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Buying Off Your Customers… Sort Of…

, , , , , | Working | February 13, 2023

I decided to leave my bank and go to a new one. They had been doing a lot of things I didn’t like, but the final thing that prompted me to change was a stupid thing: they’d ditched a logo that I loved. It’s petty, but it was the straw that finally pushed me to do it.

The bank I’d chosen to move to looked like everything I wanted. I signed the paperwork so they could legally take over and transfer my accounts without me having to do a bunch of in-person changes at my old bank. The biggest, most important fact in this all is that, despite the old bank trying every year, I had never taken a credit card out with them, or a loan, or even an overdraft, so they didn’t generally make money from me beyond standard account fees. I remain bad at confrontation, as well, or this call would have ended much sooner.

The old bank called, and I answered.

Me: “Hi, [My Name] speaking.”

Representative: “Hello, [My Name]! This is [Representative] from [Old Bank].”

Me: “Hello, [Representative]. What’s going on?”

Representative: “We have just had a request from [New Bank] to transfer your account and wanted to make sure this was correct.”

Me: “Ah, yes. That is correct. You should have the paperwork from them with my ID and signature.”

Representative: “Oh, yes, but I would like to see if you would stay with [Old Bank].”

Me: “I beg your pardon?” *Pauses* “Are the transfer papers not clear? I am going to [New Bank].”

Representative: “What if I offered you $2,000?”

Me: *Slight pause* “$2,000?”

Representative: “Yes, a $2,000 credit.”

Me: “A credit, as in an amount I would have to pay back?”

Representative: “Not right away, but you see, you could get so many things right away with that and not have to worry.”

Me: “Hang on. Are we talking $2,000 as in cash that would be mine, no strings attached, or $2,000 as credit I would have to pay back?”

Representative: “Credit! I could even get it as high as $4,000. What do you think? Would you like to stay with [Old Bank]? Haven’t we been good to you over the years?”

Me: *Pauses again* “You can see my account history, yes?”

The representative makes a noncommittal noise.

Me: “Can you note how many times I have asked you all to stop sending me credit card offers? How many times I’ve turned down overdraft offers? Offers to upgrade my account to where I would have to pay you more for no benefit to me? And you think, at this point, I would accept credit on my account to stay?”

Representative: “But it’s $4,000.”

Me: “Of credit that I have explicitly told you not to offer me.”

Representative: “But haven’t we been good to you?”

Me: “I am going to [New Bank], and that is final.”

Representative: “But we could give you cre—”

I cut him off by hanging up the phone and never got called by the retention team again. Somehow, I think they were losing a lot of people with this strange final straw.

My new bank has never attempted to sign me up for a credit card, and when I finally did decide to get an overdraft for various reasons, they made sure it was for an amount I was happy with and had no fees associated. I am very happy with my new bank.

To this day, that retention call still makes me feel grumpy about how hard they once again tried to push me into credit I didn’t want.

A Price That Will Forever Be Memorialized

, , , , | Right | February 13, 2023

I was doing random transportation jobs on Craigslist back in 2014.

Customer: “Hi. I need my two-story house moved on Memorial Day weekend. I have three couches and three bedrooms worth of furniture, and I need the kitchen emptied.”

Me: “Are you sure you want to be moved on that weekend? The price will be really high.”

Customer:Yes! That’s the only weekend I have off!”

Me: “I’ll definitely need someone to help me move all of that, and I’ll need a lot bigger truck than the one I’m using. You’re looking at a minimum of $500 if not more.”

Customer: “Wow, really? I can rent a truck myself and save myself half of that!”

Go ahead and do that.

Legal Tender Defender

, , , , , , | Right | February 11, 2023

It’s the day after Queen Elizabeth II dies, and Charles III is now the King.

A woman comes to my till wanting to pay by card. She asks for £10 cash back, which I give to her in the form of a £10 note, and she leaves.

Just as I am about to start serving the next customer, she comes marching back in and slams the note on my till.

Customer: “Excuse me! Why have you given me money that’s not legal anymore?”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Customer: “This note isn’t legal anymore! Why are you still handing them out?”

I study the note.

Me: “It looks fine to me, madam.”

Customer: “It has the Queen on it, and she’s dead, so this money isn’t legal anymore!”

Coins in the UK, and banknotes in England and Wales, have a picture of the Queen on them. New designs featuring the King will probably come in in the next couple of years or so, but all money with her image on it in circulation when she died remains legal tender and will do for quite some time.

I try explaining this to the customer, but she’s not having it.

Customer: “Get me a new note, right now!”

Me: “With the King on it?”

Customer: “Yes!”

Me: “…that won’t be ready for a couple of years, madam. Charles has only been King for a day; they won’t have money with him on it for quite a while. This money is still absolutely fine and you can spend it anywhere.”

Customer: “If I can’t spend this somewhere, I’m coming straight back!”

She stormed out. Thankfully, we never saw her again!

Aww, Your First College Lesson!

, , , , , , | Learning | February 11, 2023

I’m an administrative assistant for a school within a large university. I mainly work under the associate dean of the college and answer her phone line when she isn’t here or is busy.

We’re coming up on deadlines for applications, and we’ve had a ton of fee waiver requests since the fee is a little steep at $90.

Me: “Good morning, [School].”

Student: “Hi, I’m applying there and haven’t submitted my application yet because I’m waiting for a fee waiver. Is it still possible to get one?”

At this point in the admissions cycle, 99% of the fee waiver codes have been given out and we’re saving a handful for special cases. I completely understand why some applicants can’t afford the fee, but there’s nothing I can do about it as a lowly assistant.

Me: “I’m so sorry, but all of the fee waivers have been given out at this point. Can I help you with anything else?”

Student: *Dejectedly* “No… I guess not.”

Me: “All right, then. Have a nice day.”

Two seconds later, the dean’s line starts ringing. I clock instantly that it’s the same number that just called the general line. Eyebrow raised, I answer.

Me: “Good morning, [School].”

Student: *Click*

I suppose he was trying to get around me to someone higher up, but he could have just asked for me to transfer him.

A Zero From A Couple Of Big Old Number Twos

, , , | Right | February 10, 2023

I did a brief five-week stint as a server at a steakhouse. The procedure was for the hostess or host to inform us whenever we had anyone new seated in our section.

Late one night, long after our normal dinner rush and maybe an hour before closing, I was walking around between the front and back of house, cleaning this and that, when seemingly out of the blue a guest grabbed me by the arm.

He was at a table with another guest in my section. My host had not informed me that there was anyone seated in my section recently.

Guest: “Hey, can we get some drinks? We’ve been sitting here for five minutes already.”

I tried to conceal my surprise at suddenly having new guests.

Me: “Absolutely, sir! What can I get you?”

He and his friend ordered. I got their drinks and their food, and then I checked in with them shortly after serving their meals.

Me: “How is everything, gentlemen?”

Guest: “This chicken is incredibly dry!”

Me: “I’m terribly sorry, sir. Would you like me to have the kitchen remake it for you?”

Guest: “No, no. I’ll just eat it.”

Eventually, they finished their meals with no further incident, and I delivered their check. They paid by card, and I left them with the receipt to sign.

When I came back after they left to collect the receipt, the tip line read a great big fat zero. It was a zero that looked like it had been circled over itself many times, and it was in a different enough handwriting style from the rest of the guest’s writing on the receipt that it was very clearly meant as a giant middle finger to me — even though I had nothing to do with not being informed when they were initially sat in my section NOR did I personally cook the food the one guest thought was so unacceptable.