Put Them In A Scam Jam

, , | Legal | March 15, 2019

(I work at a book self-publishing company. Recently some letters have gone out notifying authors that they have money in their accounts that they can use. A man calls our post-sale department and gets one of my coworkers. I only hear half of the conversation, but she fills me in on the rest later.)

Caller: “Hi. I’m calling to change the deposit information for my account.”

Coworker: “Okay, sir, and what’s your name?”

Caller: “[Unisex Name].”

(A person by that name happens to be an author featured on our website.)

Coworker: *hesitating* “Um, sir, do you have the authorization to do this?”

Caller: “What are you talking about? I’m [Unisex Name]. I want to withdraw my credit. Quit hoarding my money.”

Coworker: “Sir, I’m afraid I can’t continue this call with you.”

Caller: “What? Why not?”

Coworker: “Well, because [Unisex Name] is a girl, and she’s giving me a really weird look right now. She works here.”

(The caller hung up immediately. We all got a kick out of a person trying to scam funds out of an account that belonged to an employee.)

The Cake Is Their Lie

, , , , , , , | Right | March 14, 2019

(Most cakes in our grocery store bakery are brought in frozen, already decorated, and ready to display. There are some that we decorate in-house, but those are baked elsewhere and thus are also brought in frozen. A customer has already ordered a cake and is asking about in-house decoration with my manager, which is the kind of question you would ask before placing an order. After a few more moments of conversation which I do not catch, my manager laughs, and the customer rips the cake box out of his hands and storms off toward the front of the store. My manager follows her and soon both are out of sight. I walk over to the packager.)

Me: “What was that about?”

Packager: “That lady has gotten the last two cakes from us for free because they were–” *air quotes* “–‘wrong.’ I had [Manager] take her order to try to keep her from scamming us this time, but apparently, she’s tried again. I didn’t really hear what was happening.”

Me: “She’s done this before?”

Packager: “Yeah, before you started, she badgered a free cake out of me. [Absent Coworker] took her order and double-checked it, but when she came to pick it up it was missing whatever birthday number was supposed to be on it. She never told [Absent Coworker] to put a number on it; it was not on the order slip at all. I offered to do it for her on the spot, but she said it was too late. I was here alone, so I tried calling the MOD, but she never came and the customer kept getting mad at me, so I gave it to her for free.”

Me: “Wow. She insisted on getting a free cake for that?”  

Packager: “Yep. The time before was kind of my fault, but still stupid. She had ordered a chocolate fudge cake, but I forgot that we have more than one brand of chocolate fudge cake, so I didn’t write down which one. Shouldn’t be a big deal, since we had her number. [Assistant Manager] called her to find out which one and she refused to tell her. I was on vacation so she guessed and guessed right, but the customer still insisted it was wrong, and [Previous Manager] made [Assistant Manager] give her the cake for free.”

(Our conversation is interrupted as the baker, back from her break, walks back into the department and up to us.)

Baker: “[Produce Colleague] said someone was trying to get free cake?”

Me: “Apparently, we have a frequent scammer trying to pull one over on [Manager]. I wonder how [Produce Colleague] knows about it, though?”  

(The packager and I fill her in on what we know. We speculate a bit on what is happening and then go back to our work. After a while, [Manager] returns.)  

Manager: “Well, that was entertaining. [Customer] is no longer allowed to order cakes from us. I just spoke to [Assistant Store Manager] to get the okay.”  

Packager: “Did she pay for this cake?”

Manager: “Oh, yeah. I followed her all the way up to the front, telling her we could go talk to customer service together if she was upset. She yelled at me to stop following her, told me to f*** off, and then tried to get [Produce Colleague] to get me to stop following her. She went up to cash, paid for it, and left in a hurry.”

Me: “What was she claiming was wrong with it?”

Manager: “She claimed that the person she ordered from had told her that the cakes are baked in-store. I corrected her and told her that we never discussed that, and she called me a liar.”

Packager: “She wasn’t supposed to pick that cake up until five pm. I’m betting she came in early thinking you were a new hire on closing shift and that you wouldn’t be here, so she could blame it on you and get it for free since you couldn’t defend yourself. She probably wasn’t expecting you to be here, and definitely wasn’t expecting you to be the manager.”

