The Terrible Two-Twos

, , , , , | Right | September 9, 2020

I work in a social services call centre. I am talking to a woman who is on unemployment benefit but can only receive it if she can prove she is looking for employment. It is my last call of the day and I am getting tired.

Caller: “Why was my latest payment rejected?! I have a child to feed!”

Me: “Madam, from the notes, it looks like you have recently rejected four employment offers. Without providing a valid reason, the payments will be on hold.”

Caller: “That’s ridiculous! I couldn’t take any of those jobs as they couldn’t let me look after my son! I need to be there for him!”

Me: “The notes also say that the employers were offering flexible part-time hours; was this not the case?”

Caller: “They’re lying! They’re liars and Jesus will make them burn in Hell for being liars! I need to be here for my son!”

Me: “Madam, I understand, but the fact remains that you cannot receive unemployment benefit without proving that you’re actively seeking employment.”

Caller: “But my son!”

While she is ranting, I quickly check the notes. If her son is young enough, she is allowed certain exemptions and I want to make sure before proceeding. I check the details and sit there for a moment, before double-checking. After triple-checking, I go back to the call.

Me: “Madam, I am afraid a lack of childcare is not a suitable reason for rejecting these employment offers. You will need to—”

Caller: “But my son is—”

Me: “Madam, your son is twenty-two years old! He does not need you to stay home for him.”

Caller: “Then you don’t know my son!”

Me: “Madam, with you as his mother, I have a pretty good idea.”

For those wondering, the son (and mother) didn’t have any disabilities or medical conditions; in fact, he didn’t even live with his mother! I’m usually much more polite on the phone, but when a caller is blatantly abusing the system designed to help those truly in need I lose all patience!

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How To Elevate Your Confusion

, , , | Right | August 21, 2020

I work for the chamber of commerce in Idyllwild, California. I get a call from a woman.

Caller: “What is the elevation there in Idyllwild?”

Me: “5300 feet. We are a mile high.”

Caller: “Oh. Okay. Well, what is the elevation in the summertime?”

Me: “Uh… the elevation is the same all year round, ma’am.”

Caller: “How do you know?”

Me: “Because our analysis showed that switching to daylight savings time instead was more cost-effective.”

Caller: “Oh, okay, thank you.”

Me: “You’re very welcome.”

She hung up. I thunked my head on the desk, laughing.

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Don’t Even Have A Name For This Problem

, , , | Right | July 31, 2020

I work at a welfare office, where we’re the main administration for a debit card for food purchases for the country. The country is divided into regions that handle the actual clients. We’re more like the mothership to their battleships, but sometimes clients come directly to my office to complain.

A man storms into the office.

Man: “Where’s my d*** card?”

Me: “Ah, good morning, sir. What seems to be the problem?”

Man: “Are you deaf?! Where. Is. My. D***. Card?!”

Me: “Oh, I heard you the first time, sir. What I mean is, what’s the specific problem? Have you lost your card? Has it been stolen? Have you not received your card?”

Man: “I have been waiting for months for this card. Now the temporary one is expired. How am I supposed to buy food?!

Me: “Okay, sir, what region are you from?”

He says he’s from the region furthest south from the Head Office.

Me: “Okay. Do you have any ID, and the name of the officer you dealt with when you made your application?”

Man: “I’m not telling you that. Just do your job and give me my card.”

Me: “Well, sir, I can’t pull your specific file if I don’t know which officer is dealing with it. That means I wouldn’t be able to give you specific feedback on the status of your card.”

Man: “I don’t care. Months, girl. Months.”

Me: “Okay… Well, did you check with the regional office?” 

Man: “Do I look stupid? No! You’re the head office. Obviously, the card would be here.”

Me: “Actually, no, sir. When the cards are delivered from the manufacturer, they are sorted by region and automatically delivered to the region. Even if it was here, we couldn’t give it to you, because your social worker would have to activate it at the regional office.”

Man: “Don’t lie to me.”

Me: “No, sir, I’m not. If you give me the name of your officer, I could call to check if it’s waiting for collection.”

Man: “God d*** it, are you f****** deaf? I’m not telling you that.”

Me: “Okay. As I can’t check on your individual application, perhaps the problem could be with the manufacturer. See, sir, we’ve recently switched manufacturers, so there’s a bit of a backlog in the actual creation of the card.”

