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We’re Not Holding Our Breath

, , , , , , | Working | March 15, 2022

I booked a cruise for my brother, his fiancée, and myself in the summer of 2019. It was supposed to sail in May of 2020. Of course, this cruise was canceled due to the health crisis. The cruise line refunded our excursions and drink packages, and they also issued us a credit for a future cruise worth more than what was paid for the initial one. We booked a new cruise for June 2021. It was canceled this past April.

At this point, things were starting to open up again. The three of us decided to do something else, and we wanted a refund so we’d have money for a new trip. I’ve now had several conversations with the cruise line.

Phone call #1, in April:

Me: “I booked a cruise for June 2021 using a credit, and I just received notice that it has been canceled. Do I have to accept the credit back, or can I get a refund of the amount paid for the original cruise?”

Representative #1: “We can refund you the amount you paid for the first cruise! Just give me your reservation number and the money will be back in your account in thirty to forty-five days.”

Phone calls #2, #3, and #4, in May, July, and October, respectively:

Me: “Hello. I am checking on the status of a refund for a canceled cruise. The reservation number is [number].”

Representatives #2-4: “Yes, I see you booked using a credit. You are not eligible for a refund and your credit should have been reissued to you.”

Me: “That’s not what I was told initially. I was told I could get a refund for the cost of [Ship #1] even though I used a credit to book [Ship #2].”

Representatives #2-4: “Oh, I see that your account is flagged for a refund. I’ll have to open a case with the resolutions depart to get this refund processed. The money will be back in your account in thirty to forty-five days.”

Phone call #5, in December:

Me: “Hello. I am calling about a refund for a cruise that was canceled in April. It’s been over seven months, and I’ve called now five times. Can you please check the status?”

Representative #5: “Yes, I see you have called many times, but as we are dealing with the effects of [health crisis], refunds are taking a long time.”

Me: “I was told forty-five days. It’s been seven months.”

Representative #5: “Yes, well, it’s taking a long time.”

Me: “Am I going to get a refund?”

Representative #5: “Oh! I see you already got a refund! It was processed in May for $400.”

Me: “That was the port fees and excursions on [Ship #2] that I paid extra for. I am waiting for a refund for [Ship #1] that should be around $3,000.”

Representative #5: “Oh, you had two cruises booked? The only one is linked here for [Ship #2]. Let me see… Yes, it looks like whoever you spoke to in April only linked a refund to the second cruise but forgot to link it to the first cruise. It looks like there’s a little over $2,800 on this cruise that has not been refunded.”

Me: “Yes! That’s what I’m waiting for!”

Representative #5: “Okay. I’ll submit a case for the resolutions department. The money should be in your account in thirty to forty-five days.”

Me: “And that is the fifth time I’ve been told that! Can I just speak to the resolutions department myself?”

Representative #5: *Suddenly frustrated* “Fine, I guess, if you really need to, but they’ll just tell you the same thing.”

Resolutions: “I’m sorry. The thirty to forty-five days was our policy when we initially started canceling cruises because we had thousands of refunds to process. They aren’t taking nearly as long to refund now because we don’t have many cancelations anymore. I don’t know why customer service told you that this time. It should only be one or two weeks maximum now. I am so very sorry that a mistake was made in the first place, and I hope it didn’t completely ruin your summer vacation. Thank you for being loyal to [Cruise Company]. I hope you will travel with us again soon.”

It’s been four days so far, so we’ll see if I actually get a refund this time around.

Not So Permanently Closed Minded

, , , , | Right | March 8, 2022

I work as a horologist (watchmaker) professionally. I’ve recently gotten a job at the only real clock shop in my part of the state, and since we get so much business, our waitlist is over a year out. This is also due to my boss having health issues and not being able to work as fast/often as he should. We don’t discourage people from trying to find other clock repair services and understand if they don’t want to wait.

Another thing to note: my boss, through a mix of luck and misunderstanding on a salesperson’s part, managed to buy the phone number for a competitor after he retired. People will often call us and then call that number and get us again.

Client: “Hi, do you work on Seiko musical wall clocks? I have an issue with mine.”

I just got off the phone with this woman five minutes ago.

Me: “Did you call [Competitor]’s phone number? We bought it a few years ago. I think you just talked to me.”

Client: “Oh! Oh, okay. You said you do work on them, right?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am! Once [Boss] gets back from medical leave, we’ll take a look at it.”

Client: “Great. Yeah, the website for this number said [Competitor] is permanently closed, but I didn’t know what that meant.”

From my experience, it means something is “permanently closed”.

Not Very Closed-Minded, Part 50
Not Very Closed-Minded, Part 49
Not Very Closed Minded, Part 47
Not Very Closed Minded, Part 47
Not Very Closed Minded, Part 46

Fancy That… Whatever That Means…

, , , , | Right | March 2, 2022

I work at a bakery, and I have become the cake consultant for weddings and special events. I get a call from a woman.

Caller: “Do you make cakes?”

Me: “Yes, we do! When do you need your cakes by? I want to make sure we have availability to take your order.”

Caller: “I need them next weekend.”

I let her know the sizes we can accommodate with this amount of notice: three sizes of sheet cakes as well as some tiered cake sizes.

