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That Poor Voicemail Doesn’t Deserve This

, , , , , | Right | December 6, 2023

I work for an equipment dealership that sells, rents, and repairs heavy equipment. It’s just after 7:00 am, which is when we open. I’m the only one in at the moment to answer the phones, and I’ve only taken a single service call so far. I’m not even able to get my greeting out before this caller goes off on me.

Caller: “You’d better not transfer me to another d***ed voicemail! I need to talk to someone right now!

Me: “I’m… sorry? I only just got here. What is it you need?”

He lets out an irritated sigh and starts talking to me slowly like I’m an idiot.

Caller: “Look, sweetheart. I’ve called several times over the last hour. I talked to you every time, and you keep sending me to someone’s voicemail. I want to talk to an actual person.”

Me: “We only just opened, so I can assure you it wasn’t me you spoke to. Likely it was our automated system. But if you’ll let me know who you need, I can get someone on the line for you.”

Caller: “I need a person.”

I resist the urge to tell him he’s talking to a person right now.

Me: “Right, and what do you need help with? Were you looking to rent or purchase, or do you need service?”

Caller: “I need a salesman. I want to a buy a brand-new piece of equipment.”

Me: “Great. I’d be happy to get you over to one of them. However, they aren’t in for another hour, so—”

Caller: “You’re telling me you don’t have anyone willing to sell me equipment?”

Me: “None of our salesmen get in until 8:00. I’m sorry. But I can get you one of their voicemails so they can call you—”

Caller: “No! I don’t want no d***ed voicemail! I have $50,000 cash in hand, and if you don’t wanna sell to me, then I’ll take my business elsewhere!”

I silently wish he WOULD go somewhere else just so I don’t have to deal with him anymore.

Me: “As I said, none of our salesmen are in yet, so I have no way of getting one for you. They work bank hours since many of our customers need financing. If you’d like, I can take down your name and number and pass it on to one of the salesmen as soon as they get in.”

Caller: “Fine. But you make sure they call me right at eight o’clock, sweetheart, or I’m taking my cash and going to someone who actually wants to do business.”

I did take his information and pass it on to our sales team, who said they’d call him. He called back multiple times later that day, and my newest coworker got him one of those times. He gave her the same “I’ve been calling for so long and have cash in hand and I’ll go somewhere else” spiel. She came to me in a near panic because she couldn’t get a hold of a salesman; she didn’t want to be blamed if this guy went to a competitor. I told her to try them again just in case and then move up the chain to a manager if she had to.

She managed to get a salesman on the second try. After she finished with the call, she relayed to me that they had, in fact, called him first thing that morning and talked to him, and if he called again, we could send him to voicemail. Apparently, he wanted to buy a brand-new excavator and refused to finance it; he thought he should be able to buy a (minimum) $100,000 machine for $50,000 because he was willing to pay in cash, and he wasn’t taking no for an answer.

As far as I’m aware, he either moved on to harassing a different company, or he finally agreed to finance (or buy a cheaper piece of equipment); we didn’t get any more calls of that sort after that day.

They Were Driving Full Steam Ahead

, , , , | Right | November 24, 2023

In the 1950s, I worked very briefly one summer as a “pump jockey” filling cars at a service station.

On a very hot day, a woman pulled in, and as I started filling her tank, I could hear the engine ticking. As I started to move toward the hood to check the oil and water, I could feel the heat radiating.

I grabbed some water and a thick wad of rags to protect my hands. The engine was ticking away. She was telling me that she had driven straight through from Wichita (roughly 200 miles, or 320 kilometers) with a red warning light on the dashboard. I could tell that her radiator had boiled dry and would be hotter than blazes. The engine was probably completely seized by then.

I wasn’t going to touch anything that hot, so I started pouring water over the top of the radiator where it immediately turned to steam.

Customer: “Isn’t that supposed to go inside?”

Somehow, They Always Know

, , , , , , | Learning | November 7, 2023

In my junior year, I was PE assistant three days one week, two days the next week, and so on for the semester. On the off days, I was in study hall (school library). I played varsity basketball. So, for the off days, being bored out of my skull in study hall, I asked the teacher for a hall pass to go work out in the weight room. He made the pass out in pencil. WOW! 

For the next month, I would take the pass and change the date and time and, sometimes, I’d leave the building for an hour and go riding around. Often I did this during study hall; I would ask the teacher if I could go work out and then take off.

