Bad Customers Are A Sign Of The End Times

, , , , , , | Right | July 8, 2019

(I work in a relatively pricey restaurant popular with foreigners and expats. We are a street-level venue in a very tall building with a five-star hotel occupying the top floors. I am serving a regular woman who is well-known among the staff for being demanding.)

Customer: “Yes, I will have my usual lunch plate, with—“

(Suddenly, the whole room starts shaking. Manila is being rocked by what I will later discover is a 7.1 earthquake. Earthquakes aren’t entirely uncommon in The Philippines, but this is the strongest Manila has had in a long while. The lights are shaking, some people are screaming, and some plates and cutlery fall to the ground, some smashing. Astonishingly, while I am holding on to the table to stop from falling over, this customer is continuing her order as if nothing is happening.)

Customer: “—with orange juice, and an extra side of ham.”

(She notices my blank look.)

Customer: “Well? Aren’t you going to get my order?”

Me: “Ma’am, we are experiencing a severe earthquake! In these circumstances, we will have to evacuate the building.”

(The customer looks around with disinterest and only then seems to notice the ensuing chaos. She sniffs.)

Customer: “Hmm, yes. Anyway, my lunch?”

Me: *noticing that an evacuation of the restaurant has started in earnest* “I’m sorry, ma’am, but we will all have to evacuate the building.”

Customer: “Why?!”

Me: “Because of the earthquake!”

Customer: “Oh, it’ll stop in a minute! Stop fussing.” *shows off her crucifix necklace* “Earthquakes are the last sign of the apocalypse, not the first. Let me know when there’s a great flood, and then you can skip my lunch!”

(At that exact moment, with God-given perfect timing — pun intended — the earthquake has shaken the rooftop infinity pool on the luxury hotel so much that a dramatic amount of the water had cascaded over the side of the building. With what can only be described as a cacophonous splash, we both look outside to see Noah’s Flood in miniature playing out on the street outside while bystanders run away in a panic. I stare pointedly at the woman.)

Customer: “Fine. I’ll take it to go.”

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Some Killa Manila Karma

, , , , | Right | July 3, 2019

(I am in Manila, working tech support for an ISP in the United States. I pick up my next call on the queue.)

Me: *opening spiel* “…How may I help you today?”

Customer: *in an accent I shall refer to politely as a “Southern American English”* “Transfer me to someone in the United States.”

Me: “Are you having connection problems? I can—“

Customer: “Transfer me to someone in the United States.”

Me: “Sir—“

Customer: “I know you’re in the Philippines. Just because you f****** sound like me doesn’t change that. I want to talk to someone in the f******. United. States. I’m sick and tired of dealing with idiots over there in your f****** country.”

(My coworkers have college degrees and are, by no measure, idiots.)

Me: “Sir, are you sure? You want me to transfer you to our technical support department based in the United States?”

Customer: “YES! DO IT!”

Me: “Okay, sir. I’m going to transfer you to tech support down in Texas.”

(I punch in the numbers, but hold off on that last button.)

Me: “Thank you for calling, sir. Transferring you to right now.” *pushes transfer button*

(The tech support department in Texas only supports Spanish-speaking calls.)

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Build Your Yearly Planner Around Her

, , , , | Right | June 5, 2019

(It’s my first day of working as a barista for a popular coffee shop. Every year, around November, there is a promo that if you buy a certain coffee, you get a sticker. If you get enough stickers, you get a year-long planner.)

Me: “Hi! Good to see you again. What’ll be your drink today?”

Girl: “Hiya! Double Venti Java Chip, please, and a grilled ham and three cheeses.”

Me: “Okay! Are you still collecting stickers for the planner?”

Girl: “No, no. But could you please give the sticker to the next person who asks?”

Me: “Sure thing! Could I have your name for the cup?”

Girl: “[Girl].” *spells out her name as I write it*

Me: “All right! Please wait at the bar for your drink!”

(She pays for her drink and the next customer gets her sticker. Later on, when she’s served her food, she takes her tray to a table that’s yet to be cleaned, clears it herself, throwing away the empty plastic cups and paper towels in the proper waste bins, and walks back to the bar to return the tray, filled with a neatly piled stack of plates from the last person who occupied the table.)

Me: “Did you use to work here?”

Girl: “What? Oh, no!” *grins* “I just like doing things for myself. Besides, you’re all always pretty busy.”

(Supervisor comes in.)

Supervisor: “Hi, Miss [Girl]! Good to see you again! How’s your screenplay going?”

Girl: “Oh, hey! Still working on it, like you do. Thanks very much for asking!”

