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, , , , , | Working | April 23, 2022

My car has a puncture. I have breakdown cover, and I call them. I don’t know if I’m covered for punctures. I am hoping to ask this early on, which turns out to be a mistake.

Agent #1: “[Breakdown Service], what is the car registration, please?”

Me: “Hey, buddy, my name is [My Name], and the reg is [registration information]. I hope I’m covered for a puncture.”

Agent #1: “Is the car a [Make & Model]?”

Me: “Yeah, in red. Can I have your name?”

Agent #1: “What is the first line of your address?”

Me: “It’s [Address], and you were asked for your name, please, mate.”

Agent #1: “[Agent #1]. What is the first line of your address?”

I don’t like his attitude. If they don’t cover punctures, there’s no point going through security, right?

Me: “I’m wondering, am I covered for a puncture? Because—”

He interrupts me and starts talking over me. I ignore it and finish my sentence.

Me: “—if I’m not covered, then there’s no point going through the script.”

He’s stopped talking.

Me: “Hello, [Agent #1]?”

Agent #1: “I need your email address.”

Me: “And I asked you if your employer covers punctures, because—”

He interrupts me again, for about five seconds.

Me: “Are you all right, buddy? Could you let me speak?”

Agent #1: “No. We’re going to go through security and I’ll find out where your car is.”

Me: “Do you feel that I’m being less than civil? Surely, you can handle me asking if I’m covered for something.”

Cue another five-second interruption.

Agent #1: “I’m in charge of how we do this call. The way it works is you answer the questions I ask, and I’ll give you a time.”

Me: “Look, [Agent #1], don’t take this the wrong way, but have you a boss or somebody I can speak to?”

Agent #1: “Why?”

Me: “Look, mate, I don’t like how you’re speaking. I find you to be really confrontational, and you’re interrupting me and not listening. You can’t speak to customers that way.”

Agent #1: “No. You’ll have to speak to customer services in the morning. Today is Sunday; they’re closed.”

Me: “I find that difficult to accept. I put it to you, there’s somebody you could put me on to.”

Agent #1: “No, that’s how it works.”

Me: “All right, anyway. Punctures, am I covered?”

Agent #1: “And I asked for your email.”

Me: “Well, isn’t that a surprise. Do you get it that I feel I’m a defendant being cross-examined by a prosecutor here?”

Agent #1: “…”

I’m getting nowhere, but I offer him the courtesy of explaining why I’ll call back later.

Me: “I don’t think you’re going to be able to help me today. I find you to be really confrontational. You’re interrupting me, not listening, and—”

Agent #1: “I’m going to have to terminate this call.”

Me: “Wow.”

He hangs up.

I call back later.

Agent #2: “[Breakdown Service], [Agent #2] speaking. What can I do for you?”

Me: “Can you help with a puncture in [Town]? [My Name] speaking.”

Agent #2: “Hi, [My Name]. I don’t know. I’ll check. Can I get three out of four of your full name, full address, email, and car registration, please?”

Me: “Sure. [My Name], [Address], and the car reg is [registration information].”

Agent #2: “Is it [Make & Model]?”

Me: “Yes.”

Agent #2: “Where is the vehicle?”

Me: “The postcode is [postcode].”

Agent #2: “[Postcode]. Okay. The team will be with you at approximately 1930. He will phone you on the number you are calling from. Have you anything else?”

Me: “No, you’re most helpful. Goodnight, [Agent #2].”

I called customer services, but the system said complaints were only accepted in writing. I did that. I asked them to sit down with [Agent #1] and play both calls to him, as a good and a bad example. Yes, [Agent #2] was civil, but what stood out was that he was concise and clear above all else.

Customers are allowed to go off-script, and you can’t treat the call like an interrogation. I will be pleasantly surprised if they reply.

Some Customers Prefer To Have Baggage

, , , | Right | April 12, 2022

I start a new job at an upscale supermarket. This is LONG before the plastic bag ban, but my store likes being eco-friendly and keeps a large stack of boxes for people to use. As a new hire, I am asked to explicitly ask if people would prefer boxes. In addition, a lot of people are buying bulk, so the boxes actually make handling such things much easier.

Me: “Hi there! Welcome. Do you have your store card today?”

Customer: *Five-second death glare, no card* “Don’t you know who I am?”

Me: “No? If you’ve forgotten the card, I can look it up.”

The customer barks out the company name too gruffly for me to actually make out, but after a moment, I realise it’s also on their clothing, so I’m able to get it in and start.

Me: “I hope you found everything you needed today. Would you be interested in boxes instead of bags today?”

The customer gives me another death glare before speaking like I’ve just offered to defile his things.

Customer: “Bags.”

Me: “Of course.”

I start bagging as fast as I can. He is still glaring at me like he expects me to magically transmute the bags into boxes.

Customer: “I never want boxes.”

Me: “I understand.”

The transaction ends and I think that’s the end of it.

The next week, I still don’t know the regulars and have forgotten this charming soul.

Me: “Welcome to the store. Can I get your card today?”

The customer glares but barks out the name in a way that makes bells ring, but I don’t yet remember.

Me: “Perfect, thank you. *Starts scanning* “May I interest you in boxes instead of bags today?”

Once again, he looks like I’ve asked to befoul his groceries.

Customer: “Bags.”

I realise why he’s setting off bells in my head. I start bagging as quickly as I can.

