Treating The Whole Industry Like A Game

, , , , | Working | January 10, 2019

(I work in video game publishing as a producer. Part of my job also involves evaluating the pitches we receive, and highlighting any that are particularly noteworthy and worth discussing further. One guy is adamant that he wants to pitch his game to me over a call because he says it’ll give him a chance to really “dive into details.” This is already sort of a red flag; refusing to send us a proper pitch document through the channels makes him sound like a bit of a handful that could be difficult to work with, but I decide to give him the benefit of the doubt and grab a call with him. He describes his game, shows me some VERY simplistic and cheap-looking screens, and, well…)

Me: “I’m sorry, but… honestly, that’s just [Insanely Popular Indie Game]. Literally everything you’ve said just makes it sound like a copy, from the characters to the plot details to the mechanics.”

Caller: *dismissively* “Everything is inspired by something.”

Me: “No, this is literally a copy. Note for note, just with different art and names and wording essentially.”

Caller: “Well… you can see that because you’re a professional, ma’am.”

Me: “No, I can see that because I have eyes. [Caller], it’s clear you put a lot of work into this, but I would urge you to channel that into an original project s—“

Caller: “Listen, listen! You’re thinking too small. People will eat it up, anyway. This sort of thing happens all the time.”

Me: “Not at our company, it doesn’t.”

Caller: “So, do you want to cut me an offer or not?”

Me: “Not!”

(While I was annoyed at having my time wasted, I was also amazed at how brazen he was with this completely transparent rip-off. We have had clones of varying quality pitched to us over the years, all of which we also passed on, but this one really took the cake. The cherry on top; he DID send over more documentation later, regardless, and one of the items on his budget was 50k USD to “clear personal debt and improve focus.” It’s been several years and I haven’t seen hide nor hair of his “work.” Guess other publishers have eyes and integrity, too. Who’da thunk it?)

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The Sinister Six

, , , , | Right | January 10, 2019

(I am the only cashier at closing. Half a dozen elderly women are shopping when I announce over the intercom that we are closing in fifteen minutes. None of them come up to the register. I make the next announcement at five minutes until closing. No one comes up to the register. Sighing, I wait, and at nine pm sharp, I make the final announcement that we are now closed. Of course, this is the moment that all six women came up with their items and form a line. This seems too orchestrated to be a coincidence, which confirms in my mind that they are all friends. One of the women further down the line calls up to me.)

Customer: “Is there someone else who could help to check us out?”

(I stare at her in disbelief. I hold her gaze for a long moment. I shake my head slowly.)

Me: “Not at this time of night. It’s just me.”

(It took a beat, but then the whole line shifted and sighed, resigned. I wonder if their logic was that, if they waited until closing to pay, the employees would be motivated to get them out of the store faster by opening lots of registers to speed up the process. Thankfully, as it sank in that their clever ploy to avoid a long line had failed, I heard no more complaints from the customers. All but one of the register drawers had already been closed down, and the managers on duty were in the back room, counting the change. I knew that my two managers, both tired after shifts that are always longer than the cashiers’, would take about fifteen minutes to get new drawers ready. There was no point calling them for backup, so I dealt with the line on my own in fifteen minutes.)

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Your Accent Doesn’t Change As Quickly As Their Attitude

, , , , , , | Right | January 8, 2019

(I am British, but I have a really odd combination accent because growing up, I lived in places with vastly different dialects — Essex, Hampshire, Norfolk, and I even spent several years living in America, so on top of all those, I have a slight American twang, too. I am very used to people asking where my accent is from. Most are polite and just mildly curious. I am working in a call centre, though, when the following exchange happens.)

Me: “Hi. You’re through to [My Name] at [Company]; how may I help you?”

Customer: “Oh, your accent. Where is this call centre?”

Me: “It’s in Hampshire. I have a mixed accent because I moved around a lot growing up.”

Customer: “Are you South African?”

(This is a common guess; many people I speak to ask this.)

Me: “No, sorry. I’m British; my accent is just a mixture.”

Customer: “You’re lying. Why would you lie about being South African?”

Me: “I’m sorry, madam, I am not South African, but even if I was, it is irrelevant. Now, how can I help you?”

Customer: “I bet you’re foreign. Probably claiming benefits, stealing from taxpayers, and you’ve stolen that job from an honest British worker. You’re f****** scum, you know that? No wonder you won’t admit to being South African!”

Me: “Madam, this is your first warning and only warning. If you continue to use language like that, I will disconnect the call. However, if you will tell me what it is you are calling about, I will be happy to help you.”

Customer: “Oh, f*** off, you b****. I want to speak to a British agent, not some foreigner w***e like you!”

Me: “As previously advised, I am going to terminate the call. Have a nice day, madam.”