Caller: “That sounds good!”

Me: “What sounds good, ma’am? What are you looking to order?”

Caller: “A big, fancy cake! We are just excited to have a fancy cake for the party.”

Me: “Could you please be more specific about the size you need? How many people are you looking to feed?”

Caller: “I’m not really sure. We just need a big, fancy cake!”

Me: “Ma’am, the pricing will depend on the size you need as well as additional charges for premium cake or filling flavors. I need a bit more information to take your order.”

Caller: *Angry now* “I just want a big, fancy cake! This shouldn’t be so difficult! Put your manager on the phone!”

Me: “I am the manager.”

Caller: “Well, this isn’t so difficult! We just want a big, fancy cake!”

Me: “I have explained to you several times now that I need more specifics. If you would still like to place an order, please call back with that information, but now I’m disconnecting the call.” *Hangs up*

Since the call wasn’t going well, I had walked over to the owner of the bakery while on the phone to ensure she heard what was happening.

The phone rings again almost immediately, and the owner has me give her the phone. Sure enough, it’s the same caller. The owner listens for a moment and interrupts, speaking loudly as the customer will not stop speaking.

Owner: “Ma’am, I have been standing next to my manager for her entire call with you and what you’re saying is simply not true. If you had told her a number you needed to feed, she could have proceeded to assist you with your order.”

Caller: “Fine! I will order my big, fancy cake somewhere else!” *Hangs up*

Owner: *To me* “I kind of wish I knew what ‘big’ and ‘fancy’ meant to this woman. Is the cake for a birthday, a wedding? Oh, and she said you called her an idiot and cussed her out before hanging up on her.”

We’re Getting A Sinking Feeling

, , , , , , , | Working | January 27, 2022

Back before the Internet killed bookstores, I worked in the cafe in one. We had a small kitchen in the back, dominated by an oversized commercial sink. Below the sink was a grease trap, a box the drain water goes through to catch grease and prevent it from clogging the sewers. We were told that it was big enough to handle a greasy fast food restaurant. It took up the entire area below the enormous sink.

After the store had been open for a decade or more, the cast metal grease trap sprung a leak. It was full of congealed sewage inside, and it stunk. It wafted into customer areas, and we started baking trays of wet, cinnamon-covered paper towels to try and cover it up. It was reported to the store manager, and we dealt with the foul miasma for almost a month.

Corporate finally called in the approved maintenance service to replace it. The work was done overnight due to the stench that opening the trap would unleash.

The old grease trap was a hard-to-find size: low and wide to fit under that sink. Some corporate drone sourced a new trap of the same capacity, just narrower and taller. The techs installed it, and now the sink wouldn’t fit on top. Corporate was contacted, and they had the techs add extensions to the legs of the sink, raising it about eight inches. The techs were not happy with the final product, but it was the solution corporate wanted.

This raising of the sink creates problems that the staff encountered the following morning. Several employees couldn’t reach the bottom of the now too-tall sink. Our five-foot-tall sprite of a manager and I started doing dishes standing on a step stool — not an ideal or safe solution. The store manager was informed but took no action, as usual; she’s awful.

Weeks later, a district manager saw this stupid and dangerous situation and promised to fix it.

Corporate maintenance came again and built a platform in front of the sink. It was shiny and new, painted bright yellow for safety. Hooray! Those of us with T-Rex arms could reach the dishes again! This caused a new problem, though. The platform blocked access to the mop sink. The industrial mop bucket had to be lifted and carried across the platform, which some employees couldn’t manage due to the weight and sloshiness. Also, the gloss-painted top of the platform was dangerously slick when wet. There was a minor slip and fall due to it, and the store manager finally took it seriously.

Corporate was called again, and they sent out the maintenance team. They ripped out all their original work and installed a new grease trap that was a smaller capacity and fit properly. They lowered the sink to the original height, and all was now right in the world.

Corporate ineptitude cost the company several thousand dollars to rectify a problem that any non-plumber could have seen and prevented, and that was brought to their attention before the original job was completed.

Spending Is Not His Strong Suit

, , , , , | Right | December 30, 2021

I work in a men’s clothing store known for huge discounts and sales. Our business took a huge hit with the work-from-home movement, so the savings now are tremendous to push through the extra inventory we are stuck with.

A guy and his wife come in on a Saturday evening to get a couple of suits as he put on some weight recently. He wants to know the price of the suits he selected.

Me: “The suits you have here are each $199.”

Customer: “No, no, no. How much are they on sale for?”

Me: “That’s the sale price. $199.”

Customer: “Well, how much can I get them for?”

Me: “Still $199.”

Customer: *Deep sigh* “Okay… When you look up my account and see how much I’ve spent here, how much will they be?”

Me: “Still $199. As the store manager, I cannot do better than that price as it has never been that low in the past year.”

Customer: “Okay… Whatever, I need them, so I guess let’s get them.”

We got up to the register and I asked for his phone number to look up his account. We tried his home, cell, and work number, and even his wife’s cell, but no account came up. Turns out it’s been about five years since he last shopped with us, so his account was automatically removed from the system. People frustrate me with throwing around how much they spend somewhere as a means of getting a better deal.