Me: “My apologies… I’ve been asked to ask everyone.”

He GLARED, clearly upset that I had forgotten him AND his preferences after working for a week, but said nothing more.

This continued for a little while until I was a little more on board with the regulars and knew him as soon as I spied him. He acted the same to everyone, so I knew it wasn’t just me. I started barely saying a word to him any time he came through my checkout, and he seemed to favour it, though his attitude never got any better.

I was glad when I found out he was never coming back, which happened during a month I was away. Rumour has it he offended one of the company owners who regularly worked there. I don’t think it was karma, but it was a relief that I never had to deal with him once plastic bags became illegal.

Cat Is To Human As Wand Is To Wizard

, , , , , | Friendly | April 12, 2022

A friend of a friend of a friend of a friend had this foster cat who needed a place. He was an old boy who was unlikely to get a real new home without a favour being called in. He was an orange floof called Goldie who was around eleven or so, and he gave me a special year before the rainbow bridge called him.

After two or three months of missing him, I went to my local SPCA to just sit in the cat room and have cat-love around me. They were running a “meet your Valentine” event, so I expected few cats and a busy time. There were quite a few kittens. The adult cat room seemed far emptier than usual but still comforting.

I went with a friend to make sure I didn’t get too caught up in the cuteness so that any decision I made would have someone not tempered by lost-cat feels. We sat, we pet, we played, and I felt better.

Then, a fuzzy monster snuck out from where he’d been watching and came to savage the toy I offered. He played for a few minutes before exhausting himself. I expected him to run back to his hiding place now that he’d defeated his foe, but he didn’t.

Quickly, he scrambled up the couch, and in a fine move of fluid cattidity, he wedged himself between me and the cushions where he promptly fell asleep. Startled, I looked at my friend.

Friend: “You weren’t aiming to get a cat today, right?”

Me: “No.”

We both looked at the sleeping cat.

One of the staff members walked by.

Staff Member: “Awww! That’s adorable. He hasn’t done that with anyone else. He has been playing with people, but no one’s really been allowed to touch him.”

No prizes for guessing who is sleeping nearby as I write this ten years later. How could I not? He just knew he had the right human. Even now, his favourite place to sleep is right near me, as close as he can.

EMF, Here Meaning Extra-Mad Fools

, , , , , | Healthy | April 9, 2022

I live in New Zealand. We literally had people wearing tin foil hats at an “anti-[health crisis] mandate protest” here because they believed the government was making them sick with radio waves. The symptoms included a sore throat, cough, runny nose, fever, and exhaustion. But it was definitely not the health crisis illness making them sick, in the middle of our first outbreak, where people had tested positive.

That didn’t exist, apparently. Instead, it was a targeted attack using EMF being emitted by concrete blocks.

I’m so embarrassed.

Consumed By Consumer Law

, , | Right | April 8, 2022

Working with electronics, you often find out more than you ever wanted to about consumer law. One big thing I thought everyone knew about consumer law is that it is very country-specific. A few of the countries I deal with have fantastic consumer protections, and others… not so much.

During an IT repair call, we’re narrowing in on what’s wrong with the device. It looks like it needs to go in for repair.

The caller goes off suddenly.

Caller: “You’re liars because you won’t respect the consumer law for this!”

Me: “What do you mean?”

We’re currently troubleshooting to find the problem, and for a hardware issue, of course, we’d be looking to see if consumer law applied if there was no manufacturing warranty: some manufacturers have limited ones and others don’t. It gets checked at the repair places unless special circumstances apply. Unless I have specific information that tells me it will or won’t, I don’t assume either way.

He finally tells me this is something he bought in the USA. I double-check the file and it tells me he’s calling from a relatively new country; therefore, it might not have the best consumer laws yet.

Me: “I’m sorry. Where were you trying to get that device serviced?”

Caller: “[New Country], obviously!

Me: “And… I beg your pardon, where did you buy it?”

Caller: “America!”

Me: “How long ago?”

Caller: “Five years ago.”

Even if he had gotten it in [New Country], that wouldn’t likely still be considered “reasonable” in operation time, which is between two and four years for most consumer electronics. I pause to get my thoughts in order.

Me: “Just making sure here, you’re saying you want to claim consumer law on this device, that you brought in the USA, in [New Country]. US consumer law?”

Caller: “No, [New Country] consumer law.”

Me: “Sir… you… can’t. Like, when you buy the item, part of the tax on your sale goes from the company to the government. You literally did not pay that tax to [New Country]; you paid it to the US.”

Caller: “I don’t care. I’m a citizen of [New Country]. You need to respect my consumer law.”

For the next twenty minutes, I try to explain that he does not have those consumer protections because he hasn’t paid for them with this device. Finally, I just suggest that if he’s unhappy with my answer, he can go and talk to the consumer law group for [New Country]. I swear the man takes this to think he’s won something for his tone becomes unbearably sarcastic.

Caller: “Oh, thank you. I’m so, so happy someone recommended I go to them!”

Me: “Sir, I did not recommend anything. I simply said it was your right to talk with them.”

Caller: “No, no, you’ve now recommended I go talk to them, I’m going to be very happy to do so. I think they will be very interested in the recording of this call!”

Yes. I hope they are, especially when I tried to explain multiple times that you really don’t have that right. Something tells me the government workers will not have to be as polite as me when they tell him how smart he really is.