Client Defiant

| TX, USA | Right | October 26, 2016

(I work in a law office as both receptionist and as consultant for new clients. We always do our consultations over the phone, since walk-ins tend to expect to see the lawyer right away. Seeing as his schedule is planned usually a month in advance, that isn’t feasible.)

Me: “Law office, how can I help you?”

Caller: “I need your address.”

Me: “May I ask why?”

Caller: “To see the lawyer. What is your address?”

Me: “[Lawyer] is not in today, so you wouldn’t be able to see him today. Can I help you?”

Caller: “No, you can’t. This is sensitive information. I just need your address.”

Me: “Okay. We only do [types of law] at this office. Is this the type of case you have?”

Caller: “Yes, it is.”

Me: “Well, new callers are unable to see the lawyer the same day. We have to schedule them to see him. I can take your information over the phone, however.”

Caller: “No, you can’t. I would prefer to talk to him. Just give me your address.”

Me: “Okay. The address is [address]; however, we still would not be able to schedule you for an appointment to see him without first doing a consultation with you.”

Caller: “Listen, sweetheart, I don’t give sensitive information out over the phone. Working at a law office, I would think you’d understand that. I will be in there today to see [Lawyer].” *hangs up*

(One hour later, the caller and her husband arrive, and instantly glare at me.)

Caller: “I’m here to see [Lawyer].”

Me: “Do you have an appointment to see him?”

(I already know she doesn’t, but I’m dying to know what she has to say.)

Caller: “I wasn’t told that I need to have an appointment! I need to see him today. It’s imperative that I see him today. How long will it be before I can see him?” *They sit down.*

Me: “Hmm, if you don’t have an appointment, then it’s not going to be until [three weeks later].”

Caller: “WHAT? But I have to see him about my case!”

Me: “OH! You need a consultation!”

Caller: “YES!”

Me: “Right! We don’t do consultations in person. I do them over the phone. I’d have done so earlier, but you were unbelievably rude, with no reason to be. And you told me that you refused to give me your information. Without your information, there’s no way we can set an appointment for you.”

Caller: *stares at me*

Me: “We can’t take your case. Have a nice day!”

(She argued with me until the legal assistant came to back me up. With her attitude and insistence to see the lawyer, there’s no way we would want her as a client.)

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An All-Consuming Business

| England, UK | Working | October 11, 2016

(I’m looking at a mark-up of a transaction document. I’m having a bit of a slow moment and turn to my office mate.)

Me: “Hey, stupid question. Is consummation of an agreement when you sign it or when you complete the deal?”

Colleague: “Eh?”

Me: “It says, basically, ‘There are no agreements, etc. that will on consummation of this agreement provide a right to anyone, yada yada.’  Is that signing or completion?”

Colleague: “That’s a weird word to use. Well, I guess … when you get married, you sign the piece of paper. But you don’t consummate it till later. So being married is signing and consummation would be—”

Me: “The coming together of all the parties’ desires?”

Word Imperfect

| Los Angeles, CA, USA | Working | September 30, 2016

(I visit a client’s desk to review a problem she is having viewing PDF files. She claims that they are regularly crashing and it is severely impacting her workload.)

Me: “Can you demonstrate the problem for me?”

Client: “Sure.”

(She proceeds to minimize each application individually. She then double-clicks the Microsoft Word icon on her desktop. Once it loads, she goes to the File menu, and clicks Open. She then browses to the main network folder, then, in sequence, to her own folder, a folder named “WPDOCS” (a holdover from the WordPerfect days), and a folder in THAT called “PDFs.” In there she finds the document she wants, right-clicks it, and choses “View in QuickView Plus.” QuickView Plus then opens and loads Adobe Reader, embedded within its own window, to finally display the PDF document. After regaining my composure at the circuitous route she takes to get there, I explain how the program within a program within a program method she uses adds so many points of failure it is no surprise this happens.)

Me: “Why don’t you just browse to the file in Windows Explorer and double-click it to open it?”

Client: “I didn’t say I wanted to OPEN it. I said I wanted to VIEW it.”

Me: “Those are the exact same thing. There’s no technical distinction.”

Client: “Well, how am I supposed to know these things?!”

(I guess she had me there.)

Schedule In Some Secrecy

| Chicago, IL, USA | Right | July 30, 2016

Me: “[Firm]. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Yes I’m calling for [Attorney].”

Me: “Sorry, he is not available.”

Caller: “Do you know when he might be available? I have a meeting with him later today.”

Me: “Sorry, I can’t say when that will be.”

Caller: “What, is it a secret?”

Me: “No, I DO NOT KNOW when he will be available.”

Caller: “Oh, okay! Thanks, honey.”

Inheriting An Impossible Request

| Helsinki, Finland | Right | July 2, 2016

Me: *phone rings* “[Law Firm], [My Name].”

Customer: “Do you handle inheritance cases?”

Me: “Yes, we do.”

Customer: “Well we have this disagreement in my family that has been going on for almost twenty years.”

Me: “Okay.”

Customer: “The problem is that a couple of relatives won’t sign any documents and we are all absolutely adamant that court proceedings are out of the question.”

Me: “Those are really the only options, I’m afraid. Either you can make an agreement or go to court.”

Customer: “No, that will not do. I want you to resolve it.”

Me: “I can write the contracts for everyone involved to sign, or I can take the matter to court. There is no third way.”

Customer: “No! Those options will not do! I want you to resolve it now. And I mean immediately!”

Me: “You mean at this very moment, over the phone, talking to you?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but that is impossible.”

Customer: “Why?!”

Me: “It just is. I would have to do magic to resolve your disagreement of twenty years instantly, talking to just one party over the phone.”

Customer: “You are just absolutely useless!” *click*

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