Unfair Thing To Do At A Fair

, , , , , , | Related | September 13, 2018

(I am seven years old, and a traveling carnival is in town. At this carnival, they give matching stickers to children and parents with their names on them, usually including a simple unique drawing on each in case of repeat names. As a reward for good grades, I am able to go. My mother takes me, but there are conditions she doesn’t mention beforehand. We are exiting the car and approaching the ticket stand.)

Mom: *grabs both of my shoulders and forces me to look at her face* “Remember, you have to say to the nice people that you’re five, or else we are going home.”

Me: *disappointed* “Dad says lying is bad.”

Mom: “Well, I divorced him, and he isn’t here, so do as I say!”

(We arrive at the ticket stand.)

Cashier: *cheery* “Hello, how are you today?”

Mom: *flat and tensely* “One adult, and one child under six.”

Cashier: *somewhat surprised by my mother’s tone, turns to face me* “And how old are you, sweetie?”

Me: *awkward and afraid, totally uncomfortable, or “shy” as some people call it* “Five.”

Cashier: “Great! What’s your name so I can write it on your tag?”

Me: *so nervous I can only hear my heart pounding in my ears, and I regret wanting to come here in the first place* “Five.”

Cashier: *blinks* “Well, all right, then. One moment!”

(She wrote up the parent and child tags, each saying that “Five” was my name, and a quick drawing of a pine tree. Probably because I was scared stiff? I didn’t end up having much fun because I was so scared I was going to get arrested for lying about my age.)

Sit Down, You’ll Like This One

, , , | Right | September 12, 2018

(Overheard at an airport:)

Ticketing Agent #1: *on phone* “No! He said the child was under age two when he made the reservation!”

Ticketing Agent #2: “Of all the gall…”

Me: “What happened?”

Ticketing Agent #1: “Children under two fly free, seated on a parent’s lap. Children over two have to have a seat. The flight was full, so he missed it because there wasn’t a seat available for his son.”

Ticketing Agent #2: “I don’t think he’ll try that again…”

They’re Airborne Now

, , , , | Working | September 11, 2018

(It’s around the year 2000. My mother has brought one of our computers in to have some issues checked out, as they’re bad enough to interfere with the computer’s functionality.)

Tech: “Okay, I took a look, and it seems you’ve got a couple viruses that need to be taken care of.”

Mom: “Viruses?”

Tech: “Yeah. You need to be careful what sort of websites you visit; some may download things to your computer without you noticing.”

Mom: “Uh-huh… That’s an interesting problem for a computer that’s never been connected to the Internet.”

(We did get the computer fixed, somewhere else.)

Cancel The Cancellation

, , , , | Right | September 7, 2018

(It’s the week before Christmas and also the day before payday for most workers who are paid monthly. I’m handling lost and stolen card calls, but I am also trained in fraud prevention. We cancel lost or stolen cards for anyone who rings, as long as we can find the account, but the account holder is the only one who can request a new card. We also don’t share any account details with non-account holders.)

Me: “Hello, lost and stolen cards. [My Name] speaking. How can I help?”

Caller: “Hi. My wife lost her credit and debit cards, and I need to get them cancelled and reissued, please.”

Me: “Can you confirm your name, your wife’s name, her address, and her date of birth so I can find the account?”

Caller: “My name is [Caller] and…” *supplies details I asked for*

Me: “So, I cancel the cards straight away, but your wife will need to call directly to get new cards issued.”

Caller: “But both cards will be cancelled and won’t work anymore?”

Me: “Yes, correct.”

Caller: “And when she calls, how long will it take for the new cards to arrive?”

Me: “Usually it’s only a few days, but as we are so close to Christmas, it will more than likely be the new year. The sooner she calls, the better, though.”

Caller: “Okay. She has a chequebook on her account, too. That was also lost; can you cancel that, too?”

Me: “Certainly, but I would need the cheque numbers to be cancelled.”

