The Lone Bay State

, , , , , | Right | September 13, 2018

(My mother works in Massachusetts, processing tuition paperwork for soldiers attending college, so she receives a lot of calls not only from soldiers but also from their families. Her supervisor is originally from Texas, and she relates this story to me one day.)

Supervisor: “You’ve reached the education department. How may I help you?”

Out-Of-State Caller: *excited* “Ooh! So that’s what a Massachusetts accent sounds like!”

(They would also frequently get callers mispronouncing Worcester as “War-chester.” It’s “wuss-stir,” or “wuss-da” with a Boston accent.)

Twin Is More Likely

, , , | Right | September 13, 2018

(I’m working the front desk today, which generally means answering phones, speaking to people who come in, and working on the computer in between. During one of those in-between times, I am writing an email on the computer when I notice someone walk up to the desk in my peripheral vision. I type a few more words to reach a stopping point, then turn and lift my head to greet the person who is waiting.)

Me: “Hi! How can I help you today?”

Customer: *gasps* “Do you have a twin?!”

Me: *confused* “Uh, no, I don’t.”

Customer: “Oh… Then did you get a haircut?”

Me: “Uh, yes, a couple days ago.”

Customer: “Oh, well, that explains it, then.”

Me: *more confused than ever*

Not-So-Family-Friendly Magic

, , , , , | Working | September 13, 2018

(I work as an outside salesperson for a HVAC company. Before, however, I was a professional magician, and I often still carry some magic tricks on me. Whenever we get new coworkers, I often show off and pull brightly colored sponge balls out of people’s hair and make them multiply and vanish. One day, I walk into the dispatch area of the office that is packed with multiple dispatchers and a couple of managers talking. One of our newer dispatchers sees me and gets really excited when I walk in.)

Coworker: “[My Name]! Do you have your balls on you?!”

(Everyone bursts out laughing, and we have to put a couple of people on hold due to the volume of the laughter. My coworker realizes what she said and tries to backtrack.)

Coworker: “No, wait. I mean your magic balls!”

(Everyone laughs harder.)

Me: *almost in tears* “Yes, I do! But thank you for making my day!”

Manager: “I need to go warn the new HR manager to be wary of any complaints about your magic balls!”

You Can’t (Annual) Leave Me!

, , , , , | Right | September 12, 2018

(I work for a pensions company in the transfers department. My job is to process people switching from their current pension company to us or from our company to another. I have been dealing with this particular customer for almost a month; there was an issue that was delaying the transfer because the company he was moving from was really dragging their feet. Throughout all this, the customer has been wonderfully understanding, and because of his good nature I have been going above and beyond, chasing the other company at every turn, keeping the customer informed. Unfortunately, we’re still waiting on a few last important details from the old company, but I am due to go on annual leave. I have spoken to a colleague who I know will keep up the same level of work. I call the customer to give him to latest update.)

Me: “Hello, Mr. [Customer]. It’s [My Name]. How are you today?”

Customer: “Oh, hello, [My Name]. Has [Other Company] pulled their finger out yet?”

Me: “I just chased them up; they promised to get the paperwork we need with us by Monday. Unfortunately, I am not going to be in the office for a few weeks, so I am handing your case over to a colleague to deal with it. He has promised—”

Customer: “What? Where are you going?”

Me: “I have some annual leave that has been booked for some time.”

Customer: “But I don’t want to deal with anyone but you.”

Me: “Don’t worry; I’ve fully briefed my colleague, and he has worked for [Company] for twenty years. If anything, he knows more than I do, so you’re in safe hands. He has promised to chase up [Other Company] and keep you in the loop at every turn.”

Customer: “No, no. This is not good enough. You’re going to have to cancel your holiday. This is important. I don’t want to deal with anyone else but you!”

(I’m a little surprised at this point, because this customer has been nothing but congenial and reasonable the whole time. It takes me a moment to respond.)

Me: “I’m unable to reschedule my annual leave, but I promise you that my colleague is more than capable. Besides that, once your pension has been transferred, somebody else will be dealing with your account. I only deal with transfers. Eventually you’ll have to trust somebody else with your account.”

Customer: “I understand that, but I need you to stay in the office. You can’t go on holiday. I won’t let you!”

Me: “I’m terribly sorry, sir, but you don’t have any say in whether I take annual leave or not. This is leave I am required by law to take, and it was booked a long time ago. I understand you are a little nervous, but again, I can assure you that my colleague will take excellent care of you.”

Customer: “Of course I have a say in when you go on holiday! My taxes pay for your holiday!”

Me: *slight pause* “I’m sorry?”

Customer: “My taxes pay for your holidays!”

Me: “I’m not sure I understand. My employer pays me my annual leave. Your taxes have nothing to do with it. In any case, that’s irrelevant. I’m very sorry, but again, I’ve left you with the most competent employee in the department with decades of experience.”

Customer: “Well, that isn’t good enough! This is terrible customer service! In fact, I’m thinking of cancelling the entire transfer if this is how badly you treat your customers!”

Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way. If you want to cancel the transfer, that’s your decision.”

Customer: “Well, fine! I will!”

(The customer hung up. I sat, flabbergasted. I was a little bit flattered, but also very annoyed that after all my efforts of going above and beyond my job description that the customer felt he had the right the dictate when I took my annual leave and that he found this to be terrible service. It didn’t matter, though; when I got back from annual leave, I came back to an apology letter from the customer and my colleague said he had been fine with him. It turns out that he was just having a bad day. He even wrote me a letter of commendation, thanking me for all my efforts, which won me an award at work for going above and beyond the call of duty.)


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Well, That’s News To Me!

, , , | Friendly | September 10, 2018

(I do tech support for an international company. I am working when suddenly my private phone starts ringing.)

Me: “Hello? This is [My Name].”

Friend: “Hi, [My Name], this is [Friend]. I am having a problem with my computer.”

Me: “Okay. What is the problem?”

Friend: “I just created a movie file with a movie maker program, and now I am unable to find it.”

Me: “Okay, I will take a look at it.”

(I remotely connect to her computer and start checking the default directories of the movie maker program and the default locations of the movie library. I find nothing.)

Me: “Do you know what the file was named?”

Friend: “‘The Journal.’”

(I start to search via search functions into the directory; nothing comes up.)

Me: “I am sorry, but I am unable to find it.”

(I can hear her voice shaking.)

Friend: “No! It is not possible. I’ve been working on it for almost on hour. And now it is gone? I am going to have to remake it, then.”

(Since this is an easy task for me to do, I think I can make it faster than she can. I ask about where the original files were located.)

Me: “Could you take me through the steps of how you created the file? Starting with the location of the original files.”

(She goes to the directory where the files are located. Once there:)

Friend: “Oh! There is my file!”

Me: “I thought the file was named, ‘The Journal,’ not, ‘The News’?”

Friend: “It is almost the same. Thank you for the assistance!”

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