Caught In The Middle (Name)

| Toronto, ON, Canada | Working | November 7, 2016

(I’m renewing my passport at the passport office. I have a bit of an unusual middle name that is more like a last name.)

Worker: “Okay, I just need your old passport and three pieces of photo ID.”

Me: *hands her the documents*

Worker: “Oh, honey, you’re going to have to re-order all of your IDs! They’ve spelled your name wrong on everything! How have you even been able to use this old passport?!”

Me: “Excuse me? I’m pretty sure that they’re all correct.”

Worker: “No, they’re all wrong! Look!” *points out my middle name* “See? They didn’t hyphenate your two last names!”

Me: “No, those are correct. That’s my middle name.”

Worker: “No, it’s not! No one has that for a middle name! You obviously don’t have a middle name and they’ve messed up all your documents!”

(By this point she has raised her voice significantly and is drawing the attention of almost everyone in the office.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’m serious. That is my middle name and there is nothing wrong with any of my IDs!”

Worker: “NO, NO, NO! I need to fix all of this right now!”

Me: “Please do not enter any different information than what’s already there! That IS my middle name and I need my passport to show that!”

Worker: “NO! You’re wrong! No one has a middle name like that! You’ve been lied to!”

Me: “Okay, this is getting crazy! Can I please talk to your supervisor about this?”

Worker: “No, you can’t! You don’t need to! You just need to let me fix this!”

(Luckily another worker has gone to get the supervisor while this is happening.)

Supervisor: “[Worker], what are you doing?!”

Worker: “They’ve messed up all of this poor girls IDs!! Her name isn’t correct on any of them and I need to FIX THIS!”

(She is basically screaming by this point and everyone has stopped what they’re doing and started to stare.)

Supervisor: “Lower your voice right now! You never talk to a customer this way. What honestly makes you think that a 24 year old woman doesn’t know her own name?”

Worker: “Because no one has that for a middle name!”

Me: “I do! It was my grandmother’s maiden name. It may be an unconventional middle name but it is still my middle name nonetheless.”

Supervisor: “[Worker], go take your break now. I’ll handle this and we can have a chat about this later.”

Worker: *starts yelling as she is walking away* “You’re wrong! You’ve been lied to! No one has that for a middle name! It’s a last name!”

Supervisor: “I am so sorry about this! I can honestly say I don’t think that she will be working here after today. She always has something to say if someone has even the slightest different spelling or an unconventional name.”

Me: “Thanks for intervening. I didn’t know how else to explain it!”

Supervisor: “No need. Now let’s get you a new, CORRECT passport.”

Not Talking About An Auto Dealer

| UK | Right | October 27, 2016

(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.)

Courting With Some Silliness

| CO, USA | Friendly | September 13, 2016

(I was just in Teen Court, which is a very serious organization that handles actual juvenile misdemeanor offenses. It’s just after a trial, and I am talking to the judge.)

Judge: “Hey, guys, you need to stay here. We don’t want to all walk out at the same time and weird out the respondent.”

(After a few minutes, the respondent has left. So then, our very serious and professional judge says this.)

Judge: “All right, everyone. Looks like he left. So if you guys want to make like a fetus and head out, be my guest.”

A Fee-ble Attempt

| Silverdale, WA, USA | Right | August 4, 2016

(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!)

A Really City Counsellor

| Edmonton, AB, Canada | Working | June 12, 2016

(Our entire department has just been downsized and our employer has been trying to help us find other jobs. This includes helping us transfer to other Federal government positions. I am speaking with one of the counsellors hired to help us.)

Counsellor: “So, have you decided whether to take the severance package or try to transfer to another position?”

Me: “I’d like to try for a transfer, if I can find one in a smaller town in Alberta or British Columbia.”

Counsellor: “Well, you can forget about that. Everyone wants to transfer to Vancouver or Victoria.”

Me: “…”

(For everyone’s information, Vancouver and Victoria are large cities. Not sure how that translates to “a smaller town.” I took the severance package, have lived in a small town on the BC coast ever since, and have owned my own business for several years. Take that, counsellor lady.)

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