Man: “Who’s making the cards? I will go make them make my card.”

Me: “Sorry, sir, but I can’t give you that information. You really should check with your social worker, if you decline to give me your name. Without it, I can’t actually help you.”


Me: “I know, sir. You won’t even give me your name.”

The man continues bellowing about “dealing with me” and bawling ominously that “we don’t know who we’re dealing with” before he storms out, still ranting. I look at my coworkers who just blink at me.

Coworker: “I would’ve told him to f*** off ages ago.”

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He Actually Found The Gay Police

, , , , , | Right | July 25, 2020

This takes place in the late 1990s, while I am employed by a large county law enforcement agency as a deputy. I am working an off-duty assignment at the LGBT pride festival. I am gay, and out to my department, as are several dozen other officers and deputies from neighboring departments.

We are all in our respective uniforms, doing crowd and traffic control within and around the parade route and festival grounds. There are several right-wing organizations there both protesting and proselytizing. One of their members approaches me and speaks.

Protester: “This is really sort of sad, isn’t it?” 

Me: “What?” 

Protester: “That they are making you come out here and witness all this debauchery and perversion, and on the taxpayer’s dime, too!”

Me: “Um, actually, the organizers and sponsors of the parade are paying the respective cities and counties for the use of the officers. Furthermore, we’re all volunteers to this duty; nobody’s forced to be here. Do you have a point otherwise?” 

Protester: “But don’t you think it’s a little excessive for all these policemen to be here for this?! I mean, you guys are supposed to be on the side of good! Of law and order and right, not… this… homosexual fest thing.”

As he’s talking, my partner of seven years has come up behind him and is listening to his drivel. My partner then steps around the protester, wraps his arm around me, and kisses me on the cheek.

Protester:Oh, my God! He could give you AIDS! You should arrest him! Right now!

Me: “For what, exactly? You want me to arrest my boyfriend? Last I checked, it was perfectly legal to kiss your boyfriend.”

The protester is speechless; he is making noise but no words are coming out. Finally, he gets hold of his tongue.

Protester: “You are lying! Policemen are not allowed to be homosexuals! Lying when you’re a police officer is a felony! I’ll have your job!” 

Me: “No, you’re wrong. I’m not lying, I’m gay, and I’m allowed to be whatever I’d like to be. Secondly, it’s only a felony if the lie is told under oath, but since I’m not lying, it’s a moot point. Third, what is an offense is loitering without intent to patronize, which is what you’re doing.” 

Protester: “What? I’m not breaking any laws. I’m allowed to be here!” 

Me: “Great! Which bar are you patronizing?”

All of the bars in the area are gay and lesbian bars.

Protester: “Oh, I wouldn’t dare go in any of those places! They’re evil and disgusting.”

Me: “So… you’re not patronizing any of the bars?”

Protester: “Heavens, no.”

Me: “Okay, well, then, you need to leave or go into one of the bars. It’s against the law to be out here solely for the purpose of harassing law-abiding citizens. If you fail to leave, I’ll arrest you and charge you with trespassing, loitering, and failure to obey a peace officer, which is also a felony. The exit, dear sir, is that way.”

I point it out to him.

Me: “Oh, and do take your friends with you, as I’m going to be advising them of the same. You have a wonderful day.”

He left without further issue. My boyfriend and his friends waved and invited him not to come back next year.

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Duck Tales: The Filipino Edit

, , , , | Right | July 14, 2020

I work for animal control for the city. I get a woman on the phone.

Caller: “I want to report some animal cruelty! You have to do something!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. Tell me what happened.”

Caller: “It’s happening right now! These people are eating ducklings!”

Me: “They’re… eating ducklings? Where is this happening?”

Caller: “I’m watching this episode of Fear Factor and they’re on it right now peeling duck eggs and eating the baby ducks inside! It’s cruelty to animals!”

What the woman is describing is known as Balut, a food more commonly found in the Philippines.

Me: *Pauses* “Ma’am, you’re watching a television show. That is out of our jurisdiction.”

Caller: “But this is animal abuse! What are you going to do about it?!”

Me: “Like I said, ma’am, it’s a television show and therefore out of our jurisdiction. The only thing I can suggest is calling the network if you have a problem with their show.”

Caller: “YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY USELESS!” *Slams the phone down*

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