”

Customer: * gives me the most withering, pitying look I’ve ever received* “That’s what ‘underprivileged’ means, dear.”

(I didn’t have the heart to correct him. He was so sure.)

Unhealthy Priorities

, , , , , | Right | January 30, 2019

(I work as a receptionist at a city hall. We only take 30 numbers of applicants who are submitting their documents for passports. We are open from 8:30 to 3:30 and typically run out of numbers before 12:00 pm. When we do we put up our “NO MORE PASSPORTS” sign. It’s 1:00 pm when this lady and her daughter run in.)

Mom: *as she is reading the sign* “Hi, I would like to get passports.”

Me: “I’m sorry, we are currently not taking any applicants today; we’ve already reached the 30 applicants we can process for the day. If you like, I can give you alternative locations, or you can come back next week.”

Mom: *starts breathing heavily and looks like she just ran a mile* “Oh, my God. My husband is in the hospital because he just had a heart attack and I just took my daughter out of school.” *which is what almost every parent says when I tell them no* “Can’t you squeeze us in?

Me: “No, I’m sorry. We’ve already reached our maximum, but I can give you a list of other locations that can help you today.”

Mom: “Oh, my God, are you serious? I’m about to vomit right now. I can’t go to [Location #1] or [Location #2]. They are too far.”

(She is looking at the list and pointing and asking about locations that are 20 minutes further than the locations I suggested.)

Mom: “So, what location can I go to?”

Me: “[Location #3] or [Location #4] are the closest walk-ins.”

Mom: “No, I can’t do that.” *starts to walk away with her daughter*

Me: “I’m so sorry.”

Mom: *to her daughter, mumbling* “Sure, you’re sorry, blah blah blah.”

(All I could think of was, “Wow, your husband is having or had a heart attack, and you are here instead of with him. He could die right now, and you are being a snob because you think I’M a horrible person for doing my job. Okay, lady, you need to check your priorities.)

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