Finally, the end came. After I asked the teacher for permission to go to the weight room and was given the okay, I was walking toward the door of the room when this came from the teacher’s mouth.

Teacher: “Mr. [My Name], don’t you need a new hall pass? Surely you have rubbed a hole in the one you have.”

All that time, I thought I’d been getting away with this ruse, not realizing that he knew what I was doing all along.

End result: that was so embarrassing back in that day to be called out on what I had been doing, in front of the other kids, that I sat back down and never left for the rest of the semester.

Forget Nerves Of Steel; This One’s Got Nerves Of Fast Food Exhaustion

, , , , , , , | Legal | November 6, 2023

Because I mentioned this story in a comment on this NotAlwaysLegal story, and it’s apparently rather popular, here’s the whole shebang.

I worked in a fast food restaurant, and this was my third robbery in as many months. I’d been working doubles due to an especially cruddy general manager calling in every day, and I was just dead on my feet as the only competent manager left in the store willing to work. (I was not paid enough to deal with that, but that’s a fiasco for another time…)

It was about 10:45 pm, and we were getting into the first big after-bar rush that hit us when my drive-thru cashier heard a rattling sound in the lobby. None of us thought much of it; it was an old building, after all, and it was summertime, so we just figured it was the AC unit. We got through the first rush mostly fine, if absolutely barren for fried foods, so I decided to just drop some fries and make everything else to order, as late as it was. 

The rattling sound came again, louder this time, and I was cussing my way back up to the lobby to make yet another maintenance report when all of a sudden, this scrawny guy in his twenties appeared from behind the pop machine. For reference, the center of the dining room was hidden behind this behemoth, so we had no clue he was out there in the slightest. 

At first, I thought that I’d locked him in and started apologizing profusely; I was on day fifteen of seven, but I felt awful that I’d missed a customer…

So I’d thought. 

He demanded chicken tenders and all the cash in the store, waving what I (and my coworkers) thought was a knife. He was definitely high on something, and something inside me simply… snapped. I told him in the deadest voice I’ve ever produced:

Me: “You’ll be waiting ten minutes for the fryer. And I only have fifty bucks available. All the other registers have been removed and the cash dropped, and I just cleaned out the drive-thru’s excess cash before the last rush.”

I’m guessing it was due to the drugs, but he simply nodded and shuffled over to wait at one of the tables. In the stronger light over the table, the knife was revealed to be a piece of metal. I started the tenders, had my team hide in the back while I grabbed my phone, and breathed a sigh of relief when the sheriff’s deputy and a squad car showed up. 

The guy got pretty new bracelets and an attempted robbery charge.

And I made him pay for the tenders.

Forget Nerves Of Steel; This One’s Got Nerves Of Retail Exhaustion

Sounds Like Someone Needs To Grow Up And Pay Their Own Bills

, , , , , , , , , | Romantic | September 15, 2023

In 1979, I got a call one afternoon at my accounting office from a medical clinic thirty miles west of me.

Clerk #1: “We need a payment on your bill. It is ninety days past due and will be turned over to collections soon if you don’t make a payment.”

Me: “Who was treated at your clinic?”

Clerk #1: “Your wife had an appointment with our OBGYN.”

Me: “And when was this appointment?”

Clerk #1: “In February.”

Me: “Well, that is not my responsibility.”

Clerk #1: “Your wife gave us your name as the responsible party.”

Me: “Well, you see, our divorce was final last December, and I don’t believe I am responsible.”

Clerk #1: “You will need to send us a copy of your divorce decree to clear this up.”

And I complied.

In May, I got a call from a clothing store in a town about fifty miles southwest of me.

Clerk #2: “Sir, you must make a payment on your account.”

Me: “Who are you?”

Clerk #2: “We are [Women’s Clothing Store], and you have an account that is gravely past due.”

Me: “Where are you located?”

Clerk #2: “[Town].”

Me: “And when were these clothes put on my account?”

Clerk #2: “Your wife charged over $500 in clothes in March and listed you, her husband, as the responsible person.”

Me: “Well, gee! I don’t think that is the case since we were divorced last December.”

Clerk #2: “You will need to send us a copy of your divorce decree.”

Me: “Not going to happen. This is not the first time she has done this. It is not my fault you did not check with me before you set this up and let her leave with the clothes. If you want a copy of my divorce, then you call the clerk of the district court in my county and pay for your own copy. That is your responsibility, not mine.”