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I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 15

, | Right | September 17, 2014

(I am a PhD student. It is 7 pm on Friday night, and everyone is down at the pub, except for me. I have just come back from an experiment. To my great surprise one of my coworkers is still at her desk.)

Me: “Oh, you’re still here.”

Coworker: “I’m about to go. A guy called your phone just now, looking for Mr. ‘No-One-Who-Works-In-Our-Office.'”

Me: “Huh. Must have got the wrong number.”

Coworker: *suddenly looking pained* “I tried to tell him that. But it was really weird. He said he would call back in a few minutes, though. I think you better wait to speak to him. Anyway, I’m off. See you Monday!”

(I get on with some paperwork. About 20 minutes later, the call comes.)

Me: “Hello, this is room [Room Name]. You’re speaking to—”

Caller: “Hello. Please pass me on to Mr [Name].”

(I don’t recognize the name.)

Me: “Ah, it is you! You called before. I’m afraid you got the wrong number—”

Caller: “This is about my son. I want Mr. [Name] to send me the financial statements for his enrollment. It is a very urgent matter and I want them immediately.”

Me: “Yes, I’m afraid you have the wrong number. There’s no person by that name in this office. I think my colleague was trying to tell you before—”

Caller: “So, he is out? In that case, I will give you my son’s name and student number and you will tell Mr [Name] to telephone me as soon as he returns. My son’s name is—”

Me: “I’m afraid I can’t do that for you. I have never heard of that person, so I wouldn’t be able to pass anything on to him. It sounds to me like you want to get admin or accounts or someone like that.”

Caller: “That’s right. I am calling international accounts.”

Me: “Erm, I’m afraid you’re not. This is one of the PhD offices. You have the wrong number. Actually, hang on, let me find the right number for you—”

(I pull up the university search page to find the right number for him. I am quite new myself and know that it can be a confusing system, especially since it sounds like English is not the caller’s first language. Before I can get it for him, however, he starts shouting.)

Caller: “How can I have the wrong number? HOW? I cannot understand how this can happen.”

Me: “Maybe you wrote it down wrong? Or pressed the wrong button? I don’t know how because, well, I’m not you. But I’m trying to get the right one for you.”

Caller: “Mr [Name] told me to call this number. How can he tell me the wrong number? What sort of institution is this? It is completely unprofessional! This is how things are run in this country. Every time I call it is like this, some excuse to waste my time. I called only two minutes ago and was speaking to Mr [Name], and he told me to call this number back. He wouldn’t give me the wrong number. You are just trying to slack off work! You are lying so you don’t have to help me!”

Me: “Erm, I don’t know what to say to you except that you definitely have it wrong somehow. There are only six people in this office and he’s not one of them. And you didn’t call this office two minutes ago because I was here and the phone didn’t ring. Unless you mean about 20 minutes ago, in which case you would have called [Coworker], who is a girl and is definitely not the guy you’re looking for. It sounds to me like you simply got the wrong number somehow. I’m sure he wouldn’t have given it to you deliberately, but maybe he made a mistake. It’s pretty easy to do.”

Caller: “So, are refusing to help me?”

Me: “I’m not sure that I can, really. But I’ve been trying to find the right number through the university website for you so—”

Caller: “I don’t want to call again. You will write down my son’s name like I told you and find out about his accounts for me.”

Me: “I beg your pardon?”

Caller: “Write down his name and find out the information I want. Then call me back straight away as this is a very urgent matter. I will give you my phone number. I don’t want to call back here again. I am overseas and it is too expensive and have been wasting too much of my time and money already!”

Me: “But they’re closed. It’s 7:30 on a Friday night! And—”

Caller: “So do it on Monday morning! But do it first thing and call me as soon as possible.”

Me: “And I don’t even work in accounts!”

Caller: “What?”

Me: “I don’t work there. There I do not work. Work there, I do not. I am a student. I am not responsible for helping you find out about your son. They don’t pay my wages. I don’t work in accounts! This is not an accounts office!”

Caller: “You… don’t work for accounts?”

Me: *relieved* “Yes! That’s what I’ve been trying to say!”

Caller: “THEN WHY HAVE YOU BEEN WASTING MY TIME?!”

(He hangs up. Another coworker walks in to find me still gaping at the receiver.)

Coworker #2: “You look like you need a drink.”

Me: “You have no idea.”

 

I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 16

, | Right | September 10, 2014

(I went to check out a sale at a clothing store. While browsing the clothing racks, a lady runs up to and violently grabs my arm and start yelling at me.)

Customer: “About d*** time someone showed up. I’ve been looking for you for ten minutes now!”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Customer: “Don’t give me that! I give you guys a lot of my hard earned money and all I get is crappy service.”

Me: “Um, ma’am, I’m sorry, but I think you—”

Customer: “Now listen here. I don’t have time for this. I’ve got places to be, so just do your d*** job and help me!”

Me: “Ma’am, I don’t work here.”

Customer: “Work, you got that right! You just get paid to sit on your fat a**. If it was up to me you’d be fired!”

(At this point the store manager has heard the commotion and comes over to see what the problem is.)

Manager: “Excuse me, ladies. Is there a problem here?”

(Customer angrily points at me.)

Customer: “Yes, there’s a problem! Your sorry excuse of employees stand around all day while your customers have to suffer!”

(Looking at me, the manager understands what’s going on and is trying to not burst out laughing.)

Manager: “I’m terribly sorry, ma’am, but if you would have asked a store associate for assistance instead of yelling at another customer, perhaps we could have assisted you.”

