Can’t Help Those Who Refuse To Be Helped

, , , , | Right | September 18, 2018

(I work in the over-the-phone billing department for a cable provider. A woman calls in because her first name is spelled wrong on her bill. It usually takes a few minutes to fix, but because they passed a social security check with the misspelling, we have to ask a few questions to make sure that everything is correct and legal.)

Caller: “I did this two months ago, and it still isn’t fixed. It’s so discouraging to see how little this company cares about me.”

Me: “I’m sorry, that’s a little strange to hear it wasn’t fixed then. I care, and I will make it right.”

(I check the notes from when she previously called in. The representative who handled her said that they tried to place an order, but could not finish it because the call had dropped.)

Caller: “If this isn’t fixed, I will find another provider. It’s just lazy how little you care about your customers.”

Me: “No, I get it, I do. It’s frustrating to call in for the same thing multiple times, but this will be the last call. Now, back then, did they ask you any questions like your date of birth, or the last four digits of your social security number?”

Caller: “No, no, nothing like that. It’s just so lazy. Very, very lazy.”

Me: “I understand. I have the correct spelling put into the system now, but to get it to recognize it, I’ll need the answers to those questions. May we start with your date of birth?”

Caller: “It’s just so unprofessional. I’ll stand by my word that if this isn’t fixed by my next month’s bill, I will find a company who cares about me and isn’t lazy like you.”

Me: “And, as you should, but you have nothing to worry about. I do, however, need your date of birth to complete this.”

Caller: “I can’t believe how lazy you are.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. May I please have your date of birth?”

Caller: “So, you’ll have this all taken care of? Okay, if it’s not, I have your name and it will be your job. Bye.”

Me: “No, please do not hang up—”

(She did hang up on me. I tried reaching her at her home phone where it showed she was calling from, and her cell phone, but it was obvious she was rejecting the calls. I had to notate the account what had happened and that I tried calling her back, but in the end, no changes had been made to her account because I legally could not. I feel a little bad that I could not fix her problem like I promised, but I cannot help customers who do not allow me to.)

Even After Your Shift, They Find You…

, , , , , | Right | September 18, 2018

(I’ve just finished a very long shift at the convenience store I work at and forgot to pick up some bits before we closed. I go to a supermarket where their uniforms are similar to ours — green and black. I’m reading a label on some cat food down an aisle that is in view of the tills. However, my back is to the tills; my store’s logo is printed across the back of my jacket.)

Customer: “EXCUSE ME! I have been waiting at this till for ten minutes!”

Me: “Oh, I think there’s someone down the next aisle…”

Customer: “What?! How dare you?! I’m going to get you fired for this! I’ve been waiting and waiting; you need to come serve me now or your manager will hear about this!”

Me: “I don’t work here, you idiot.”

Customer: *literally screaming at this point* “HOW DARE YOU SPEAK TO ME LIKE THAT! WHERE’S YOUR MANAGER NOW?!”

(The employee down the next aisle is now trying to come to my aid, but the customer won’t listen.)

Me: “Probably at home, considering we finished twenty minutes ago! I don’t work here; look!” *turns so she can see my back* “I work at [My Store] and you’re in [This Store]! I have just done a ten-hour shift dealing with idiots like you. I am tired and hungry, so don’t start shouting at me because you’re a dumba** who can’t read the back of a jacket!”

(I stormed off after that to continue with my shopping. When I got to the till, the employee told me that the lady had demanded to see the manager, told him what happened, and demanded I was fired. The manager felt so sorry for me he told the employee to let me pick out a chocolate bar for free.)