(I asked my supervisor about her because I’d never met anyone so polite! Apparently, this girl has been going to this particular coffee shop for years and she’s been doing this for as long as anyone can remember. She stays for hours at a time, writing things, and sometimes ordering every few hours. I’ve never known anyone so self-sufficient, polite, and kind… especially in this country! I don’t know if you’ll ever see this but you rock, girl!)

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You Give Nothing, You Get Nothing

, , , , , | Right | January 19, 2019

(I work at a call center in the e-Commerce — sales — department for a large American cable company that also provides other services. I am working chat support, which means the work is mostly non-voice, which comes in handy in case one of us has to vent or sound the occasional scream of frustration. While we mostly process customer orders and handle inquiries, we also process transfers of service, in the case of customers moving to another address and wanting to take their service with them. One day I end up with this bizarre chat:)

Me: “Hello! My name is [My Name]! How are you today?”

Customer: “I am moving and want to transfer my service.”

Me: “Thank you for letting me know; I will be more than happy to assist you with that today!”

(Usually, customers with existing service sign in and enter their info as well as the new address, which pops up in a form accompanying the chat. This customer left the form blank, and instead of her name, she only appears as “Guest” in the chatroom, so I need to ask for the missing info in order to pull it up in our system, check the serviceability of the new address, etc.)

Me: “In order for me to be able to assist you today, may I please have your full name, phone number, and your account number, as well as your current address and the complete new address you will be moving to?”

Customer: “No.”

(This is the first time I’ve had this response to what is a fairly standard request, and I get the feeling I’m in for something out of the ordinary. I nudge my coworker, who peeks over to watch the show.)

Me: “I will need to pull up your account, and I also need to check the status of the new address to process the transfer. And we need to request the information for verification purposes, as well, to ensure that the security and privacy of your account are maintained and that only the account holder or authorized users process changes.”

Customer: “STAY OUT OF MY ACCOUNT!”

Me: “I don’t have access to your account. I don’t even have any information to pull the account up with.”

Customer: “LIAR! GET OUT OF MY ACCOUNT NOW!”

Me: *baffled and at a loss at this point* “I understand that you might have some concerns regarding your account’s security, but I don’t have your account up, as I have not been provided with any information I require to pull it up.”

Customer: “YOU JUST KEEP DIGGING YOURSELF IN DEEPER, DON’T YOU? I WANT TO TALK TO A SUPERVISOR NOW!”

(I’ve already let my team-lead know that I have a potential escalation, but our process requires us to at least try to de-escalate the situation before we pass it on to “the higher power,” who in all honesty aren’t able to do much more than the regular agents are.)

Me: “I understand that you would like to speak to a supervisor, but I assure you that I am more than capable of assisting you with your service transfer request, and I would just like to inform you that in order for a transfer to be processed, we will require your full details, which will mean pulling up your account. As no information has been provided, nothing has been pulled up or accessed. May I have the opportunity to try to assist you today?”

Customer: “I WANT TO TRANSFER MY SERVICE MYSELF!”

Me: “I’m afraid that is not possible. You might be able to move the equipment yourself, but the actual transfer of the service, such as cable, phone, and Internet, would need to be processed in our system.”

Customer: “NO! I WANT TO TRANSFER MYSELF! I WANT A SUPERVISOR!”

(I already have a side-chat going with the escalation team and have given them the general details of the situation. They are giving me the green-light for a transfer, but they want me to try one last time to get some kind of personal detail — a name, anything really — that I can pass on to them.)

Me: “I understand. I will be transferring you to my supervisor shortly. Before I do, may I at least have your name to pass on to them?”

Customer: “NO! TRANSFER ME NOW!”

Me: “All right. I am transferring you now; please keep the chat window open.”

(I transferred the customer and let the escalation team know that the customer had refused to provide any info. I later pulled up the chat file to find out how it had gone and found that the customer had provided the name “Jane Doe” after some persistence from the supervisor, and refused to provide any other information. She just kept insisting she would move the service herself before finally terminating the chat. Thankfully, I’ve left the world of call centers and customer service behind for now.)

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The Mother Of All Filipino Time

, , , , , , | Related | September 4, 2018

(My mother is notorious for never being on time. We’ve joked about it countless times, and my father is usually the one who ends up waking her, since she hates being woken up by an alarm. The morning of this conversation, she tells my father that they must leave the house at six am to do a few errands… only to end up leaving at 7:30. That afternoon, she is talking about a trip she will be talking with a friend tomorrow.)

Mother: “…and I will be leaving by six am.”

Me: *pats father on the arm* “Hear that, Dad? She needs to leave by six am.”

Mother: *indignantly* “Hey, I did wake up at six am today!”

Me: “Yes, but did you get out of the bed?”

(Not at the time, no.)

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