A Sign Of Being Bad With Money

, , , , | Right | April 4, 2021

In the days before chip-and-pin, let alone contactless payment, I’m working as counter staff at a major bank in one of our city-centre branches. 

A customer with an account with counter service comes in and wants to withdraw some money over the counter. He’s followed all the rules thus far, and he hands over his card. This is where things go south.

Me: “Sir, this card isn’t signed.”

Customer: “Yes, that’s right. I don’t want other people to be able to use it.”

Me: “Pardon?”

Customer: “Yeah, if I don’t sign it, they can’t copy my signature, and then they can’t pay with it as the signature will be wrong!”

Me: “O… kay, but how will they know it’s wrong without the signature on the card to compare it to?”

Customer: “Because it will not match the one I have on file with [Bank]!”

Me: “Sir, you do realise that we don’t keep your signature on file? That’s not how card security works!”

Customer: “That’s horribly unsafe! Give me my card back!”

Me: “I’ll need to see some ID first.”

Customer: “Why?”

Me: “This could be anyone’s card, since it isn’t signed. I have no way to tell it’s yours.”

Customer: “Here!”

The customer signs his signature on the back of a deposit slip.

Customer: “There, that will match the signature on my file. Look it up on your computer.”

Me: “Sir, again, we don’t have your signature on file. That’s why this is very unsafe and a major fraud risk. I can compare this to the signature on your card, or I can compare your card to any class one ID.”

Customer: “Just look it up on your computer.”

Me: “Sir, I don’t know how else to explain this to you. It doesn’t work that way. Banks, shops, anyone really, will only ever compare your signature to the one on your card. Doesn’t matter where you go or who you bank with. If you don’t sign the card, anyone can find it, sign it, and then freely use it without being questioned.”

Customer: “Well, that’s not right!”

The customer pulls out a driving licence. Thankfully, it’s a newer photo-ID one.

Me: “Very well, sir, here is your card. I can’t do anything with it, though, unless you sign it!”

The customer signs his card and we complete his transactions. On his way out, he evidently wants the last word.

Customer: “I’m going to complain about this! I can’t believe how insecure this is!”

After he stormed out, my supervisor popped her head over and commended my remaining calm. Seems some people are just idiots!

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The Fates Aligned To Bring You Dinner Twice

, , , , , | Working | December 2, 2020

It’s a Tuesday night and my husband and I don’t feel like cooking, so we order fish and chips for delivery from a local place via a well-known app. We pay on the app as normal and get a delivery estimate for around an hour’s time.

About fifteen minutes before our delivery estimate, a car pulls up and a delivery driver with a bag of food knocks on our door, hands my husband the bag, and asks for cash payment.

Husband: “But… we paid on the app.”

There have been some power cuts in the local area. Our house has been mostly unaffected, apart from some flickering lights but social media has been awash with people complaining of having no power at all, so it doesn’t seem unusual when the delivery driver explains.

Driver: “Actually, the app’s payment system is down because of the power cuts, so you’ll have to pay in cash. But don’t worry; in the event that you are double-charged, you can simply come down to the shop and we’ll refund us the cash.”

He even hands us the delivery note with our order details and the price to pay so we’ll have something in the way of evidence if we need it. It doesn’t occur to us to check the items on the receipt, as the price sounds about right, so we pay the cash and take the food inside, looking forward to our cheeky mid-week treat.

As we begin to unpack the food, it becomes clear that this isn’t our order. Not even close. My husband jumps straight on the phone with the restaurant to explain that our order must have been mixed up and we’ve received someone else’s food. I only hear one side of the conversation, but it’s clear that there’s a lot of confusion while the restaurant and my husband try to figure out what’s gone wrong and where our food is.

It’s then that I start looking at the food we’ve received, along with the bill the delivery driver handed us, and I’m pretty sure some of this food isn’t even on the menu of the place we ordered from. From what I can glean from my husband’s side of the phone conversation, it sounds like they haven’t even sent our order yet so the restaurant can’t understand what food we’ve received.

I start looking through the bags and the receipt to find anything that confirms the name of the restaurant this food has come from, but there is nothing. I whisper my suspicions to my husband, but he seems to have reached the same conclusion as me; this food hasn’t come from the place we’ve actually ordered from. He makes his apologies and hangs up with the restaurant.

It then dawns on us that we’ve been victims of the strangest series of coincidences we’ve ever experienced: on a day and time when we so happen to be expecting a food delivery, a completely separate fish and chip shop mistakenly writes our address on a food order made by someone else, where the bill came to roughly the same amount as what we’d ordered, at a time when there was a plausible explanation as to why online payments were failing.

Our actual takeaway arrived around twenty minutes later — exactly as we’d ordered it — and we ate it in confusion surrounded by food that we didn’t order, and didn’t want, but had still somehow paid for, with no way of knowing where it had come from so we could ask for our money back!

