Trying Not To Be Too Negative About This

, , , , | Right | February 4, 2019

(I work for a large credit union at a call center and I speak to some pretty… simple people during the course of my day. Some are worse than others. We also have a type of overdraft protection that can be signed up for, where our members are allowed to go into the negative on their account by up to $500. This particular member, a woman in her 50s, has that service.)

Me: “Hello! Thank you for calling [Credit Union]. My name is [My Name]. How may I assist you today?”

Member: “I need to know my balance.”

Me: “Absolutely, I’ll be happy to help with that.” *goes over the info and pulls up her account* “I see that your balance right now is negative $465.76.”

Member: “That’s not right! I just deposited $500 at the bank.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, but before that, you were maxed out on your overdraft at negative $500. When you paid that back by making your deposit, that made your balance zero. Since that deposit earlier yesterday, you’ve done a purchase at [Store] for $25.76 and an ATM withdrawal of $400. After your purchases, you were at negative $425.76, and for each transaction, you received one $20 overdraft fee, per our overdraft policy, which made your account negative $465.76.”

Member: “I still just don’t understand. I should be in the positive; I just made a deposit into this account!”

Me: “Do you remember making a purchase at [Store] and the ATM withdraw?”

Member: “Yes, that was me.”

Me: “And you did those before or after your deposit at the branch?”

Member: “After, ’cause I didn’t have any money in the bank before.”

Me: “Okay, so, prior to your deposit you had negative $500. The last transaction before that, you wrote out a check for $480, which made your account negative, plus the $20 overdraft fee.”

Member: “Yes, that’s right; that was my rent.”

Me: “Great, so, you wrote your check and your account became negative $500. You made a $500 deposit, which made your balance zero. You made an ATM withdrawal and you made a Store] purchase, drawing your account back into the negative.”

Member: “I just still don’t understand.”

Adult Son: *in the background* “MOM. STOP. BEING. STUPID.”

Me: *trying not to grin* “Ma’am, why do you believe you this balance is incorrect?”

Member: “Well, I just made a deposit the other day!”

Adult Son: “Oh, my God, MOM! STOP BEING SO DUMB!”

Member: “I just don’t get it!”

Me: “Ma’am, I don’t know how else to explain it to you except this: negative $500 plus $500 equals zero. Yes, you made a deposit, but it didn’t give you a positive balance. Then you made purchases off your account, which made you negative again. These are all correct purchases, per you, so the balance is correct.”

Member: “I’m just going to have to go into a bank because I still just don’t understand. That balance isn’t right!”

Adult Son: “Mom! Negative $5 plus $5 equals zero! She’s right and you just aren’t listening!”

Member: “I’m still not sure about this.”

Adult Son & I: *sigh*

(Once I was finished with that call, I let my team know that I had spent fifteen minutes explaining how negative $500 plus $500 equals zero. The newbies didn’t believe that I’d spoke with someone that dumb, but I told them next time I’d just transfer the call to them — for practice!)

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When It Comes To Stupid Decisions They Score A Ten

, , , , , | Right | January 26, 2019

(I was behind the register in the women’s clothing area of a department store. A woman walks up holding a blouse and, with an attitude, says:)

Customer: “This was on a rack with a sign that says it is 40% off. Is it 40% off?”

Me: “Let me see.”

(I take the blouse from her and scan the barcode on the tag.)

Me: *expecting her to be glad to hear the good news* “It says it’s 50% off.”

Customer: *annoyed* “But the sign says it’s 40% off.”

Me: “Well, the computer says it’s 50% off.”

(The customer throws the blouse on the counter next to the cash register, says angrily:)

Customer: “Well, I don’t want it, then!” *storms off*

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When Dyscalculia Attacks!

, , , , , , , | Learning | January 14, 2019

I had a babysitter once who I found out was in the ‘slow’ class and I couldn’t understand why, since she seemed like a normally intelligent kid.

She said it was her math; she just didn’t understand it and could never get it right. I told her to come over after school and I’d tutor her.

I decided to start at the beginning so I could judge where she was, and got out the penny jar to use in demonstrating basic adding and subtracting.

I soon came to realise that she had absolutely no concept of written numbers. She’d see a number and it was just a meaningless squiggle to her. She was trying to memorize them and remember what it meant when you had one squiggle and did something with it with another squiggle. I have never come across this before and have no idea what you’d call it. I’m sure it has a name.

So, we started with the pennies, me showing her that this squiggle meant these many pennies and onward and upward, and it didn’t really take long, once we figured out the problem, to get her all caught up. She graduated high school in a ‘regular’ class with her age mates.

But I CANNOT understand how this child got to grade ten without any of her ‘educators’ figuring this out!

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If You Spend $200 On A Calculator, You’re Not Good With Numbers

, , , , , | Right | January 9, 2019

(I work at a small chain grocery store at the customer service desk. This woman calls in claiming to have been triple-charged, and I tell her to come in the next day with her receipt.)

Customer: “Hi. I spoke to [My Name] on the phone yesterday, and she told me to come in today with my receipt for a refund.”

Me: “Hi! Yes, I was the person you spoke to yesterday. Let’s take a look at your receipt.”

(I look at her receipt, and she has a total written down next to her balance that is $20 less.)

Me: “Ma’am, you got your three free items. You purchased three and got three free. Here, I’ll circle it for you.”

(I circle the free items in red and the paid items in green.)

Customer: “No! You’re wrong! My total should be $82.91 and not $102.91! I was overcharged!”

(I take out my calculator and calculate her total which comes up to her subtotal.)

Me: “Ma’am, your total is correct. You weren’t overcharged. I promise.”

Customer: “No. You’re wrong. I’m going to go home and calculate my total on my husband’s $200 calculator, and if it’s different than what I paid, I’m coming back for a refund.”

(She never came back.)

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I Only Believe 10% Of Whatever I Hear

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

(This customer has bought £55 worth of items. She has a voucher for 10% off which is applied to the entire purchase. She pays and leaves, but comes back not ten minutes later.)

Customer: “Excuse me. You didn’t take 10% off.”

Me: *checks receipt and points* “No, here it is. You only paid £49.50.”

Customer: “How is that 10%?!”

Me: “It… just is.”

Customer: “No, can I get someone else to fix this? Preferably a man who can actually do maths?”

Me: “I don’t know if there are any men in store at the moment, but regardless, I didn’t actually take 10% off myself. The register did when I scanned your voucher.”

(The woman refuses to listen and goes to reception, where the receptionist and manager — both women — try to convince her that the discount is correct. She again refuses to listen. The manager tells her the next man will be coming in around an hour, and the woman literally waits for him at reception.)

Male Colleague: “I have been told you have an issue with your purchase?”

Customer: “Yes, my voucher wasn’t counted — 10% off.”

Male Colleague: *looks at voucher* “No, it has. The original price was £55, and you paid £49.50. That’s 10% off.”

Customer: “That’s good to know. But really, I can’t stand here all day waiting for you! You need a man in store at all times. I’m much too busy! None of your women had the maths to help!” *storms out*

Male Colleague: “Did she actually wait an hour just for me to tell her what her receipt said?”

Me: “Yup!”

Male Colleague: “And you didn’t bother to tell her you had a maths A-level?”

Me: “I figured after she asked for a ‘man’ that she wouldn’t have listened to me, regardless. I probably could’ve invented calculus and she would still be in doubt as to whether 10% of 55 is 5.5.”

Male Colleague: *laughing* “Well, I didn’t even pass maths!”

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