Customer: “Well, I never!”

(Confused, the lady looks at me and finally realizes I’m not wearing a store uniform or name tag.)

Customer: “Oh, um… Ah, I think I’ll just come back later.”

(Looking extremely embarrassed the lady rushes out of the store without even apologizing.)

Manager: “I’m sorry, miss. Are you all right?”

Me: “I’m really confused but yeah. I guess. Are all your customers like that?”

Manager: “That’s not even the worst of it.”

 

I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 15

, | Right | August 29, 2014

(I am 17 and have finished my shift at a supermarket, and go straight to a consumer electronics shop. I am still wearing my work uniform, which is similar in colour to the shop that I am in. A customer comes up to me, obviously angry, carrying a bag with a laptop in it.)

Customer: “Excuse me. I bought this laptop last week and it has stopped working already. This is disgraceful for a £500 piece of—”

Me: “Sorry, mate, I don’t actually—”

Customer: “Don’t you interrupt me, and I am certainly not your mate. I paid £500 for this and it won’t even turn on now. I want you to fix it right now or—”

Me: “Woah, woah, woah! I don’t actually work—”

Customer: “Listen to me! Fix this now or give me my money back!”

Me: “But you need to speak to someone who actually works at—”

Customer: “Don’t fob me off with this s***. You work here. You sort it out. I’m not going to be passed from one member of staff to the other. This is typical of this company. Employing young, inexperienced idiots who don’t give two f***s!”

Me: “Okay, sir. What I suggest you need to do is get your laptop. Open it up, turn it on, and wait for Windows to load up. Once it has loaded up, we’ll put the recovery disc in. Then, I want you to take your laptop, and stick it up your a**, you ignorant c***.”

Customer: *inaudible explosion of expletives and demands to speak to the manager*

I Don’t Work Here Is Lost In Translation

, | Right | April 4, 2014

(I work in a department store, but am not employed by that company so I can’t handle their furniture or answer questions about it either. To help customers realise there is a difference, I tend to wear coloured clothes as the host store staff can only wear black. I’m currently cleaning a selection of finishes and the customer beckons me over.)

Customer: “Thank god we found someone. Now, we want something that is full wood. Nothing veneered and nothing of this chipboard rubbish. Do you have any?”

Me: “My company doesn’t do full wood pieces, only veneers. If you find any of the ladies or gents in black who are in charge of [Host Store]’s stock, they’ll be able to help you. I’m a rep from a different company so I don’t know their stock.”

Customer: “No.” *starts to slow her speech down* “Do you have any full wood pieces?”

Me: “Like I said, I don’t, but if you find one of the ladies or gents in black they may have some.”

Customer: *slowing down to the pace you’d use to teach babies new words now* “Dooo yoooou haaaave aaaanny fuuuuull woooooood piiiiieeeces?”

Me: “No. As I’ve said, my company doesn’t but [Host Store] may do.”

Customer: “You really don’t understand what I’m saying and you sound foreign!”

Me: “Eigentlich bin ich aus Deutschland, aber ich war in England angehoben. Ich versichere Ihnen, ich verstehe dich, aber ich kann nicht sagen, das Gefühl.” *Actually I am from Germany, but I was raised in England. I assure you I understand you, but I can’t say the feeling is mutual*

(With that the customer stormed off and I saw her repeating the whole thing again to one of the Host Store people.)

I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 14

, | Right | February 14, 2014

(My store is right beside a dollar store, so we tend to pop in to buy snacks and drinks on down times. Our shirts are pale blue and we wear tan aprons over them, while the dollar store workers wear black shirts with yellow name-tags, so it’d be very hard to confuse our workers for theirs. It’s been a strenuous day, so I offer to get everyone sodas and rush next door. My arms are full by the time I get to the register.)

Old Lady: *grabs my arm hard and jerks me* “Girl! Girl, I need you to help me! You see that box of ornaments?”

Me: *spilling the bottles of soda on my feet and pants* “Ow! Ma’am, don’t do that! That’s painful. Besides, I can’t help you. I’m on break from next door, so I can’t help you.”

Old Lady: “You can have your break later. I need you to get me that box of Christmas decorations off the top shelf. Hurry your butt up. I’m late enough as it is.”

Me: *pointing to my shirt* “I don’t work here, ma’am. I work next door. I couldn’t help you even if I wanted.”

Old Lady: “Don’t you sass me. I said for you to do your job and get me that box of decorations. Are all the kids nowadays lazy? Hurry up before I call your manager up here.”

Me: “I. Do. Not. Work. Here.”

Old Lady: *smacks me hard on the arm* “Did I ask you to say something? I said get me that box right now before I get your manager over here! Doing your job doesn’t require talking.”

Me: “Listen, lady! I do not work here. You just made me drop seven bottles of soda on my feet, which are already aching from helping idiots like you who don’t have the decency to even listen when they’re being told something. I do not work here. If you want some help, get an employee here, and leave me alone!”

Old Lady: *swats at me harder* “As soon as I find your manager, you’re going to be out of a job!”

(She goes off ranting while I pick up the sodas, a couple having popped open. A few minutes later a manager approaches me.)

Manager: “Um, apparently, I’m supposed to fire you. How about this instead? You and the folks next door get a round of free sodas on us and a hearty apology that my employee at the register didn’t set her straight. We told her we won’t be serving her if she’s going to strike the customers.”

Me: “Works for me. I hope she comes next door so I can refuse her any service there, too.”