Manager: “Nope, she wasn’t. And now she’ll have to find someone else to scam because we’re not putting up with her s*** anymore.”  

Me: “You should probably put that in writing, especially if she likes to prey on new hires. You and I both know that [Absent Coworker #2] wouldn’t be able to stand up to her without something to back her up. It’ll help all of us if she tries it again when you’re not here.”

Manager: “You’re right; I’ll do that now.”

(There is now a note from [Manager] hanging prominently — but out of sight of customers — proclaiming that no more cakes for [Customer] at the cake decorating table. We have also been given permission, in case she does somehow manage to order a cake, to call and cancel her orders. It seems like a small thing, but after many years of customer service with bad, spineless managers, I am very proud to work for this one.)

Booked Yourself Into An Impossible Situation

, , , | Right | March 13, 2019

(I work the front desk at a hotel in a small but popular tourist city. About a fourth of our customers book through online sites which require payment up front and are almost always non-cancellable and non-refundable. While we can add special requests to the reservations — first floor requested, needs a cot, etc. — any changes must be made through the online site — change of date, change of room type, etc. One night I am working and we are sold out. All my check-ins have arrived and I’ve been turning away walk-ins all night. Just after 9:30, a couple walks in dragging a great deal of luggage, something that walk-in clients don’t normally do, and when they come to the front desk holding out a printed reservation confirmation I know things aren’t going to go smoothly.)

Me: “Hello! Welcome to [Hotel]. Do you all have a reservation tonight?”

Customer #1: “Yes, we do! And we can’t wait to get in; we’ve been driving for nine hours. The name is [Customer #1].”

(I look her up in my arrivals list, but not only is she not there but, as I mentioned already, all my guests have arrived.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but I don’t seem to have a reservation for you tonight, and unfortunately, we are fully booked.”

Customer #1: “No… I have my reservation confirmation right here.”

(She hands me her printed confirmation and I see that she is booked for this day NEXT MONTH. I check the system for upcoming reservations and, sure enough, hers pops up for that date.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’m terribly sorry, but your reservation if for this date next month.”

Customer #1: *feigning surprise* “Whaaat? How could that be? I’m sure I chose tonight’s date…”

(I look at the date the reservation was made; it was booked last night, long after we sold out for the weekend and closed down the room sales for online sites. I know at this point that she booked whatever date came up available and just figured we would check her in when she got here. Were not been sold out, I might have been able to help her, but this simply isn’t an option tonight.)

Me: “Well, I am sympathetic to your situation, but all of my rooms are sold for the next three days, and there are people currently in each of our rooms, so I have literally no wiggle room here.”

Customer #2: *the husband or boyfriend* “I can’t believe this; we’ve been driving for nine hours to get here and we have to be up early for a wedding. Do you have an out of order room or a dirty room or something we could just crash in?”

Me: “Sadly, no, but I wouldn’t be able to give you an out of order room even if there was one. I could lose my job.”

Customer #1: “I can’t believe you messed up our reservation like this! How do you intend to compensate us?”

Customer #2: “Babe, don’t worry about it. Look, I’m sure we can find another hotel nearby.”

Me: “Actually, sir, every hotel in the area is sold out. The closest hotel with vacancies is in [City], which is about four hours from here.”

Customer #1: “Are you serious?! I’m not driving another four hours because you people screwed up!”

Customer #2: “Babe, stop this…”

Me: “Look, how about I call [Website] for you to see if there is anything they can do?”

Customer: “Oh, do you guys have a special hotel number to call for hotel staff?”

Me: “Yes, we do. They may have to speak with you, just the same, but they usually answer quicker than on the customer line.”

Customer #1: “Oh, good, because when we tried to call to change the date nobody answered… uh, I mean…”

Me: “So, you were aware that your reservation wasn’t for today and you drove out here, anyway?”

Customer #1: “Oh, for goodness’ sake, just get us a room! It’s not my fault your website wasn’t working. I tried booking for today, but it wouldn’t let me! I had to keep changing the date until it worked! Your website was broken or something, and that’s not my fault!”

Me: “Ma’am, you couldn’t book for those dates because we were sold out. There were no more rooms to sell. If you booked for [date], then your reservation will be for that date, not any other night.”

