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Outsourcing To A Third Party Often Ends In Disaster

, , , , , | Working | November 25, 2022

I am a personal shopper at a chain grocery store. My company offers “delivery,” but instead of using their own associates to deliver the groceries, they use a third party “choose your own hours”-type company. The drivers in our town choose not to drive in the evenings. Ever. If a customer places an order for delivery for an 8:00 or 9:00 pm timeslot, they are not getting their groceries.

This is annoying for everyone involved because customers don’t get their items and call us to complain, but there is nothing we can do except submit a request for a driver, suggest they come to pick up their items themselves, or cancel the order. Naturally, we are the ones that bear the brunt of their anger. I 100% believe that these customers have the right to be angry and definitely should find the right channel to complain to. Again, I really do empathize with them.

Most customers eventually accept a corporate number they can call and make a formal complaint, but this story takes the cake. It is the day after Thanksgiving at around 3:00 pm.

Customer: “Hello. I am calling about an order that was placed on Wednesday for 9:00 pm. I never received it. This is the third time I’ve called.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. I talked to you on Wednesday night. I was not able to schedule a driver for your order.”

Customer: “I know. I told you I couldn’t come to get it because my truck is broken down, and you said you would keep requesting a driver until 10:30. I stayed up all that time waiting for my groceries and they never came. I am very unhappy about this, as you can understand, so I called earlier today and talked to somebody who said she was the manager. She told me she could cancel the order and I’d get a refund. The money is not on my account yet and I’m calling to find out why.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. It takes three to five days for the money to get processed.”

Customer: “Well, that is entirely unacceptable. I can only afford to buy groceries one day at a time, so I have had no food in my house for two days because of this. I need that refund right now because I have no money to buy food. I want my $98 back on my account right now.”

I’ve pulled the customer’s order up on the computer. It was for $49.

Me: “I am so sorry about that. Unfortunately, I can’t do anything to speed up that process. I have a phone number for customer service I can give you. They might be able to authorize a faster refund.”

Customer: “I don’t want to call a different number. I want you to do it. Give me back my $98!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m looking at your order. I can see you purchased a turkey, stuffing, green beans, sweet potatoes, rolls, a pumpkin pie, and a few sodas. It says your total was $49. Where are you getting the $98 from?”

Customer: “The rest is for my pain and suffering because you ruined my Thanksgiving!”

Me: “I think you’d better call the customer service line. They have the authority to offer you some additional compensation.”

Customer: “You know what? You’re an idiot. Your whole department is made up of idiots. You completely ruined my Thanksgiving and won’t help me. I will never shop there again and will tell all my friends never to shop there. You’re all a bunch of motherf*****s!”

She hung up. Part of us did really feel bad for her. We understand she had financial hardship, and this is the kind of thing that makes us wish we could do deliveries ourselves. Most of her order had been substituted anyway, since it was placed the night before Thanksgiving — ham instead of turkey, sweet potato pie instead of pumpkin, etc.

But any food would have been better than none, and if we’d have been allowed, we’d have been glad to take it to her. Still, there wasn’t any more we could do. We do not have the authority to offer her more than what she paid. I hope she called and complained to someone who actually could help her.

Getting Healthy Can Be A Heavy Burden

, , , , , | Working | November 24, 2022

Back in college, I was pretty heavy, topping out at around 350 pounds. Toward the end of college, I had a visit to the doctor and was informed that my health was not doing great overall and especially my heart was struggling. This news really scared me and so I decided to get in shape. Eventually, I lost over 130 pounds. I have kept it off for ten years now and my heart is doing much better.

One day, I’m speaking with some coworkers specifically about where we went to college. In the process of telling a story, I pull up an old photo to show my coworkers. 

Coworker: “Holy cow! You look a little different!”

Me: “Yeah, I had some health problems and needed to lose some weight.”

Coworker: “Man, I’d love to lose some weight. How did you do that? Can you help me?”

Me: “Well, when I first started, I was super strict on my diet — lean proteins, veggies, and portion control, mainly just maintaining a deficit. Once I got down to where I wanted to be, I loosed up some.”

Coworker: “I don’t want to change what I eat.”

Me: *Pauses* “Okay, well, I really got into swimming; it was easier on my joints and great exercise.”

Coworker: “I just don’t have the patience for exercise. I get so bored.”

Me: “Well, if you don’t want to change your diet or exercise, what would you change?” 

Coworker: “Just the weight. I want to keep everything else the same.”

Me: “If you can figure out that trick, you could make a fortune.”

Unfortunately, Most Of Us Have To Work To Have A Life

, , , , , | Working | November 24, 2022

I am the hiring manager for a large retail store. On this particular Monday, I have been reaching out to applicants about different openings and setting up phone interviews. One applicant states that she is interested in one of our openings, so I send her the link to schedule her phone interview online. These links expire twenty-four hours after being sent — which she was told about — as we typically have a lot of people scheduling interviews and it is first come, first served. When visiting the link, it gives you all available times for the next three days.

This applicant schedules her interview for the following day, Tuesday, late in the afternoon. That Tuesday morning, I get a text message from her at 9:00 am stating she is too busy for her fifteen-minute phone interview scheduled at 5:00 pm and wants to reschedule. I immediately respond.

Me: “That’s not a problem. Just click on the same link I originally sent you, and you can change your time from there.”

At 3:00 pm, I see that she still hadn’t rescheduled it, so I reach out to see if there were any problems getting it rescheduled. I ask if she needs assistance to get that processed or if she just wants to stick with the original interview time. Her interview time comes and goes with no response.

