When Trying To Be Helpful Isn’t Helping

, , , | Working | May 14, 2018

(I am a US citizen on a long-term assignment in Canada. After three years, we need a new car. We have a US-based credit card, which gives us significant credit towards the purchase of a particular manufacturer’s vehicles, so we decide to see if we can get the credit transferred from the States. I call the Canadian bank and get a very helpful woman. We start the process and reach a point where I have to get more information for her. We disconnect, and I get the info from the US and call her back. Since she has a fairly unique name, I’m transferred through promptly, and we continue. We reach a last impasse, and I need to call the US again. This time, when I call the Canadian bank back, it does not go as smoothly.)

New Guy: “Hello, my name is [New Guy]. How can I help you?”

Me: “Yes, please connect me with [First Person].”

New Guy: “I can help you. What do you need?”

Me: “I need to be connected to [First Person]. Please put me through.”

New Guy: “I can help you. What do you need?”

(This continues for a few more cycles until I’m ready to tear my hair out. I decide to go ahead.)

Me: “Okay, here’s the information you need to issue my credit card with the purchase credits on it.”

New Guy: *nonplussed* “Wait. What?”

Me: “Sure, it’s in the records. I needed to get [Bank] the following information to get my card issued. This is my third call, and it’s all you need.”

New Guy: “Wait, I have to look at that. Hold on…”

Me: “I’ve already spent the better part of an hour setting this up, and I don’t want to go through it all again. Why didn’t you connect me when I asked you first?”

New Guy: “Because I could help you.”

Me: “Here’s a tip. If a customer asks for a specific person, they almost certainly have a good reason. Put me through now.”

(A couple of clicks later, I was talking to [First Person], and the card was on its way within minutes.)

That’s A Hard Pass

, , , , , | Right | May 14, 2018

(I work in a local drugstore very close to the college football stadium. We do not sell alcohol of any kind. On a game day, a coworker and I spot a lady walking down the center aisle, wearing a team sweatshirt and looking lost.)

Me: “Excuse me, can we help you find something?”

Customer: “Yeah, where’s y’all’s beer?”

Me: “Oh, sorry, we don’t sell beer.”

Customer: “You sell hard liquor but you don’t sell beer?!”

Coworker: “Ma’am, if we sold hard liquor I’d have a lot more fun at this job.”

One Door Closes, Another One Confuses

, , , , | Working | May 12, 2018

(My mother is looking to have some major work done in our basement: adding heating ducts, getting new cabinets in the kitchen, and putting a shower in the bathroom, among other things. Her father and grandfather owned a kitchen and cabinet company, so she grew up around contracting and has more knowledge than the average homeowner on structure and fixtures. She has hired a contractor who was a recommendation from a trusted and close family member, and she liked the work he did on their house. He has been over a few times to get an idea of the work to be done, and he has come over today with written plans and to knock down a bit of the walls to get an idea of how much work it will be.)

Mom: *pointing on the plans as she goes along* “In the bathroom, we have the two doors here currently. We want to keep them there. I know with the shower going here, [door #1] won’t open all the way. That’s fine. It has to swing this way, because if it swings the other way, you can’t open this [door #2].”

Contractor: “Okay, okay. I see. No, wait. If the shower goes there, [door #1] won’t be able to open all the way.”

Mom: “I know. I’m okay with that. We are keeping [door #1] as it is.”

Contractor: “Okay, so, I’m going to move [door #1] to swing this way so it doesn’t get in the way of the shower.”

Mom: “No, you’re not going to do anything to [door #1]. Keep [door #1] the way it is. If you move it, we can’t access [door #2].”

Contractor: “Okay. So, the shower goes here. And we are moving the [door #2] down here? We can’t do that; it won’t open here! We’ll move [door #2] down here and make [door #1] swing the other way.”

Mom: “No, you’re not listening. Don’t touch the doors. Keep them the way they are. Just put the shower here.”

Contractor: “Oh, okay. So, you want the shower here, then you want me to make [door #1] swing the other way and move [door #2] down here. Got it.”

Mom: *fed up* “NO!” *sigh* “Should we just go down there and look at it in person?”

(He hasn’t started the work yet, but I’m sure she will be close behind him at all times during the project.)

Doesn’t Even Sound Good On Paper

, , , | Right | May 11, 2018

Customer: “I would like to get wedding invites done, but I want them on the paper you have on the shelf over there.”

Me: “Unfortunately, our wedding invites are done out of house, and we can only use the paper that’s provided through the vendor.”

Customer: “But it’s probably all white, isn’t it? I want it to look like this.” *shows me on her phone* “Plus, I want the favour tags and save the dates, and thank you cards and rsvps, too.”

Me: “Well, if you like, I can take down all the information about what you want, and send that to head office. They can get back to us letting us know if they can find a vendor who will do what you want, and they’ll give us a price and turnaround time, too.”

