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Universities Are Not Universal

, , , , | Right | December 13, 2021

At the university where I work, we frequently get calls from employers and other universities who need to double-check if someone has been enrolled at our institution. Normally, they are pretty easy calls, but this one is not.

Caller: “Hello, I am calling from [Background Check Agency] to verify if an applicant attended your university.”

Me: “I would be happy to help! What are the student’s first and last name and date of birth?”

I find only one student with that first and last name. I confirm the spelling is accurate, but the date of birth we have is slightly different — think 1/18/1995 versus 2/18/1994. The email address and phone number he gives me also match what we have in our system, so I figure there must have been some kind of typo with the date of birth.

Me: “I think I have the correct student, but the date of birth is different. What is the degree she said she has?”

Caller: “The student says she earned a BA in Illustration in 2018. Is this correct?”

Me: “We do not offer that kind of degree. I see here that the student took an art class through us in high school for college credit in 2015, but that’s it. It’s possible the student earned her BA at another school, but we have no way to verify that on our end.”

Caller: “I see. And just to confirm, you are [Art University]?”

Me: “No, we are [My University.]”

Caller: “Oh. Are those different schools?”

I then had to explain to a grown man why I could not pull up the records of a student who attended a different university than mine and that he would need to call them instead. He was polite about it, but I’m still baffled by his reaction.

Rude People Can Never See Irony

, , , , | Right | December 6, 2021

I’m at the register at the garden center, being cashed out by the employee working the register. A second employee is working nearby.

A woman comes up behind me and speaks to the cashier.

Customer: “Where is [item]?”

Cashier: *Politely* “I’m in the middle of helping this customer, but I’ll be right with you.”

Uncaring that the cashier is busy helping me, the customer grumbles rather loudly.

Customer: “Or you could just tell me.”

At this point, the employee nearby offered to assist the woman and answer her question. As the woman walked off, the cashier and I could both hear her complaining about how rude the cashier was. The cashier and I exchanged a look, and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at how clueless some people are.

A Cereal Shouter

, , , , | Right | July 7, 2021

I recently started a new job at a grocery store. It’s been very busy as Labor Day is coming up. One customer decided that they didn’t want a box of cereal, which I was fine with, and I simply put it to the side. Several customers later, I get a woman who seems perfectly fine. I knock down the cereal by accident, pick it up, set it onto the bagging area out of the way, mention it to my bagger, and continued scanning. Cue the customer suddenly yelling.

The customer seems like she’s about to cry, waving her hands at the bagger:

Customer: “No! No!”

Bagger: “What’s wrong?”

Customer: “Not mine!” 

The bagger explains that it was a simple mistake, removes the box, and continues bagging.

The customer still yells about how it’s not hers, and both of us try to explain that I never even scanned it. The bagger takes the box to return it, and the woman continues freaking out. 

Customer: *Yelling* “What’s wrong with you?!”

Another customer yells at her:

Other Customer: “What the f*** is wrong with you?!

She calmed down after that, and the rest of the transaction went by smoothly. That one customer is my hero.

God Help You If You Have To Use The Restroom

, , , , , , | Working | June 14, 2021

When I started working at my university as an admission counselor, the role was fulfilling but incredibly stressful. Every second of our day was scheduled by the higher-ups and we had to manually mark our status on the computer. Teams were measured by how closely their statuses aligned with their schedules. I stressed over meeting steep call quotas and enrollment goals. I worked from home one day per week and my supervisor was extremely strict with making sure I kept to my schedule. If my computer went idle when I wasn’t on break, she would message me to make sure I was working.

After eight months in this role, the health crisis hit and we became fully remote. I was living with my parents and sister, so I had to work from the basement, which was the only place I wouldn’t be disturbed while on a call. It was quite cold and lonely down there, which, in addition to the mental distress of living in a global crisis, made the rigidity of my job unbearable. I really liked the university, and the pay and benefits were too incredible to give up, so I began applying for roles in other departments. I was soon offered a position in the registrar.

My new role was absolutely nothing like the old one. I didn’t have to clock in or out, and no one cared how I structured my day. I actually had a meeting with my boss a few weeks ago where she told me someone had reported to her that I had been idle for more than fifteen minutes, and my boss went on a rant about how she doesn’t want her employees to feel like they’re being monitored and she doesn’t care what our schedule looks like so long as we get the work done. It was such a stark contrast to the boss who made me feel like a criminal for taking a couple of extra minutes of break time that I almost started crying on the call. It is really nice to know I now have a supervisor who will stick up for me and actually cares about the work we do, rather than arbitrary bureaucratic restrictions.


This story is part of our Best Of June 2021 roundup!

