Won’t Spoon-Feed You That Solution

, , , , , | Right | May 3, 2019

(I work as an IT Support person, answering phone calls and emails about IT problems. We work remotely so we are never physically at a customer’s site.)

Me: “Hello. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Hello! Our printer won’t stop printing! Please help! It’s going through a lot of pages!”

Me: “Okay, can you tell me which computer the printer is connected to? Has the print queue been cleared?”

Caller: “I’m not sure. I think it might be PC1, but we’ve stopped it for the moment.”

Me: “No worries. I’ll connect. You say you’ve stopped the printer; have you unplugged the printer?”

Caller: “No, we’ve put a spoon in it.”

Me: “Sorry, you’ve put a what in it?!”

Caller: “A spoon! We jammed it in the front. The paper isn’t moving now… Was that bad?”

Me: “Well… To be honest, it’s not great…”

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Vape Escape

, , , , , , | Healthy | April 30, 2019

After getting mugged, which involved several kicks to the head, I came to in A&E a bit concussed but otherwise okay-ish.

I had been out for a few hours, and as a smoker, my nicotine levels were way down. I asked if I could use my vape as I’m allergic to the glue they use on most of the commercial patches. The answer was that an anti-allergenic patch would be provided.  I ask what specific brand it is, as I am severely allergic to some.

A tech turns up and tapes a patch to my arm, complaining that this brand is awful for staying on.

It is ninety seconds from patch to, “Oops, we stopped your heart as part of the massive response to what you told us not to do.”

I’m now allowed to vape in bed if I can keep it discreet, or I can go down to a vape spot if there’s a nurse or someone willing to go with me. Given that half the medical staff are smokers, I’m proving popular.

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As Sick As A Parrot

, , , , , | Right | April 26, 2019

(I work in an IT support role for veterinary practices as we build their software and computers. I have a five-minute phone call setting up a machine, and during the call, I hear two things every ten to twenty seconds: a parrot squawk followed by the Samsung message alert whistle.)

Me: “I’ll just need a couple of minutes to finish this off.”


Me: “It should install quite quickly.”

Customer: “No problem. I can wait.”

(Squawk! Whistle!)

Me: “Sounds quite busy over there today!”

Customer: “I have ten minutes until I leave, and I am so looking forward to it.”


Me: “Oh, that’s good!”

Customer: “Yeah, the parrot is in for observation and will not shut up.”


Customer: “It’s not a phone you are hearing. It’s this d*** bird.”

Me: “Oh, my God…”


Customer: “Yep…” *sigh*


Customer: “He’s been here for two days! We’re about close to—“ *whistle* ”—KILLING HIM!”

(I couldn’t hit my mute button fast enough to burst out laughing!)

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Committing Fraud To The Letter

, , , , , | Right | February 8, 2019

(I am working in the collections department for an energy supplier when I get a call from a woman regarding a letter she says she received. She says she has a question about it. She gives me a reference number and I pull up the account.)

Me: “I’ve got the account up. May I ask your name?

(The customer gives me her name, and it is the same as on the account. I then ask her to confirm address and DOB, both of which match what is on the account.)

Me: “Thank you for confirming those details. What was your query?”

Caller: “Yes, what is this letter all about?”

Me: “There is a balance on the account. It needs to be paid. You owe [amount].”

Caller: “No, I don’t.”

Me: “I’m not seeing any payments since [date].”

Caller: “No, you don’t understand. This isn’t my account.”

Me: “Your name is on the account and you confirmed the address.”

Caller: “No, no. This letter isn’t for me. This is my friend’s account. My name is [Different Name].”

Me: “I’m sorry, madam, I can no longer discuss the account with you without the customer’s permission. Is the customer there?”

Caller: “You just broke the data protection law. You disclosed my friend’s details.”

Me: “Actually, madam, you committed fraud.”

Caller: “No, I didn’t. I never said I was the customer. You broke the law; now you’re going to lose your job. I’m going to report you.”

Me: “Actually, madam, when I asked what your name was, you told me it was [Customer]. When I asked what your address was, you said it was [Customer’s address], and when I asked you to confirm your date of birth, you told me it was [Customer’s DOB]. You pretended to be your friend, which is fraud.”