Caller: “I don’t have those, but you have to cancel the chequebook immediately.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but the system won’t allow me to cancel anything without the cheque numbers. When your wife calls to order her new cards we can get the cheque details from her then.”

Caller: “Well, she won’t be able to ring, because, uh… someone broke into her flat and beat her up, and now she’s in a coma.”

Me: “I’m very sorry to hear that, and I hope she recovers quickly. Would she have bank statements at home? That will show the last cheque cashed, and we can cancel all subsequent cheques from there.”

Caller: “Well, she might do, but, uh… I don’t actually live with her. We’re divorced, but I’m her next-of-kin. I just need you to cancel everything.”

Me: *alarm bells going off* “I’ll have to check with my team leader in the morning. Can I take a contact number and call you back?”

Caller: “Sure, it’s [number]. And her cards are already cancelled, yes?”

Me: “Yes. Thank you.”

(I hang up and check the history on the account, but it only goes back six months. I decide to take a risk and call the number we have on file for the account holder before I actually cancel anything on the account.)

Me: “Hello. Can I speak to [Customer]?”

Customer: “Speaking.”

Me: “[Customer], my name is [My Name] and I’m calling from [Bank]. Do you have a minute to speak?

Customer: “Yes. Is everything okay?”

Me: “Well, I just spoke to your ex-husband, [Caller], who called to cancel your credit and debit cards, as well as your chequebook. He said you were assaulted in your home and were in a coma, but since I’m speaking to you now ,I’m guessing that’s not true?”

Customer: “That f***er! We’ve been divorced for years, but every Christmas he rings the bank right before payday and gets everything cancelled so I can’t do any Christmas shopping. I’ve even changed banks, but he knows that you can find my information with my address and date of birth. I can’t believe he’s done it again. How am I going to do my Christmas shopping?”

Me: “I’m so sorry to hear that, Ms. [Customer]. I was suspicious of the call, so I’m happy to inform you that I didn’t cancel anything until I spoke to you, so all your cards are active. I’m also going to put a flag on your account advising that we must speak to you before anything is cancelled on the account. Will that be okay?”

Customer: “Oh, my God, yes. Thank you so much!”

Me: “You’re most welcome. I also took his details and will be flagging this to my superiors. You’re welcome to pursue it from your side with the authorities if they can help.”

(My team leader made a change to the customer’s account so any time someone accessed her account, an alert would direct them to the fraud prevention team. They also implemented a rule that someone has to call the number on file before any changes are made to her account. The customer also sent me a huge gift basket for stopping her ex-husband!)

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A Ballooning Lie

, , , , , | Legal | September 6, 2018

(At the store I work for, none of our items are scanned in; instead, cashiers key in prices by hand and automatically apply discounts to items are on sale for the week. Because of this method, anytime a return is requested without a receipt, there are things that must be done before even beginning to process the return. The first thing is to explain to the customer our no-receipt return policy, which is also on display next to EVERY register, not just the return registers. I am running a return register on this day, and a customer comes to my register to do a return. However, I am already suspicious of this as she has come from the back of the store holding several items, none of which are in bags.)

Customer: “Hey, I want to exchange these balloons for these shirts.”

(The customer is holding about 15 of our reusable number-shape balloons that are 20” tall and cost roughly $5 a piece.)

Me: “Okay, that shouldn’t be too difficult. Do you have your receipt with you?”

Customer: “Nah, I threw it away.”

Me: “Okay, well, there are two different things I can do. First, if you paid for those with a credit or debit card, and as long as you have that card on you, I can do a transaction lookup and process the return that way. The second–”

Customer: “No, I don’t have any of that; I paid in cash.”

Me: “That’s understandable; in that case, we can do a no-receipt return and you will get an exchange card. In cases of no-receipt returns, you will get the lowest selling price in the last 60 days. Lucky for you, though, you seem to have items that don’t ever go on sale, so you will get full price back for them. Before I start the process, though, I must verify that we still carry these exact balloons in the store, and also verify that their price has not changed recently; if they have gone on clearance then I have to give you the clearance price.”