We tried for a while cross-checking the items on the receipt with other restaurants on the app but couldn’t find anywhere with the same menu items at the same prices as what we’d received ,and the few plausible restaurants that we called up denied any such order. Reaching out to the app’s customer service was futile, too, since we’d paid in cash, had no order number, and couldn’t even tell them what restaurant had sent the food! We’ve since written off the extra money we spent on our second, unwanted takeaway that night, but at least we’ve got a great, albeit confusing, story to tell!

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Pistachi-oh Boy

, , , , | Right | October 25, 2020

Customer: “Is pistachio ice cream just mint chocolate chip but without the chocolate chips?”

Me: “No… then it would just be called mint.”

Customer: “Oh. And what’s a fudge stick?”

Me: “A stick of fudge.”

Even after several years working in customer service, I’m still not sure it is possible to answer questions this stupid without sounding patronising and/or sarcastic. Pointers much appreciated!

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You Could Try Being Patient For A Change

, , , , , | Right | September 24, 2020

I work at a fast food restaurant. We have been open for five minutes, and we often don’t have £5 or £10 notes early in the mornings. A customer comes by and orders a small item for her grandson. She’s really rude through the whole transaction, belittling me and just being all-round unpleasant. Finally, she gives me a £20 note for a £3 item.

Me: “I’m really sorry. Do you have anything smaller?” 

Customer: *Rolls eyes* “How do you not have change when you just opened?”

Me: “I’m sorry. I do have change for it; it’s just going to have to be in pound coins if that’s okay with you.”

Customer: “No, that’s not okay! That’s ridiculous; you just opened! How do you not have change?!”

Me: “I’m really sorry. They don’t give us those notes when we open; it’s just something we accumulate through the day. I can see if I can exchange some change for it if you’d like?”

Customer: “No! That’s ridiculous! I just want my order! Give me my change in notes and my order!”

Me: “I’m really sorry, but I don’t have notes. It’ll have to be in change.”

Customer: “Fine! But this is a joke! I shouldn’t have to deal with this!”

She throws the note down, and I count her change and hand it to her. I grab her order and put it in a bag instead of on a tray, as it’s only a single item and we run out of trays quickly.

Customer: “Why have you given me a bag? I’m not taking out; I’m eating in!”

Me: “Sorry, I can get you a tray. We don’t usually give trays for smaller items, but I’ll grab you one.”

Customer: “No! I’ll take the bag. This is ridiculous!”

I just give her a slight smile and ignore her, as I don’t trust that I won’t say something nasty to her, and wait for her to walk away.

Customer: “Well? Aren’t you going to thank me?”

Me: “Well, what the F*** do I have to thank you for?!”

Needless to say, she walked off and I was so satisfied. She never reported me. My manager only found out a week later and agreed that the customer was an a**.

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Gotta Be Frank: Don’t Be A Frank

, , , , , , | Working | June 22, 2020

I’m a manager in a call centre. Every manager here started off at the bottom of the company and has worked their way up, earning their position through experience. I’ve been with the company for over thirteen years and have been a senior manager for a good ten years

I deal with training and compliance. Staff are spot-checked for legal compliance every day. Staff who are not performing well are, at the same time, also checked for what they’re doing wrong, so we can train them and point their efforts in the right direction.

A couple of summers ago, we had a chap working for us who I will call “Frank.” He was from the near-east and spoke with a unique accent due to a mixed heritage. He had done similar work elsewhere and evidently thought he knew better than the people training him.

We occasionally see that a significant minority of people from that part of the world have difficulty following instructions from certain groups, such as women and anyone younger than they are. I’m cis-male and a little older than Frank, but I’m baby-faced and most people often estimate my age at five to ten years younger than I really am. Beverly, the other trainer, was definitely older, but a woman.

Whenever I would train Frank, he would explain to me that I was wrong, what I had said wouldn’t work, and he would do it his own way with his experience. He would then get back on the phone and continue doing everything his way, continuing to underperform.

Beverly was semi-retired, so after a week of this nonsense, I asked her to try and get through on her next availability. Frank had the same response to her training.

We decided that we would try a different form of training; we would let him listen to call recordings of his own work and provide a critique of that work, so he could see how and why it wasn’t working for him. He continued to say we were wrong, and then he’d go and do it his own way.

Eventually, his poor performance lead to a management review of his contract. He was still in his probationary period, and he was not working out. Beverley, his line manager, the head of HR, and I all agreed that Frank must go.

The head of HR and I called Frank into a side office and broke the bad news that we were going to part company. Frank exploded at us!

“Why am I being let go?”

“Frank, your performance is terrible,” [HR Head] explained. “You’re just not getting what you need to do in this job.”

“But you haven’t trained me!” Frank protested. “You should at least listen to my calls and tell me what I’m doing wrong!”

[HR Head] stifled a laugh. “What do you think that [My Name] has been doing these last two weeks? That’s exactly what he’s done!”

Frank insisted, deadly serious, “No, that’s not right.”

[HR Head] and I broke down laughing at how ridiculous this was.

“What?” said Frank.

“Frank, if you can’t see the problem here, you’re way outside someone we can ever train to do this,” I told him.

Frank just spat, “F*** you guys! You’re just taking the piss!”

And he stormed out of the building and out of our lives forever. Crazy!

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