Stuck In The Twilight Calzone

, , , , , , , | Working | September 18, 2018

(There’s a small Italian restaurant and bar just down the street from my apartment that offers dine-in or takeout. My roommate, who’s lived in this area longer, raves about the place, commenting about the fresh ingredients that aren’t chemically preserved, the brick oven for baking the pizzas, the friendly staff, and more. One day after work, I finally decide to try it. I drop into the apartment to ask my roommate what he wants, and after also getting input from his visiting girlfriend, we agree on two calzones and a pizza. With a knowing look, I tell him I’ll go alone so they can have the apartment to themselves for a bit, and that I’m walking over. Once I get there, I almost immediately place my order at the bar and specify that it’s a takeout order, and the waitress disappears before I can ask anything, such as, “How long until my order is ready?” Since it’s Friday and there’s a baseball game on, I elect to sit at the bar and enjoy the game and some bourbon while I wait. The bartender, the waitress, and I — along with a few other people in the area — chat for a while about bad decisions by the club and criticize the current game, all the while making sure my glass is full. After finishing my third glass, I tell the bartender I’ve already had more than I should and that my order’s probably almost done, so I’ll just enjoy the game until then. At that point, I casually glance at the clock, and I realize I’ve been sitting here for an hour and a half. I confront the girl at the counter about my order, and she disappearances into the back to check. Returning in her place is an older woman with a scowl on her face.)

Older Woman: “Why didn’t you come get these sooner?”

Me: “Why didn’t you notify me when they were done?”

Older Woman: “You didn’t leave your number!”

Me: “I’ve been sitting at your bar the whole time. The waitress who took my order has been by the bar repeatedly and spoken with me repeatedly. At no time did anyone tell me this was done.”

(Thankfully, the woman doesn’t seem to have a comeback. As expected, the items are stone cold. Despite the treatment I have received and the cold items she has presented, she’s genuinely amazed I don’t leave a tip. I share the whole experience with my roommate as we’re heating up the food, who seems genuinely surprised that the woman — who has apparently gone above and beyond for him in the past — behaved so negatively towards me. About a month later, when we both have our girlfriends over for a movie night, he decides he wants to try again, certain that things will be different this time. I bet him the price of the bill that he’s wrong unless he orders, and he bites. This time, I have my girlfriend place the order, from her phone, and have her specifically ask how long that should take before she confirms her order. The response is, “Forty minutes.” After timing it carefully to ensure she will arrive forty minutes later on the dot, I send her on her way and have her set her phone to record so we can play it back later.)

Girlfriend: “Hi. I placed an order about forty minutes ago. It should be under [Girlfriend].”

Hostess: “Sure, let me go check.”

(Seconds later:)

Bartender: “Miss? Can I get you anything?”

Girlfriend: “Just waiting on my order.”

(Roughly one minute later:)

Girlfriend: *hushed* “Still no sign of my hostess, but I think the bartender’s talking to the manager.”

(Moments later:)

Older Woman: “Y’know, these take a long time to cook!”

Girlfriend: “I know! My boyfriend had to wait an hour and a half last time he ordered this much from you! I’m so thankful you were able to do it in less than 45 minutes this time!”

(We subsequently agreed on two things. First, no matter how good the food is — and believe me, it was magnificent — we’re not going back ever again. Even my roommate joined the boycott now that he knows he was only special because he was a regular. Second, I’m not to let this girl go.)


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Trying Not To Rock The Disability Boat

, , , , , , , | Learning | September 17, 2018

I have a learning disability. I can’t hear out of my left ear — single-sided deafness — and have Dysgraphia, so my written grammar is out of wrack. I understand the rules, but when I write in silence, it gets to be unreadable.

In college, I have to show proof of my disability — provided by the disability services at our school — that outlines what my disability is and what I need to help minimize it. For me, I need to take my written tests on a computer, I need additional time, and I need someone to review my papers before I submit them. I give teachers and professors proof that I wrote what I wrote, and ensure them that I received no outside help.

I am studying abroad on a ship. We go to classes on the ship while it is at sea. When we land in different countries, we don’t have classes for five days, but instead, we have that time to explore another culture. It advocates diversity and understanding of other people that are different.

I get into the program and manage to get a discount as a work-study student! I make sure to provide the program with my disability information, and they claim to have received it when I check before I leave, so I am ready to go. Since calling on international waters and going online will cost an arm and a leg, I don’t want to use the precious minutes I’ve bought for working out paperwork.

After the orientation I go to the person who is head of the disability program; he is the program’s assistant dean. I tell him that I am learning-disabled and need the proof to give to the professors of my classes, to provide them with the information before any papers and tests are due. He claims that he never received it, and that I need to contact my school to send it to the program. I insist that I sent it over and that they told me before I left that they received it.

