Time’s Arrow Marches Back And Forth

, , , | Right | March 19, 2018

(I am working at the reference desk. I often help people find books in the library’s catalogue, which is connected with at least two dozen other libraries in the region. We also have two monitors connected to the reference desk computer. One faces me, and the other faces the patron so that they can easily see the search results, too. It’s also important to note that our online catalogue records often have pictures of the library material. A man in his 50s approaches the desk.)

Me: “Hello. How can I help you?”

Patron: “Hey. Can you help me find a book? It’s called The Arrow.”

Me: *pulls up advanced search, types in the title* “Sure. Any chance you know the author’s name?”

Patron: “No.”

Me: “That’s okay. Let’s take a look and see what kind of results we get. Okay, there’s quite a list here.”

Patron: *points at his screen* “Yeah, that’s the one.”

Me: “The first record at the top?”

Patron: “Yeah, yeah. That’s it.”

(I take a closer look. It’s an erotic-looking romance novel; the cover shows a shirtless muscular man in a kilt. It is unusual, but also awesome for a man to ask for a romance novel, but it doesn’t matter what I think about his choices, so I stay neutral and professional, and don’t express any opinion.)

Me: “Okay, it shows that [Public Library two miles away] has it and it’s available for check out.”

Patron: “Yeah, I was there, but it’s not on the shelf.”

Me: “That’s a bummer. But now that we have the author’s name, I’ll do another search and see if there’s a chance there might be another record for that book.” *searches by author* “Okay, it looks like there are about a dozen of her other books available, but there’s only the one record for The Arrow by this author.”

Patron: “Yeah, I’m trying to figure out which one of the series that I need.

Me: “Okay, but I thought you said you wanted The Arrow? It looks like there are other books in this series. There’s The Chief…”

Patron: “Yeah, but I need to know which one I need next.”

Me: *confused, but trying to not get frustrated* “Okay, let’s go to the author’s website and see if I can find a book series list that can tell us the order.”

(I easily find the author’s website, which is clearly that of a romance novelist, and all the book covers show more shirtless, muscular men in kilts.)

Me:The Chief is the first in the series.”

Patron: *studying the screen* “No, I don’t think that’s the one I need. I need to know which one comes next.”

Me: “Here’s The Arrow; it’s the most recent one available in this series.”

Patron: “No, that’s not the one I need; I need the next one. I know that [College Library 60 miles away, which is in the catalogue] had the one I need. Can we check to see if they have it?”

Me: “Okay, I’m getting very confused. So, you’re looking for The Arrow, which is the latest book in this series, but that’s not what you’re looking for?”

Patron: “I’m trying to find The Arrow, the next book in this series.”

(I am now incredibly frustrated and not sure what the next move will be. Next thing I know, he pulls out his cellphone, punches in a number, and begins talking loudly on the phone.)

Me: “Excuse me, sir?”

Patron: “Hey, can I talk to [Woman #1]? I mean, [Woman #2]? Yeah, [Woman #2]. Hey, I’m looking for that book, The Arrow, and I know it’s out at [College Library 60 miles away]. Do you have it? They can’t find it in the catalogue here.”

Me: “Sir? I can’t help you if you’re on the phone.”

Patron: “Naw, you can; that’s okay. I can talk to both of you at once.”

Me: “No, actually, you can’t. I will finish helping you when you’ve finished with your phone call.”

(I refuse to do anything to help him while he is on the phone.)

Patron: “Yeah, [Woman #2], you got it out there? Okay, cool.”

(He talks a little bit more, and then hangs up.)

Patron: “Yeah, looks like they have the DVD out there; that’s what I wanted! Can we take another look at the catalogue?”

Me: “Wait, what? DVD? You are looking for Arrow on DVD? As in, the TV show based on a comic book? Okay, look: that is a completely different search, and asking for a book was not helpful.”

Patron: “Yeah, well, I meant the DVD.”

Me: *internally screaming* “You shouldn’t have specifically asked for a book, then. Or told me that the book record for a romance novel was the one you wanted.” *taking a deep breath* “Okay, so, you want Arrow, the TV series, on DVD, yes?”

Patron: “Yeah.”

Me: “Okay, let’s see what I can find.”

(I searched for Arrow on DVD and easily found it in less than a minute, figured out that he wanted season three and four, which were not available in the catalogue yet. Aye caramba!)

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That’s One Dangerous Party Trick

, , , , | Working | March 18, 2018

(We are invited to a family party by my in-laws. As usual, they only remember to call on the day of the party. I work most weekend nights and am not able to attend as I have to give more than two weeks notice. I mention to a coworker that I am missing out on a party and that I wish it could have been held the next weekend when I have the Saturday night off.)