(I hang up the call and go and speak to my manager to inform her of the call, just in case. The customer did not even give me a name, so I cannot pull up an account to make a note on. However, as I am talking to my manager, one of my colleagues comes up and says she has a customer on the line demanding a manager, saying that some “foreign worker” called her names, was rude, and swore at her before calling her a b**** and hanging up. Evidently, the same customer called back as soon as I hung up. My manager looks at me and sighs.)

Manager: “Get back on the phones. Don’t worry; I’ll deal with this.”

(A few hours later, my manager asked me to come to her office. She informed me that she had listened to the call and found no issues with my conduct, and applauded me for my patience and tact with this particular customer. She then told me that she had informed the customer that she had listened to the call and found no indication that I had done any of what she’d claimed, but that, in fact, she had been the abusive one, and if she continued to do so, she would be barred from calling us. Then, the customer shouted abuse at her and she was forced to end the call. A few weeks later, we got a big complaint letter from this customer claiming that my manager and I had insulted her, called her several racial slurs, and called her a w***e. She demanded £100k as compensation. She never got it, but for months we kept getting letters. Each time she ramped up the story until eventually she was claiming that we’d made threats of violence against her, her family  — including claims that I, the “South African,” threatened to shoot them all — and that we threatened to add — in her exact words — a “£1000 b**** charge,” which I personally thought was hilarious. She also threatened to report us to the police, to tell the energy watchdogs about our “conduct’,” and to tell the papers about how our company hired and protected “South African terrorists.”)

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The Wicked Witch Of The West Needs Some Foundation

, , , , , | Right | January 6, 2019

(I am a regular at a cosmetics store which prides itself on being environmentally friendly and safe to animals. It has a devoted consumer base, but occasionally one would read something online which challenged these ideals, and being totally naive, completely believe it. I am in the store being served when another regular comes in.)

Employee: “Hello, [Customer]! Nice to see you again. What can we do for you?”

Customer: “I want something a little tougher on my skin, as it has been more oily lately.”

(The employee offers for her to try a product and motions for her to stand next to a basin they use to demonstrate products. The woman does as instructed, but when the employee turns to actually get the product she submerges her entire head into the basin and lifts it out immediately after, screaming.)

Customer: “MY FACE, MY BEAUTIFUL FACE! YOU’VE BURNED ME WITH YOUR CHEMICALS! I CAN’T SEE! OH, MY FACE!”

(She staggers around the shop, swinging her arms around wildly. She collides with just about everyone and probably destroys about half the displays. She finally crumples in a heap, gasping, saying she’ll never see again between breaths. The shop manager comes out.)

Manager: “What’s happened?”

Employee: “I… I don’t know! She said she was burning!”

Manager: “What did she do?”

Me: “She stuck her head in one of the basins. Maybe there was something in it?”

Manager: “But I just filled them up before we opened.”

Employee: “And you’re the first two in. It should just be water!”

(The regular heard all of this, and at the word “water” she stopped screaming, looked around in a daze, stood up, and walked out as if nothing happened. They had to close early to tidy everything up. I went back in a month later and was told the had woman called customer services demanding a refund for a towel she had to buy after she left, to dry herself off.)

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They Broke The Code — Literally

, , | Right | January 6, 2019

(I work for a company that offers digital marketing services, among other things. In order to track the campaign’s performance, we need to add a small piece of code to the client’s website. Most of the time we are able to add this ourselves, but occasionally the client has contracted out their web services and we must get in contact with a third party. Recently, a campaign that was generating huge success has suddenly flat-lined. After hours pouring over the campaign I finally determine that there is a flaw with the code, which was installed by the third-party web company six months ago. Here is my email exchange.)

Me: “Hey, can you guys please re-add [code] to the site? We had it on there before but I’m not sure what happened.”

Contact: “Our service team is unable to add [code] to the site at this time as there is already existing [code] on site. This code was sent to us two months ago, and we updated it as requested. It is not recommended to have multiple [code]s running at the same time but it can be done. Please advise if we are to remove or replace the existing [code].”

Me: “I can’t speak to what to do with the current [code], but ours needs to be re-added as soon as possible. [Client]’s campaign has already experienced a negative because it was removed.”

Client: *cc’d on email* “Oh, yeah, we had them remove [code] to put our marketing intern’s on there. It’s for her final class project. Just add both codes.”

Me: *now exclusively to the client* “Did you know that they had removed our [code] from the site to place your student’s there?”

Client: “Yeah, we didn’t think it would be a huge deal because she’s running her own marketing for us and it’s all the same code.”

(After digging in a bit further, it turns out that not only had they basically sabotaged their own campaign, they were also running digital marketing to compete with their existing digital marketing campaign as a way to get out of their contract with us!)

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