Customer: “Oh, you guys still have them; I was just back there and saw them, and they’re the same price.”

(Again, this makes me suspicious, as the balloons and the shirts are in completely separate areas. In order to go past the balloons, you would have to go in the opposite direction of the shirts.)

Me: “While that may be true, ma’am, the company policy is that I must verify with the department manager. If they randomly choose this transaction to review during daily reports and don’t see me verify over the phone then I get in serious trouble. I hope you understand.”

Customer: “Oh, yeah, I understand.”

(I page my coworker to verify the balloons for me.)

Me: “Hey, I just need to verify for no-receipt purposes that we still have the 20” balloons and that they’re the same price.”

Coworker: “Is this person a short, [Ethnicity] lady with long hair and wearing a baseball cap?”

Me: “Um, no, it’s not that one.”

Coworker: “Okay. I was just making sure. A woman of that description just grabbed about 10 or 15 balloons from over here and walked off towards the front really quickly.”

(As she is saying this, the woman she has described has walked up to stand next to the customer I have been talking to. Her hands are empty.)

Me: “Oh, yeah, I see what you were talking about now. That is definitely the one. Would you mind checking on that for me?”

Coworker: “Go ahead and page [Manager] and get him up there.”

Me: *to customer* “Sorry about the wait. It happens to be our truck day today, and that manager is unpacking a box. She asked me to check with another manager, as she isn’t sure how much longer she will be.”

(I see my customer service manager, walk over to her, and explain the issue that we have a possible fraud return attempt, and then I page the store manager from the phone near her so I can explain the situation to him. He comes to the front very quickly.)

Manager: “Here, let me see those balloons. I’m getting on up in age and want to make sure I locate the correct item.”

Customer: “Why is this taking so long? We just want to do an exchange for this stuff.”

Me: “I know, ma’am. Again, I apologize for the inconvenience; because we have to type everything in by hand, it makes no-receipt returns a real annoyance to process. I wish the system was more streamlined, but sadly that’s for corporate to decide. My manager is just going to verify the item and the price for us; as I said it is our truck day today which always makes things move even a little more slowly. Please be patient, though, and I’m sure we can get this sorted out in just a couple more minutes.”

(The customers step a few feet away and start whispering to each other. At about the same time, my store manager and customer service manager both walk back up to my register together.)

Manager: “So, did my cashier here ask you if you guys paid for this with a credit or debit card? If you did, we can do a lookup and give you the actual amount back. We’ve got a memo in the back talking about items moving to clearance in our party department, so sadly it’s going to take a few more minutes to verify the price on these balloons before we can return them.”

(I can tell he is stalling for time, as clearance adjustments are done at the beginning of the week and it’s the end of the week now. At this point the women have caught on that we know what they are attempting to do.)

Customer: “I don’t understand this at all. We were just wanting to buy the shirts, and we were asking if we would be able to return something if we didn’t have a receipt so that we could get the balloons. I think your cashier here just doesn’t understand.”

Me: “Oh, gosh. I’m so sorry! You’re right; I must have completely misunderstood you guys. You wanted to return something else and get the balloons with it. Well, yes, as you have witnessed, as long as we can verify we still carry it, we can return it for the lowest selling price in the last 60 days. Let me just go ahead and ring these shirts up for you now. And did you guys have the thing that you wanted to return with you?”

Customer: “Uh, yeah, it’s in the car, but, um… We actually have an appointment we need to get to, so we will just come back later to get those balloons.”

Me: “Okay, that sounds like a good idea. Just don’t forget to bring your item in with you the next time you come in.”

(The customers paid for their shirts and quickly left the store. We had actually been aware of these ladies for a while, but had never been able to catch them in the act. It wasn’t just by chance that my department manager witnessed the woman grabbing the balloons and heading to the front with them. She had forgotten to put her work vest on that morning, so the woman thought she was just another customer.)


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