Coworker #1: “You should do what I do; you should have just called in sick and gone to the party.”

(I go to work the following Sunday. I notice that I am working with a different staff member.)

Me: “Oh, is [Coworker] sick?”

Coworker #2: “You didn’t hear what happened?”

Me: “No, is she all right?”

Coworker #2: “She got fired last night. The idiot called in sick so she could attend her boyfriend’s staff Christmas party.”

Me: “Um… Doesn’t her boyfriend work here as security?”

Coworker #2: *nods yes* “And the party was held here, and our management was invited, too.”

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Of Privacy And Patience

, , , , | Working | March 18, 2018

(I am the customer in this story. My husband booked a car online in his name, but we couldn’t find his credit card, so we used mine. Then, once we booked, we realised the credit card was meant to be in his name. We didn’t want any trouble when we collect the car, so we called the next day. This is an abbreviation of two days and over two hours of phone calls. Call #1:)

Me: “Hi. My husband made a booking last night for a car, but his credit card wasn’t working, so we used mine. I noticed the terms and conditions say the credit card has to be in the driver’s name. What can we do about it?”

Rep #1: “Ah, okay. Well, the driver must be the cardholder.”

Me: “I understand that. But we have made a booking, and my card has been charged. Maybe we can change the credit card number on file? Or add another one?”

Rep #1: “No. It is not possible to change the credit card on the booking once the credit card has been charged. In this case, we would need to cancel the booking, issue a refund, and redo the booking.”

Me: “Will that cost anything?”

Rep #1: “No, no, that is fine. It will not cost anything. But it’s a public holiday here in Germany, so that department is closed. You need to call back tomorrow.”

Me: “Okay, I’ll do that.”

(Call #2:)

Me: “Hi. I’m calling because my the credit card on file for my booking is not the main driver’s, and I was told to call back today to rectify this.”

Rep #2: “Yes, that is true; we need the credit card holder to be the main driver of the vehicle.”

Me: “Yes, I understand that, but I don’t want to be the driver; my husband is. That’s why I’m calling: to change the booking.”

Rep #2: “And you will not be there at the time to collect the car?”

Me: “Yes, I’ll be there, so will my husband, and so will both our credit cards.”

Rep #2: “Ah, okay, that is fine, then. Yes, you will be able to change to use his credit card when they print out the rental contract.”

Me: “Really? Even though it’s already been paid for?”

Rep #2: “Yes, that is correct.”

Me: “Great! Can you email me that, so I have proof when I go to the counter?”

Rep #2: “No, I don’t have an email here, but I will contact the German office to send you that in an email.”

Me: “Great. Thanks!”

(Six hours later, no email. I call again. Call #3:)

Me: “Hi, I just spoke to someone.” *explains the situation* “I never received the email. Can you confirm?”

Rep #3: “Well, I don’t know why she said that, but that is not the case. The main driver must be the credit card holder.”

Me: “Yes, I know that. That’s what I’m trying to fix. I was told that I could change the credit card at the counter.”

Rep #3: “No, that is not the case. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do. You will need to email customer service; they can help you.”

(I email customer service asking if they can confirm that I will be able to change the credit card upon arrival. They respond, “The driver must be the credit card holder. You can add an additional driver for €60.” Call #4:)

Me: “Hi.” *explains situation* “It is pre-booked and already paid for on my card. So, I would like to know what can we do about this.”

Rep #4: “That is fine. Yes, you can indeed change the credit card when you pick up the car.”

Me: “Really? Even though it’s already been charged? Because I’ve heard different things from different people. Can you email that to me so I have confirmation?”

Rep #4: “Let me check with my team leader.”

(I’m on hold for a while, then…)

Rep #4: “Unfortunately, actually, because the credit card has already been charged, we cannot change it. But we can change the driver to your name for €20. Otherwise, you can email customer service, and maybe they can help you.”

Me: “What?! But you just said I could! I don’t want to be the driver. Also, I shouldn’t be charged for being the driver, as that isn’t changing anything. I am the cardholder, so I am the main driver. And I was told I could cancel it for free. Okay, I will email customer service, but can you please get me the recording of my earlier call? I was told that it would be recorded, so I would like access to that, please.”

Rep #4: “Let me check.”

(After being on hold again…)

Rep #4: “I spoke to my team leader, and we cannot change the credit card number on file, as it has already been charged.”

