Making Them Mad(rid)

, , , , , | Legal | December 28, 2019

(I rejoin a website that is for language learners. I have a couple of people say hello. One introduces himself as the head of a large bank in Dubai. My profile indicates that I am fluent in English and learning Spanish. His says he’s fluent in Arabic and is learning Turkish. His profile picture reveals that he’s a whiter shade of pale than even I am. On a whim, I do a Google search for his name and the bank. He turns up in every legitimate place a man in his position would be in: LinkedIn, Facebook, the list of the directors for the named bank, and high-profile interviews in business magazines. But I already know what’s coming even before I find the website describing a scam where someone claims to be him. I’m ready when this line comes through:)

Scammer: “Bien. Tengo una propuesta de negocios para usted que será de gran beneficio para nuestras dos familias, ¿qué dice?” *Good. I have a business proposal for you that will be of great benefit to our two families. What do you say?*

(Before his text arrives at my computer, I have already visited a gibberish website and pasted in a few paragraphs from a Spanish business news website and generated some Spanish gibberish:)

Me: “Casa de trabajo hasta la residencia de la jornada, añadieron las Palmeras, saludando a quienes estaban allí, y para iniciar sus actividades se irán conociendo el aire acondicionado de su domicilio en el titular de la madrugada de hoy y, en una agenda de hoy no finalizaron.” *Work house until the residence of the day, added the Palmeras, greeting those who were there, and to begin their activities they will know the air conditioning of their home in the holder of the early hours of today and, in an agenda today they finished.*

(He launches into his whole spiel after that. It’s the old Nigerian banking scam in a different guise. After he gets a few more garbage lines from me, he doesn’t reply.)

Me: “Estas allí?” *Are you there?*

(Yup. Gone. I can’t stop them, but I can have fun making them miserable.)

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Going Forward She Will Be All Sixes And Sevens  

, , , , , | Right | December 28, 2019

(I work at a popular tourist attraction in the UK. In order to visit, you need to have a membership that is paid annually. Children under six do not need a membership and get in for free, but once they reach six years old they are added on to their parent’s membership which increases the cost by about 25%. A family has just come in with a young girl. I check their membership and see that only the two adults are on the membership, not the child. As per policy, I need to ask if the child is old enough.)

Me: “Hello, sweetheart! And how old are you, then?”

Young Girl: “I’m five years old!” *holds up her hand to display five fingers*

Me: “Okay, that’s great! If you guys want to—”

(She turns to her dad with the proudest expression on her face.)

Young Girl: “I did it, Daddy! I told the lady I was five and not six like I am! Do I get an ice cream now?”

(I have never seen anyone look so embarrassed in my life as those parents. The whole thing amused me so much that I let the girl in for free, anyway, but I left a note on their membership account for next time they visit that the little girl needs to be added and paid for.)

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I’d Like The Scammer’s Rate, Please

, , , | Right | December 27, 2019

(I work at a hotel, and it is our quiet season. A guest calls down at 2:00 am.)

Guest: “Excuse me. There are people talking in the hallway and they’re keeping me up! I demand you give me a discount!”

(I check the floors above and below and notice that she is literally the only guest checked in within four floors.)

Me: “Oh, dear! It seems that you’re the only one on your floor… This is concerning. *gasp* “I wonder if we have ghosts!”

Guest: “Oh! No! I’m sorry, I must have been mistaken. Goodnight.” *click* 

(I love when people try to scam us. You agreed to a rate, you pay said rate.)

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That Fourth French House Isn’t Going To Pay For Itself

, , , , , , | Working | December 27, 2019

I’m a lab technician and at lunch, we tend to cluster together in the 500+ people cafeteria. Sometimes we are joined by other people, though. This guy was a sales manager for a foreign division, a semi-bigshot if you like.

He was telling a story about how he had to travel to a convention for work. For this kind of thing, people can reclaim travel expenses, about two euros per ten kilometers traveled. He had submitted an expense form for 150km, but the company had only refunded 120km worth of expenses, since that was the distance from the company to the convention. He argued that since he didn’t start traveling from the company but from his home he should get the full distance refunded. This went back and forth between higher management, HR, finance, etc. In the end, he got the full refund.

He concluded his story by saying that they should have given in from the start instead of wasting everyone’s time and by extension so much more money than if they had given him those few euros extra from the start.

Personally, I was baffled that if he cared so much for the company that he would fight everyone tooth and nail for those few euros, surely he was as much the cause of that waste of money as everyone else involved. But mostly, I could only feel loathing instead of sympathy, since the day before he had bragged how creative bookkeeping had enabled him to get enough money out of his divorce to buy a third house in France; that is, he didn’t own three houses in total now, but three houses in France alone! Clearly he was in dire need to get those travel expenses refunded.

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Christmas Is Cancelled, Just Like Your Card

, , , , , | Right | December 24, 2019

(I work in the security department for a credit card company. When a customer receives a new card it is blocked to all transactions until they call to activate it. This call happens about 10:00 pm on Christmas Eve.)

Me: “Good evening. Security department, [My Name] speaking. How can I help?”

Caller: “Hi. I got a new card and it’s not working. I spoke to someone earlier and they said they’d activate it but it’s still not working. I’ve tried using it a few times and it keeps declining.”

Me: “I’m very sorry about that. May I take your card number and [security details] to verify the account?”

Caller: “Yeah, it’s [details].”

Me: “Thank you. I’ve checked the notes on the account and we just need you to send some additional information to us before we can activate the card.”

Caller: “No way. The girl I spoke to earlier said she’d activate the card straight away.”

Me: “I’m afraid I don’t see any notes about any earlier calls. You will need to send the required information before we can activate this card.”

Caller: “That’s not good enough! It’s Christmas f****** Eve and I’ve brought my whole family out to dinner. I said I’d pay and now my card isn’t working. What am I supposed to f****** do?”

Me: “Do you have any other cards you can pay with or do any members of your family have cards or cash on them?”

Caller: “No! I have no other cards and no cash, and because I said I’d pay none of my family have any money with them. Do you have any idea how f****** embarrassing this is? Activate the card now!”

Me: “I suggest you speak to the restaurant to see if they can arrange something or see if you can call someone who can bring cash to you. As I’ve already said, I cannot activate this card tonight. You will need to send in the required information first.”

(The call goes round in circles for the next ten minutes as the customer gets angrier. Eventually, I end the call.)

Coworker: “Man, I could hear him screaming at you from here. How did you stay so calm and polite?”

Me: “He’s in a restaurant with his whole family and not one of them have cash or cards on them? That seems unlikely, so I looked at the transaction history. He said he’s trying to use the card, but if he tried to use it that would show as a declined transaction on the system. There are absolutely no transactions — nothing. He’s lying. It’s easy to stay calm when I know the customer is in the wrong and just trying to fluster me!”

(Sure enough, when I checked the account after Christmas, it had been closed as a fraudulent application.)

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