He sighs, goes to open up my records, scans them, and gives me a skeptical look. He asks how I could be a learning disabled student, since I am a work-study student, my recommendation letters to the program say I’m a very responsible and hardworking student, and I have 3.2 GPA at my college. Most importantly he wants to know how I got into a state college and into this program if I’m learning-disabled. I keep on pushing and explaining, and he just shrugs his shoulders, refusing to believe or help me. I go to the head dean, and he says that is out of his hands and he can’t do anything.

So, at a loss, I decide to speak to my professors directly. After going to the first three out of four professors, getting the same exact reaction as the assistant dean, one of them insists that I need to use the blue book and hand write my work, because using a computer would not be fair to other students. I decide not to mention things to my last professor, knowing that he and his wife are big-wigs for this program, and figuring that they won’t understand and will have the same reaction and responses as others.

I decide to suck it up.

After a few weeks, the first papers and tests are due. I’ve done my best, used the Microsoft Word program, and tried to proofread on my own work. I submit it and hope for the best, but I don’t expect much. I get my results returned, and as expected, I get Ds. The majority of the complaints say, “I can’t understand what you wrote.” I sigh, knowing I can’t do anything.

The professor I didn’t talk to about my problems asks me to stay after class. He’s noticed that I made lots of grammatical errors, and says that he knows that I know the information based on how I participated in class, and that he saw me do the reading. He asks if I have ever been tested for a disability.

I break down crying, and in between sobs explain to him what happened, how fearful I am that I’m going to flunk out on my tests and papers, and how I don’t want to be kicked out of the program that I worked so hard to reach. He waits for me to calm down. Then he tells me that it is okay and that he will do something about it, to give it a day or two, and not to worry about this paper from him.

The next day I get called by the assistant dean of the program all of a sudden, and he says that even though they never received the notification, he will make an exception for me and provide the proof that I need for my professors. My three other professors suddenly offer proofreading services or opportunities to take the exams orally or write them out on a computer, and agree to bump up my test and paper grades to Cs because I wasn’t adequately provided for my learning disability.  

I am shocked at the sudden change of attitude, and in trying to process what has happened, I leave the classrooms in a daze.

I bump into the professor before his class starts, and he asked me if I spoke to the other professors and the assistant dean. I nod, telling him that I’m uncomfortable with my grade being bumped. He says that I should take it because it’s their fault for not believing me in the first place. So, I ask what changed their minds.

It turns out that his wife has a doctorate for Special Education! Apparently, all three other professors and assistant dean hit a nerve of hers with their treatment of me. So, she and my professor personally complained for me, and said the magic words that I could sue the program for discrimination, as I was not provided an equal level of education to others. The argument was also made that that they were being prejudicial against people with learning disabilities and not understanding people that are different from them, directly opposite what the program was supposed to encourage.

The professor then tells me that his wife will gladly check for grammatical errors on my papers, and that if I need any additional services I can contact her at any time.

I thank him so much, and I’m in deep gratitude for rest of the program. Even though I still feel uncomfortable with the bump in the grade to this day, the professor did have a point that it was their fault for not believing me, and for their prejudgments about people with learning disabilities that we are all lazy, irresponsible, and slow.

That’s What I Zed!

, , , , | Right | September 17, 2018

(I’m not sure if other countries do it the same way, but in Canada we pronounce the letter Z like “zed,” unlike Americans who pronounce it like “zee.” I am on the phone with a company to verify a customer’s cheque, not knowing that I’m speaking to someone out of the country.)

Teller: *after I’ve spelled something with the letter Z in it, pronouncing the letter like “zed”* “Can you repeat that for me?”

(I spell the word again.)

Teller: “I don’t know what you’re saying. Can you spell it again?”

(I spell it again.)

Teller: “What’s that one letter?”

Me: “Which letter?”

Teller: “Uh, just spell the word again.”

Me: “Okay.”

(I spell it again.)

Teller: *spells the word up until the Z* “What letter comes after that?”

Me: “Zed.”

Teller: “What?”

Me: “Zed.”

Teller: “What?”

Me: “Zed.”

(I’m getting frustrated at this point, because there is no other letter in the alphabet that sounds like zed, so I don’t understand why he’s confused.)

Teller: “I don’t know what you’re saying.”

Me: “Zed. I’m saying zed.” *then it occurs to me* “Um… zee?”

Teller: “Oh. Okay. I was confused because zed isn’t a letter.”

Me: “Yes, it is. Zed’s a letter.”

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