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There’s No Accounting For This Mixup

, , , , | Working | June 5, 2021

I have two debit cards. [Card #1] is attached to my checking account and [Card #2] is attached to my savings account. In the first week of February, I receive an envelope from my bank with a new debit card, [Card #3]. It ends in the same four digits as [Card #1] but has a different expiration date and security code. I just got [Card #1] a few months ago and it’s nowhere near expiring, so I’m not sure why they sent me a new one. I call the number on the back of the card to get assistance.

Me: “I received a new debit card in the mail, but I never ordered it and my current card isn’t expiring for a few years. I was wondering if maybe you sent this card by mistake?”

Representative #1: “Let me check on that for you… Yes, it appears that you have two cards attached to [Checking Account].”

Me: “Yeah, I only want [Card #1] to be attached to it. I don’t know why they sent me [Card #3].”

Representative #1: “I am so sorry for the confusion. Would you like me to go ahead and cancel [Card #3]?”

Me: “Sure, as long as I’ll still be able to use [Card #1].”

Representative #1: “I’ve cancelled [Card #3] and the debit card you already had should still work fine. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Me: “No, thank you. You’ve been such a big help!”

A week later, I am buying groceries with [Card #1] and it is declined. I try with [Card #2] and it is also declined. Thankfully, I have a credit card for emergencies, so I use that to pay for my groceries. I brush it off as a fluke, but the same thing happens the next day when I go to a cafe. I call the bank as soon as I get home.

Me: “Both my debit cards have been declined when they were working just fine a few days ago. I called last week about a duplicate debit card so that might have had something to do with it?”

Representative #2: “I see what happened. [Representative #1] didn’t see the note on your account that [Card #1] was compromised, which is why we sent you [Card #3]. [Card #1] was automatically cancelled after you received [Card #3], and then she cancelled the new card. You should have gotten a letter saying that [Card #1] had been compromised.”

Me: “I don’t think I got a letter but I could have easily missed it by mistake. So, I have no debit card attached to my checking account?”

Representative #2: “That is correct. I apologize for the confusion. I would be happy to transfer you to Account Services to order a new debit card.”

Me: “That would be very helpful, thank you.”

I’m on hold for about forty-five minutes before I get to talk to the next rep, who takes my information and my explanation.

Representative #3: “That’s a problem for Account Services. I’ll transfer you to them now. By the way, if you ever have a problem with your debit card, you should call the number on the back of the card.”

Me: *Thinking* “I did call the number on the back of my card, and your colleague was the one who transferred me to you in the first place, but whatever.”

Representative #4: “Account Services, how can I assist you today?”

Me: “Yes, I’d like to order a new debit card, please.”

Representative #4: “Is this for [Checking Account]?”

Me: “Yes. You should be able to see I currently have no cards associated with that account.”

Representative #4: “All right, I will have a new card sent out to you in three to five business days! Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Me: “No, thank you. You’ve been a great help!”

Fast forward about a week to today. [Card #2] has decided to work again so I’m able to pay my bills, but I’m anxious to get my new card. I check the mail and find two envelopes from my bank. One is the infamous letter telling me that [Card #1] has been compromised and they will be sending me a new card. The letter is dated a few days after [Card #3] came in the mail. The other envelope contains a shiny new debit card which is an exact copy of [Card #2]: same number, same expiration date, and same security code. I call the number on the back.

Representative #5: “How can I help you today?”

Me: “I just received a duplicate of [Card #2] that has all the exact same information. I had ordered a new card for [Checking Account] which was supposed to have arrived by now, so I think there was a mixup.”

Representative #5: “I see someone called on [date last week] to order a duplicate card. Was that you?”

Me: “Yes, that was me, but I didn’t order a duplicate of [Card #2]; I wanted a new debit card for [Checking Account]. My card was cancelled due to a mix-up and I need a new one.”

Representative #5: “I understand. I apologize for that mistake. Just to be safe, I recommend getting rid of [Card #2] and using [Card #4], instead. It should work fine since it has all the same information as [Card #2]. In order to get a new card for [Checking Account], you need to fill out an application. Would you like me to transfer you to Account Services to complete that now?”

Me: “Yes, please. Thank you for your help!”

Representative #6: “How can I help you today?”

Me: “I need to apply for a new debit card for [Checking Account]. I have my account open on my computer. Can I apply through the website?”

Representative #6: “Certainly! I’d be happy to walk you through that.”

It takes about thirty seconds to complete the “application,” which is literally just confirming my contact information and pressing “submit.”

Me: “Is that all I have to do?”

Representative #6: “Yes, you will receive your card in seven to ten business days! We normally try to keep shipping times lower, but there have been a lot of mail delays recently.”

Me: “I completely understand. We’re due to get some bad weather here soon. I appreciate your help and hope you have a great day!”

Representative #6: “You, too. Stay safe!”

Most everyone I spoke to was super nice throughout the process, but I am exhausted by how difficult it was to complete a process that could have been done in just a few clicks if there hadn’t been so much miscommunication. Fingers crossed that my new debit card arrives soon and is actually attached to the correct account.