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The More Locked The Doors Are The More They’ll Try To Get In

, , , , , , | Right | June 4, 2021

I work for the town government. The building I work in is closed to the public, but we have temporary workspaces in the building next door to allow for customers to come in. There are only two departments with designated workspaces — I represent one of them — and all other departments in the building are closed or by appointment only.

This is explained on the website, on social media, on the phone when you call in, and on the doors of the building. Roped stanchions are placed across the staircases with “DO NOT ENTER — EMPLOYEES ONLY” signs on them.

The other departments have also locked their doors to prevent wanderers from walking in. Benches are placed across the doors of the large event room to prevent people from going in. The only places customers can go freely are down the hall from one outside door to the other as well as in the bathroom.

We also have to use a visitor log for contact tracing in case one of us is sick with [contagious illness] with the date, time of visit, name, and phone number of the visitor. Below are a few customer interactions I’ve had within the first two weeks of opening. Also of note, we aren’t supposed to call to make appointments for other people. They are supposed to call themselves. Every department is extremely short-staffed, so if we use our time being the liaison calling other departments to make appointments for people, we will be missing our own phone calls, which we are already missing due to not having enough staff.

Me: “Hi, can I help you?”

Customer #1: “I need a permit for [item].”

Me: “Oh, okay. [Department #1] isn’t here, but you can either mail the application and payment in, put it in the dropbox, hand it to me so I can give it to them, or call them and make an appointment to meet with them.”

Customer #1: “No, that won’t do. I need a permit now.”

Me: “Right, well, they aren’t here, so those are your options. I can write down the phone number and mailing address for you if you’d like?”

Customer #1: “NO! I NEED A PERMIT NOW!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I can’t issue permits. The only departments here today are [My Department] and [Department #2]. [Department #1] doesn’t have hours here, but if you need to meet with them, you can call them and make an appointment. Or I could hand your application and payment to them when I go back over. Or you could mail it or put it in the dropbox.”

Customer #1: “NO! GOD, YOU’RE USELESS!” *Storms out*

Next customer:

Me: “Hi, can I help you?”

Customer #2: “I just tried the doors for [Department #3], but they’re locked! Can you call them and tell them to open their doors?”

Me: “Unfortunately, I can’t. I can give you their phone number, though, and you can make an appointment if you need to meet in person.”

Customer #2: “No, I’m not going to make an appointment. I just want to go in. I need an [activity pass].”

Me: “Oh, well, they aren’t selling [activity passes] right now for health reasons, but again, I can give you their phone number if you want to talk to them.”

Customer #2: “No! I’m not calling them! I’m going to stand right here until you let me see them!”

Me: “Okay, but they aren’t coming out right now. The only way to see them is to call them.”

Customer #2: *Stomps foot* “NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!”

She leaves two minutes later after realizing her temper tantrum won’t solve anything.

Next customer:

The door to the event room is slowly but forcefully pushed open, knocking over one of the benches.

Me: “Uh, sir? Can I help you?”

Customer #3: “Yeah, I was just looking for [Department #4]. There was a bench in the way, so I moved it to get in here, but it looks like you put another bench in the way. Why would you do that?”

Me: “Well, sir, no department has ever been located in the event room, and we don’t want people going in there unsupervised, so we put the benches up to block the entrances.”

Customer #3: “They used to be in that room. Did they move?”

Me: “I don’t know if they were ever in that room, but not in the seven years I’ve worked here, and not for at least thirty years to my knowledge. In any event, you can meet with [Department #4] by calling them to make an appointment. Do you want their phone number?”

Customer #3: “No, that’s okay. Thanks, sweetie. I’ll talk to them some other time.”

Customers #4-#50:

Customers #4-#50: “Do you have [very specific item/book/information that requires research]?”

Me: “We do back at the main office, but not here. I can call you later with that information, you can pick it up on [list days and times], or you can make an appointment to view it later.”

Customers #4-#50: “I don’t understand why you don’t have it here. It’s public record. I should be able to get [very specific item/book/information].”

Me: “As you can see, I have nowhere to keep it here.”

I gesture to the twenty-five-square-foot room/closet acting as my “office”.

Customers #51-#100:

Me: *On the phone* “[My Department], can I help you?”

Customers #51-#100: “Yes, are you open yet for us to come in?”

Me: Yes, we are open, but not at [main building]. [Main building] is closed. We are in [building next door] at [address].”

Customers #51-#100: “Oh, like where we vote?”

Me: “Yes, exactly — [building next door] where the voting takes place.”

Customers #51-#100: “Okay, see you soon!”

A few minutes later on the phone:

Me: “[Department], can I help you?”

Customers #51-#100: “Yes, I just went to [main building] like you said, but the doors are locked! And there is a sign saying to go to [building next door]? Is that right?”

Me: “Yes, that is correct. Come over to [building next door]. Remember where you vote? It’s that building.”

Customers #51-#100: “Oh, it’s where we vote? Well, why didn’t you say so in the first place instead of sending me over to [main building]?”

Customers #101-Infinity:

Exit doors, which are locked from the outside and clearly marked as Exit Only, are being tugged at.

Customers #101-Infinity: “Did you know your doors are locked?”

How did you get in, then?

