A Brain Blackout

, , , , , | | Working | May 23, 2018

(I’m the stupid coworker in this story. We review backgrounds in our office, and see a lot of criminal history — everything from DUIs to theft to murder. One of my coworkers is evaluating a case involving domestic battery. She is discussing the extent of the battery according to the person’s statement, and the arrest report, and how badly they differed. The coworker with the case, [Coworker #1], is of Asian descent, I am of European descent, and [Coworker #2], who is also listening in, is of African descent.)

Coworker #1: “These aren’t even close. He basically admits that he didn’t beat her that much.”

Coworker #2: “Can you list it as only half-beaten?”

Me: *totally not thinking this through* “Yeah, instead of beaten ‘black and blue,’ just list beaten ‘black.’”

(Thank God I have understanding coworkers who understood my lapse.)

Bling In The Bin

, , , , | Right | April 27, 2018

(I am working as a customer service person for a London Borough. We have a free bulk refuse pick-up service. One day I am rung up with the following complaint from a person who lives on a council housing estate — a communal block.)

Caller: “You took away my jewellery! How dare you?!”

Me: “We would only take away your jewellery if you asked us to.”

Caller: “I put it out on the landing in a black bag, and now it is gone.”

Me: “You put a bag of jewellery outside your flat on a communal landing?”

Caller: “Yes! Why did you take it away? I want you to pay for it!”

(I talk to my supervisor about it, and he says that another council service cleared rubbish from all public spaces on every council estate.)

Me: “So, you put a black plastic bag full of jewellery on a public landing?”

Caller: “Yes! And I want to be compensated for it!”

(I am wondering how stupid this woman is. If she is telling the truth, why on earth would anyone put their jewellery in a bin bag on a landing? If she is lying, why on earth would she think I’d believe her?)

Me: “I’m sorry, but I need to put you through to our insurance department.”

(So I did. Mind you, that was not the stupidest thing I ever heard working there. One person claimed to have put their oven onto the landing while spring cleaning, as if anyone would move an oven into a public space just to clean behind it, and it was gone by the time she went to bring it back in.)

Wait Until You Meet John Smith

, , , , | Right | April 10, 2018

(I’ve changed the name for the sake of privacy.)

Me: “[State Agency] Services, how may I help you?”

Caller: “Yeah, my name is Terri Brown. I need to know who my worker is.”

(I proceed to look him up. It is a state-wide search so a few results under “Terri Brown,” and the longer version of his name, “Terrance Brown,” show up.)

Me: “Okay, there are a few Terri Browns on here. Can you please give me your date of birth?”

Caller: “TERRANCE Brown. T-E-R-R-A-N-C-E.”

Me: *as nice as possible* “I understand, sir. There are multiple entries in our state search. I need to make sure which one you are.”

Caller: “There are other Terrance Browns? Really?”

Me: “Yes. It is a state search. Can I have your birth date please?”

Caller: *gives birthdate* “I can’t believe it. Other people with my name. Crazy, right?”

Me: “…”

The Usual Line-Up

, , , , | Friendly | March 27, 2018

(My fiancé and I are at our local administration building to get a marriage license. We fill out the form on the computer, and everything is going smoothly. We get in line where two parties are also waiting. One is a very upper-class-looking woman, and the other is a mother and father with a kid who is about five or six years old.)

Woman: *just realizing* “Ugh! I got in the wrong line!” *approaches the mother and father ahead of her* “Can I go in front of you? I’ve been waiting in the wrong line.”

Mother: *somewhat confused* “Uh… No. It’s our turn.”

Woman: *huffy* “Well, that’s a wonderful example you’re setting for your child!”

(I repress the urge to point out that her whining is setting a worse example for this child, and just try to mind my own business. However, this woman seems desperate for sympathy.)

Woman: *to me and my fiancé* ”Can you believe her? What an example she’s setting!”

Me: *nervously* “Heh… Yeah…”

Woman: “Hmph! Some people…”

(A few seconds later, the woman got her turn, and thankfully left us alone. It’s one thing to be huffy about not being given charity. It’s another to rope strangers into it. Just wait your turn like everyone else.)

They Must Have Been High(lands)

, , , , , | Working | September 13, 2017

(I have applied for Universal Credit and have to attend a compulsory interview for it. I get the email telling me that my interview is not only 400 miles away, but also in another country. I call the helpline to ask them to reschedule my interview.)

Helpline Employee: “How can I help you today?”

Me: “I’ve been given a date for my interview, but it’s in Edinburgh, and I live in London. I was just wondering if that was a computer glitch or something?”

Helpline Employee: “Would that be a problem?”

Me: “Well… yes. I live 400 miles away. In London, England.”

Helpline Employee: *as though I am stupid* “Edinburgh is in Scotland, not in England. Can you attend the interview or not?”

Me: “No. As I have said, it’s 400 miles away, so I have no way of getting there. I’d like an interview closer to my home, please.”

Helpline Employee: “I can send you the public transport options to get you to your interview. It’s really important to go to it!”

(I don’t want to hang up and call again, as I was on hold for so long. I decide to go with it and see if she spots the problem.)

Me: “Can we talk through transport options now?”

Helpline Employee: “No, all I can do is email them to the email address you provided.”

Me: *getting frustrated* “I have already looked at transport options. As I don’t have a car, I can only go by train. A train from London to Edinburgh takes about five hours, usually longer. I can’t afford that kind of trip, and even if I could, I don’t want to spend more than ten hours on a train in one day. Can I change the location of my appointment, please?”

Helpline Employee: “How far away do you actually live?”

Me: *thinking we’re finally getting somewhere* “About 400 miles.”

Helpline Employee: “I can move your appointment to the afternoon. That will mean you will have time to attend!”

(I just hung up and resolved to be on hold again. I gave it a minute and called back. After being on hold for ages, I spoke to someone who changed my appointment to the branch that was 20 minutes walk from my house. He had no idea why I was sent to the Edinburgh branch, but at least he understood the concept of distance.)

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