Caller: “No, I didn’t. If you heard that, that’s your fault. I’m going to report you!”

Me: “You are welcome to report this to the data commissioner. I’ll get you the details, if you like. We are obligated to report this incident, as well, and will send the recording of this call to prove what was said.”

Caller: “How dare you say that to me?! Get me your manager!”

(I got my manager, who took over the call. My manager promised to listen to the call and arranged to call the woman back once she had done so. Later that day, my manager came and spoke to me. She listened to the call and confirmed that the customer definitely committed fraud — she clearly said her name, address, and DOB were the customer’s. My manager gave me an anti-fraud form to fill in so it could be passed onto the police. During the call, the woman gave me her full name, and she gave my manager several phone numbers when they arranged the call back, one of which was a work number. My manager also got the woman’s address because the customer wanted me to write her a formal apology for accusing her of committing fraud. All these details went on the form we sent to the police.)

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Your Accent Doesn’t Change As Quickly As Their Attitude

, , , , , , | Right | January 8, 2019

(I am British, but I have a really odd combination accent because growing up, I lived in places with vastly different dialects — Essex, Hampshire, Norfolk, and I even spent several years living in America, so on top of all those, I have a slight American twang, too. I am very used to people asking where my accent is from. Most are polite and just mildly curious. I am working in a call centre, though, when the following exchange happens.)

Me: “Hi. You’re through to [My Name] at [Company]; how may I help you?”

Customer: “Oh, your accent. Where is this call centre?”

Me: “It’s in Hampshire. I have a mixed accent because I moved around a lot growing up.”

Customer: “Are you South African?”

(This is a common guess; many people I speak to ask this.)

Me: “No, sorry. I’m British; my accent is just a mixture.”

Customer: “You’re lying. Why would you lie about being South African?”

Me: “I’m sorry, madam, I am not South African, but even if I was, it is irrelevant. Now, how can I help you?”

Customer: “I bet you’re foreign. Probably claiming benefits, stealing from taxpayers, and you’ve stolen that job from an honest British worker. You’re f****** scum, you know that? No wonder you won’t admit to being South African!”

Me: “Madam, this is your first warning and only warning. If you continue to use language like that, I will disconnect the call. However, if you will tell me what it is you are calling about, I will be happy to help you.”

Customer: “Oh, f*** off, you b****. I want to speak to a British agent, not some foreigner w***e like you!”

Me: “As previously advised, I am going to terminate the call. Have a nice day, madam.”

(I hang up the call and go and speak to my manager to inform her of the call, just in case. The customer did not even give me a name, so I cannot pull up an account to make a note on. However, as I am talking to my manager, one of my colleagues comes up and says she has a customer on the line demanding a manager, saying that some “foreign worker” called her names, was rude, and swore at her before calling her a b**** and hanging up. Evidently, the same customer called back as soon as I hung up. My manager looks at me and sighs.)

Manager: “Get back on the phones. Don’t worry; I’ll deal with this.”

(A few hours later, my manager asked me to come to her office. She informed me that she had listened to the call and found no issues with my conduct, and applauded me for my patience and tact with this particular customer. She then told me that she had informed the customer that she had listened to the call and found no indication that I had done any of what she’d claimed, but that, in fact, she had been the abusive one, and if she continued to do so, she would be barred from calling us. Then, the customer shouted abuse at her and she was forced to end the call. A few weeks later, we got a big complaint letter from this customer claiming that my manager and I had insulted her, called her several racial slurs, and called her a w***e. She demanded £100k as compensation. She never got it, but for months we kept getting letters. Each time she ramped up the story until eventually she was claiming that we’d made threats of violence against her, her family  — including claims that I, the “South African,” threatened to shoot them all — and that we threatened to add — in her exact words — a “£1000 b**** charge,” which I personally thought was hilarious. She also threatened to report us to the police, to tell the energy watchdogs about our “conduct’,” and to tell the papers about how our company hired and protected “South African terrorists.”)

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