Me: “Only the exit doors are locked. There are big signs on them saying ‘EXIT ONLY.’ There are also large signs next to two other doors, such as the one you came in, that say, ‘ENTER HERE.’ Those doors are unlocked.”

Customers #101-Infinity: “Yeah, well, I just wanted you to know that the door was locked. You should probably fix that.”

And I bang my head on my desk.

Apparently, They Don’t Work On Weekdays, Either

, , , | Working | June 3, 2021

I was just made redundant and have to complete a form claiming unemployment benefits.

A copy of the form was returned to me as having been completed incorrectly. After checking all my responses, I can’t find a mistake, so I call the person who returned the form.

Me: “Hello, my name is [My Name], and you said I’ve made a mistake on my form.”

Worker: “Oh, yes. You stated that [date] was the final day you worked.”

Me: “Yes.”

Worker: “That’s a Saturday.”

Me: “Yes.”

Worker: “Nobody works on a Saturday.”

Me: “Do you work on a Saturday?”

Worker: “Of course not.”

Me: “And on your days off, do you go to a restaurant, or shopping, or the cinema?”

Worker: “Oh… I see what you mean. I’ll process your claim.”

These are the people who decide if everyone else gets money to live on while job hunting!

No-One Noon

, , , , | Right | March 9, 2021

Due to budget cuts over a decade ago, the town I work for closes its town hall to the public at noon on Fridays. Fridays also happen to be one of our busiest days of the week, with a lot of residents trying to get things done before the weekend. Our closing time is rigid, but we won’t kick anyone out who is already in the building, and we will let those in who are walking up the walkway toward our building when we go to lock the door. This is one of those doors that locks from the outside, but you can leave without having to be let out.

One Friday, in particular, was very busy. It was going to be a nice weekend, so residents were lining down the hall wanting to get tag sale permits, among other things. At 12:01 pm, I locked the door, looking down both sides of the walkway to make sure I wasn’t shutting the door in someone’s face. Seeing no one, I walked back into the office to continue my closing procedures and help the residents still inside.

Around ten minutes after we technically closed, I noticed more residents in line who definitely were not there before. Perhaps they had been in a different part of the building, so I shrugged and continued working. Around twenty minutes after closing, I noticed yet more residents. I walked into the hallway to see what was going on and where they were coming from.

As it turns out, whenever someone left through the doors, the next person waiting outside grabbed the handle before it closed and let in a few more nearby. I even had a resident storm up to me, angry that she had to keep letting people in because the door was locked and we should have maintenance check on why the door kept locking. I explained to her that the door was locked because we were closed, and to please stop letting people in. She was very confused but walked away when she was done. It took us about a half-hour to finish helping everyone without new people coming in.

Our hours are clearly posted on the door, our website has our hours on it, our Facebook page has our hours listed, our voicemail lists our hours, and every letter and bill we send out have our hours on it. Our hours changed close to fifteen years ago. I’m not sure how to make it clearer.

Not The Brightest Streetlight Bulb

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: publicchunder | December 8, 2020

I work in the call centre for my local council. I take calls about school places, roads, grass that hasn’t been cut, and things like that. Occasionally, we get people trying to put in insurance claims against the council for things like tripping over uneven paving slabs, burst tyres due to potholes, etc.

Woman: “I just reversed into one of the streetlights on a public road.”

Me: “Okay, no worries. If you can let me know where the light is, I can put a report through to our engineers. They’ll go have a look at the damage and assess if it needs repairing. Thank you for letting us know!”

I assume that will be the end of it.

Woman: “I didn’t call to report the damage to the streetlight. I called about the damage to my car.”

Me: *Confused* “What exactly are you asking of us?”

Woman: “I would like you to send me some information in the post about how I can put in a claim against you for the damage to my car! It’s your fault the streetlight was there in the first place! And I’d like to take legal action against you for your negligence!”

Throughout this whole conversation, she failed to accept that there was no possible way the council would accept liability for damage to her car because she drove into a lamppost, as there was no possible way the council was responsible for the damage purely because we “put the streetlight there in the first place” as she claimed.

I transferred her to a supervisor, as she refused to take no for an answer. It was probably one of most “What the f***?” phone calls I took in my short time working at a call centre. Every now and then I wonder how far she got with that claim in the end.

Their Stupidity Is Your Bounty

, , , | Working | October 31, 2020

I applied for a government-sponsored work placement scheme several years ago — thankfully they don’t exist anymore because of abuses of the system — and my employers pulled some strings to get me on a different scheme so they could employ the two best candidates for free. (See abuses.)

I had submitted all relevant paperwork to the Department of Social Protection — AKA the employment office — in plenty of time, had good contact with the scheme representatives, and was officially working and getting paid for a month when I got the following phone call.

DSP Worker: “Hi, [My Name]. We’ve been told that you’re going to be taking part in a [Employment Scheme #2] position. Do you have a start date for it yet?”

Me: “Uh… A month ago? I started officially on [date].”

DSP Worker: “Oh!” *Pause* “We’ve actually been paying you at the post office since then. You’ll have to collect it by [date].”

I got paid double for four weeks and nobody saw the error or tried to make me pay it back. I still don’t really trust the local office for many other blunders that weren’t in my favour.