(She starts crying and screaming at me, but the husband/boyfriend gets her to quiet down in under a minute and they go outside to their truck. A few minutes later the guy comes in alone.)

Customer #2: “Hey. Um, first of all, I wanted to apologize for her. This is actually the third time she’s done this, and the last two times they were able to get the date changed and check us in. I don’t think she fully understands how this business works.”

Me: “I understand. I’m really sorry there isn’t anything I can do, but you’re welcome to stay in the parking lot overnight, and you are free to use our guest bathroom overnight and the pool shower to freshen up in the morning.”

Customer #2: “I appreciate that, but we’re just going to head back home, I think. I simply can’t handle her public outbursts and crying. She is nearly thirty years old and yet acts like a spoiled child who always has to get her own way, you know? It’s gotten to the point that I don’t like taking her out in public because I know I’m probably going to have to come back in and apologize like I’m doing right now. I think it’s time to end things and move on. Thanks for your patience!”

(He then calmly shook my hand and walked out. I couldn’t believe he’d divulged so much personal information to a complete stranger, but I figured he must have been at his breaking point and just needed to talk. What an unusual night for me.)

A Loose Connection

, , , , , , | Working | March 12, 2019

Growing up with divorced parents, once a month my mom would pack us up for the eight-hour drive to visit my dad and brother for the weekend. One time, we were roughly halfway through our trip when her engine suddenly died in the middle of nowhere. We were fortunate enough that this happened on a section of the canyon road that actually had a shoulder wide enough to pull out on, and that she had enough momentum to reach it before we came to a halt. Being in the age before cell phones — and even today, that area is probably still out of range of the nearest tower — she put on her hazard lights and we proceeded to wait… and wait… and wait…

Around four hours later, someone pulled over to ask if we needed help, and she asked him to call her a tow truck when he reached the next town. Two hours later, we were finally back on our way, and an hour after that we dropped off the car and check in to a hotel.

The next morning my dad picked us up and the car was left at the mechanic for them to fix for our return trip the next day. They inspected it and informed her that the problem was a very simple fix; there was a loose connection that had come free during the drive. Mom thanked them, paid, drove us home, and immediately went to the mechanic who had checked out her car two days before her drive to demand an explanation.

It turned out that one of his employees was in the process of opening a shop of his own, and had deliberately loosened that connection — as well as sabotaged other customer’s cars — in an effort to discredit his employer and drive their business to him.

I have no idea what happened to that guy, but the boss gave my mom several hundred dollars of free maintenance on her car to make up for everything.

About To Get Charged With Battery, Part 8

, , , , | Right | March 12, 2019

(I’m the manager in this story. A coworker has answered the phone and has referred the call to me as it is a complaint.)

Caller: “I hope you can do something; that other girl was useless!”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear. How can I help?”

Caller: “I bought a coffee and when I got home, I found a button battery in the bottom of the cup! I demand free coffees for life! I could have been killed! Imagine if a child had drunk the coffee; they’d be dead! You’re lucky I don’t sue!”

Me: *confused, as there are no batteries in our store, let alone one that could have slipped into her coffee* “A button battery in your coffee? Can you tell me how you found the battery?”

Caller: “I purchased a coffee from your store, took it home, and reheated it, and when I drank it, there was a button battery in the bottom. I could have died! All I’m asking is free coffee forever; it’s not too much to ask considering I could have been killed!”

Me: “Sorry… How did you reheat your coffee?”

Caller: “Why does that matter? I used the microwave. I COULD HAVE DIED AND YOU’RE NOT WORRIED AT ALL!”

Me: “Excuse me, ma’am. There’s no possible way the battery was in your cup when you bought it.”

Caller: “Are you calling me a liar? I’m going to have you fired! I could have died!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, I am calling you a liar.”


Me: “Have a nice day, ma’am.”

Coworker: “How are you so sure she’s lying?”

Me: “If she’d put a battery in the microwave, it would have exploded. There’s no way she drank a coffee and found a battery at the bottom!”

(I called head office myself to let them know to expect a crazy woman trying to scam free coffee.)

About To Get Charged With Battery, Part 7
About To Get Charged With Battery, Part 6
About To Get Charged With Battery, Part 5

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