I am actually off the following day, Wednesday, but when I come into work on Thursday, I still have no response from her, so I can only assume she is no longer interested. I remove her from consideration to give other applicants the opportunity to interview for that position.

At 8:00 pm on Friday, she sends me a rude message stating that the interview link has expired. Since I am an hourly associate and I was off at 5:00 pm on Friday, I don’t see this message until I come in on Saturday at 7:00 am. I reply.

Me: “Yes, the link expired because it was only good for twenty-four hours. You haven’t responded to any of my previous messages to get a new interview scheduled.”

Her response comes within about fifteen minutes, and it blows my mind.

Applicant: “Well, excuse me for having a life. Maybe you should get one, too.”

This comes from someone who applied for one of our openings and responded enthusiastically when we reached out to her initially because she was “definitely interested” and even thanked me to the opportunity to interview. 

I have actively had to stop myself from messaging her back with the same type of attitude because, unlike her, I want to continue working and actually love my job. So, instead, I just reached out to the other stores (within the same company) in the area letting them know that that particular applicant probably wouldn’t be a good fit in a customer service role and clearly had no desire to work. I wonder if she will be able to afford this “life” she is so smug about considering our company has the highest starting pay rate in the city with the most flexible hours for scheduling around school, and she just burned three bridges.

No Love In This Family Business

, , , , , | Working | November 23, 2022

I used to work in a small coffee shop, part of a chain owned by a bakery. This was a family business, and our immediate boss was [Family Member #1], who used to work in our shop two days a week to keep an eye on the operations.

Our coffee shop had maybe ten seats, and we had a lot of takeout customers. We made most of the pastries from frozen dough, which means we had to give them time to thaw and rise, and then we filled and baked them and finally applied frosting. They were super delicious, made with lots of butter and sugar! We also served coffee and other drinks. There weren’t any single-use cups or plates. Everything had to be washed — by hand — so there was plenty to do, in addition to customer service and cleaning tables.

Sundays were often busy. Normally, there were at least two of us working, often more. However, one Sunday, several people got sick and I was the only one available. [Family Member #1] called me in the morning and told me to just do my best. She said that [Family Member #2] would drop in later and give me a hand.

I worked so hard! And I did well! [Family Member #2] came in the afternoon, took a coffee and a pastry, and sat down at one of the tables. I had not had time to clean all the tables, so I was relieved and thought that she would help me with that. So, I decided to focus on baking and customer service instead of cleaning tables around her. She sat there for a long time, and then she took some of the cups and dishes from her own table, brought them in to me… and left!

I was disappointed but kept going. The day ended. I was exhausted but very proud of myself.

The next day, [Family Member #1] called me. I was expecting that she would thank me, but instead, she said:

Family Member #1: “[Family Member #2] was disappointed that you had not cleaned the tables better.”

Me: “I was doing the work of two or three people by myself. All day.”

Family Member #1: “That’s no excuse.”

The lesson I learned: don’t work too hard; you will not be thanked for it anyway. Also, time to find a new job.

The lesson she should have learned but never did: it is not easy to replace hard-working people! When your staff is going above and beyond to keep your business running, the least you should do is say thank you. That might be the difference between keeping them or losing them.

When They Act Tough, You Call Their Bluff, Part 2

, , , , , , , | Working | November 22, 2022

When my baby was six months old, the pediatrician’s billing service sent a notice saying the insurance company refused to pay for one of his well-visits. Since it should have been covered, I called the insurance company first.

Insurance: “It’s a network thing. You needed to get a referral from the primary care doctor first.”

Me: “But we saw the primary care doctor.”

Insurance: “The claim says you visited an anesthesiologist in [Town #1].”

Me: “Uh, no. We went to the pediatrician’s office in [Town #2].”

Insurance: “Oh, I see the problem. The healthcare network’s billing agent reversed two of the numbers in the billing code. They put in 123456, but they should have input 123465. Have them resubmit the bill, and we’ll pay it.”

I called the billing center and explained the problem and that if they resubmitted the bill, they’d get paid.

Agent: “No.”

Me: “No?”

Agent: “I already submitted it, and they rejected it.”

Me: “You submitted an incorrect claim, and that’s why they rejected it.”

Agent: “It’s been submitted and rejected, and now you need to pay for the visit.”

Lather, rinse, and repeat for about two minutes.

Me: “Okay, well, have a nice day.”

I hung up, brewed myself a nice cup of tea, and played with the baby for a while. Feeling refreshed, I called the billing center back. I got the same agent.

Me: “Hi! I called before about an incorrect bill you submitted to insurance.”

Agent: *Huge sigh* “There is nothing I can do about it.”

Me: “Well, I’ve turned you in to the state insurance commission for insurance fraud.”


Me: “They said they’ll call in the next couple of days.”

Agent: “Why would you do that?”

Me: “Because you billed my insurance company for a visit to an anesthesiologist in [Town #1] that my son never went to.”

Agent: “But you—”

Me: “My son never had any surgery or any medical condition that would require an anesthesiologist. I can prove quite thoroughly that I had nothing to do with this doctor.”

Agent: “Are you serious?”

Me: “Finally, I can prove I wasn’t there because at exactly the same time you claim I was receiving services in [Town #1]… I was in my son’s pediatrician’s office twenty miles away.”

Agent: “Why are you doing this?”

Me: “By insisting my insurance should pay for that visit, when you know I was never there, that’s insurance fraud.”

Agent: “…”

Me: “…”

Agent:Fine. I’ll fix the claim!”

Me: *All sunshine* “Thank you!”

The minute the corrected claim arrived, insurance paid up.

When They Act Tough, You Call Their Bluff