Customer: “So, you can’t do it on the paper I want?”

Me: “Not in store, or through our wedding program.”

Customer: “What if I give you the paper I buy from the shelf, and you print them here?”

Me: “We can only use the papers we have in the copy centre, because they’re already approved by Xerox.”

Customer: “So, you can’t do this at all?”

Me: “Well, like I said, I can send away for a quote.”

Customer: “But I want to see samples of the paper they have.”

Me: “They can probably send some samples over to us, actually.”

Customer: “Ugh. What am I going to do?”

Me: *pause* “We can send a quote request out?”

Customer: “I can’t believe you can’t do this for me!”

Me: “I said I could send a request for a quote.”

Customer: “But how will they know the kind of paper I want?”

Me: “I’m going to tell them.”

Customer: “But here: I also want to have this design around my invitation, but it’s $45 to buy the design from the artist! Do you think you could steal it?”

Me: “No.”

Customer: “Why not?”

Me: “Because that’s how the artist makes their money. They won’t make a living if everyone steals their designs. You have to pay them for the file, or our graphic artists can create a new design for you. They could probably make it look similar.”

Customer: “Maybe I can steal it.”

Me: “Can I suggest that you don’t do that?”

Customer: “Ugh, but it’s so expensive! I don’t even want to spend $100 on this.”

Me: “Um, well, having an entire wedding package like this is going to cost you more than $100. Even if I could print it in-store for you, it would be more than $100.”

Customer: “So, you can’t do this for me at all?”

Me: “I didn’t say that. We can’t do it for under $100, but I can still request a quote for you.”

Customer: “But it’s going to be on white paper.”

Me: *screaming inside* “No, it isn’t.”

Customer: “Well, how will I know if I like the paper?”

Me: “I told you that they could most likely send us samples.”

Customer: “And what about when the order’s done? How am I supposed to pick it up?”

Me: “You would pick it up at the store.”

Customer: *looking through store paper sample book* “Ugh, I guess I could do it on this paper. Even though I don’t want this paper, at all. Ugh. I can’t believe I can’t get the paper I want.”

Me: Did you not want me to send out a quote request, to see if we can get the paper you want?”

Customer: “But I don’t get how you tell them what I want.”

Me: “I just type it up on the computer and sent it off. I just tell them what you want.”

Customer: “But we can’t get the paper I want.”

(OH, MY GOD! I was so frustrated with her. It went on forever.)

Had The Race Card Clocked From The Start

, , , , | Right | May 11, 2018

(I work in a department dealing with troubleshooting and appointment management. I get the shock of my life with this phone call.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Company]. This is [My Name] speaking. How may I help you today?”

Customer: “I don’t know if I need someone who speaks Spanish. If you want to deal with me, you can.”

Me: “I understand you clearly and would love to help you out. May I ask what issue you are having this afternoon?”

Customer: “Yes, a technician was out here today to give me a new box, but it isn’t the box I wanted. I want the one with the clock on it.”

(I then inform the customer that I’m looking over her account to see which box was ordered. I realize right off the bat that she received the box she ordered. We just don’t carry the one with the clock, anymore.)

Me: “I see that you have the box you ordered; unfortunately, we no longer carry that type of box with the clock on the front.”

(The customer then proceeds in what was once well-understood English, and is now a mix of English and Spanish, in a very upset tone.)

Me: “I apologize that we no longer have those types of boxes, and for your inconvenience. Is the box working properly?”

Customer: “Yes, the box works fine, but I still don’t have a clock.”

Me: “Well, there is no way to guarantee that the b—”

Customer: “My son-in-law in [State] just got a box with the clock; why did I not get one?!”

Me: “Ma’am, the warehouse closest to your son-in-law more than likely still had those in stock. We cannot guarantee that the box has a—”

Customer: *becomes enraged* “You’re just discriminating against me because I’m Hispanic and I’m old. Just because I’m Hispanic, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have a brain.”

Me: “I understand you perfectly fine, [Customer], and there is no discrimination here. We simply didn’t have a box with a clock in sto—”

Customer: “I want to speak with a supervisor! You’re discriminating against me; you don’t want me to have a box with a clock on it. My son-in-law has one, but I don’t! I want that clock!”

Me: “I’m sorry you didn’t get the box you wanted. And I will get you through to a supervisor, but first I need to know the reason, so I can let them know the nature of this complaint.”

Customer: “I’m being discriminated against because I’m old and Hispanic. You did not give me a box with a clock on it!”

Me: “Okay, I will let them know that, and I hope we can get this issue resolved for you as soon as possible.”

(The supervisor is ready for transfer. I proceed to explain the complaint, word for word as the customer said, and the supervisor lets out a hearty chuckle.)

Supervisor: “So, I’ll just explain to her pretty much everything you just did.”

(I’ll never understand why people always throw the race card into the mix when they don’t get their way.)

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