Me: “That’s not what I asked for! I asked for the recording. It is illegal for an EU company to fail to hand over data about a customer if they request it.”

Rep #4: “No. The question is not whether this is illegal, but whether we can change the credit card for you, and we cannot do that. Please email customer service.”

Me: “This is illegal. I am requesting information, and you are refusing to hand it over. Please put me on to your supervisor.”

(More holding, then…)

Rep #5: “Hi. I understand you want to change your credit card details, but unfortunately we cannot change it, as it has been pre-booked. You agreed to the terms and conditions when you booked, so there’s nothing we can do.”

Me: “No! That is not what I asked. I am requesting information that you hold about me, and you are refusing. Agreeing to the terms and conditions did not waive my rights. If you cannot hand over the call records, I will have to take legal action.”

Rep #5: “If you want the records, you can email customer service.”

Me: “Okay, I’ll do that. But if they don’t come through, I will take legal action. All I want is to remake the booking with a different credit card, which I was told I could do!”

Rep #5: “Oh, I understand! Actually, as a gesture of goodwill, I can cancel the booking and remake it without charging you anything. And for your trouble, I can reduce the price a bit, as well.”

(I think they realised they were in trouble when I knew the EU data privacy laws!)

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It’s Time For A Change

, , , , , | Working | March 15, 2018

(I am the customer in this story, calling the phone company to get my “new” phone number changed.)

Me: “I moved not too long ago and had this number assigned to me, but I need to change it. Whoever had this number before me must have been very popular, because I am getting multiple calls per day for them.”

Representative: “Okay. We can do that for you, but there will be a $50 fee to have your number changed.”

Me: “Um, okay, I’m not requesting this just for the fun of it, or because I don’t like my number or what the numbers add up to, or something crazy like that. Like I said, I am getting multiple calls every day for this person, and I need it changed, please.”

Representative: “I understand, but there is a charge associated with changing the number, and it is $50.”

Me: “Again, I am not doing this just for s***s and giggles. Why should I have to pay $50 because you guys stuck me with a phone number that obviously has not been out of circulation long enough for all these people to know they no longer have a valid number? Having to answer someone else’s phone calls multiple times a day is not fun, especially when the person who had this number spoke a different language. I don’t even know if the people who are calling understand what I am saying because most of them don’t understand English!”

Phone Representative: “I am sorry, but the only way we can waive the charges is if the calls were threatening or harassing.”

Me: “Trust me: the calls will get threatening and harassing if you don’t waive your stupid fee and change my number for free!

Phone Representative: “Umm… Okay… We will change your number, free of charge, for you.”

Me:Thank you!”

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Looks Like Those Friends Didn’t Work Out

, , , , | Working | March 11, 2018

(I apply as a forklift operator — a job for which I have years of experience and several certifications — for a three-month job. The company likes my resume and sends me to a one-week, unpaid training course. At the end of the week, I am told that I performed pretty well, and I’ll be called on the following Monday to know when I will begin to work. Monday comes and passes by, and no call. I call the company on Tuesday just to hear that, “Sadly,” because of some lame excuse, I have not been hired. Two weeks later, the same company calls me and asks me if I am still available, as there is an opening for the remaining two-and-a-half months. Still unemployed, I gladly accept… only to be called a day after and be told, again, that because of another lame excuse, I wasn’t hired. After talking around, I’m told the managers of the company are prone to hire “friends” and “friends of friends,” even if they’re under-skilled, so I drop every expectation with this company and move on. Two months later, I have another job that I’m quite satisfied with, when the phone rings.)

Employee #1: “Hello, I’m [Employee #1] from [Company]. There is an opening, so you will begin tomorrow for a two-week contract.”

Me: “Sorry, but I’m not available anymore. Thank you, anyway, for the call, and have a nice day.”

Employee #1: “Ah… Okay… Have a nice day.”

(The next day, the phone rings again:)

Employee #2: “Hello, I’m [Employee #2] from [Company]. I know you already spoke with my coworker yesterday, but we really need you. We are still in the final production rush and we can’t find enough personnel.”

Me: “I’m afraid I’m not available.”

Employee #2: “Please? You already made the training, and you have the needed certifications. We really are short on employees!”

Me: “Again, I have a new job, and I surely won’t quit for a two-week contract. Please do not contact me again.”

(They tried to call me another two times, but I simply dropped their calls until they stopped trying. Seriously, we are still in an economic crisis and many people still strive to find a job, but do they really expect someone to be sitting on his butt for two months waiting for a vague “maybe in the future,” or even willing to quit a better job for a two-week contract?)

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