Sugar-Free Meets Tact-Free

, , , , | | Right | June 11, 2018

(I work for a popular ice cream shop. One evening an older woman comes into the shop.)

Me: “Hi, how are you today?”

Customer: “Good, thank you. I’m wondering if you have any ice cream that is sugar-free; I’m diabetic.”

Me: “Of course. We have a vanilla that is sugar-free.”

Customer: “Oh, is that the only one?”

Me: “Let’s double-check.”

(I walk around to the front of the ice cream display, as there are cards with the ingredients for customers to read. After double-checking, I answer her question.)

Me: “My apologies; vanilla is the only sugar-free flavour we have right now.”

Customer: “That’s okay. I suppose vanilla would be okay… or I could throw caution to the wind and treat myself.”

Me: *laughs* “That is always an option.”

(We spend a few minutes small-talking about life. I realize I need to start closing the store, so I try to steer the conversation back to ice cream, since she hasn’t actually ordered.)

Me: “Have you decided which flavour you would like?”

Customer: “I think I will get the sugar-free vanilla.”

Me: “Great, let me get that for you.”

(I try to pass her to go behind the counter.)

Customer: “Are you required to try everything in the store?”

Me: “It’s recommended that we sample the ice cream and the chocolates that are on display; that way we can best recommend or give an accurate description of the flavours.”

Customer: *smirks, reaches out to touch me, and places her hand on my stomach* “I can tell you have; looks like someone has been indulging while working here.” *proceeds to jiggle my stomach*

Me: *smile quickly fades away* “I’ll get your ice cream.”

(I got her ice cream and said goodnight as she happily skipped out the store with her cone. I happily never saw her again.)

A Certified Awful Human Being

, , , | Right | June 11, 2018

(The grocery store I work at recently started selling beer. Since we have cashiers who are underage and do not have certification to sell alcohol, we have labeled, designated lanes for beer. A customer comes to my till with two cans of beer.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am; I cannot sell this. If you go to Lane #8, the cashier can help you there.”

Customer: “Why can’t you sell me this?”

Me: “I don’t have certification to sell this. Some cashiers have completed the certification and are able to sell it. We have put up signs to show which cashiers can help you.”

Customer: “You will sell me this. You cannot refuse me. I won’t leave. Your manager told me to come here.”

Me: “I can’t sell you this; it’s illegal for me to do so. I don’t think my manager would direct you here. I will call him over here to clear things up.” *reaches for the phone to page my manager*

Customer: *enraged* “PUT THE PHONE DOWN! You are so stupid! If you can’t sell this to me, you should be fired. I refuse to move. Make me, stupid girl.”

(At this point, a supervisor can see the anger and frustration on both sides of the till. She comes over to my till and tells the woman the exact same thing I did. She then proceeds to do the transaction, because she is certified.)

Customer: “That’s right, do it. Haha, stupid girl, thinking I would move. You mean nothing to me.”

(As she was walking away from my till, she continued to ramble, claiming all employees are stupid. She complained to a man who seemed to be a customer; little did she know it was an assistant manager who was coming in to buy groceries. The look on her face when he told her who he was made the last ten minutes worth it.)

Murphy’s Law: Online Edition

, , , , , , | Working | June 8, 2018

(I decide to move closer to my college to make it easier to get back and forth to class. We move all our utilities over, keeping our home phone and high-speed Internet through the same company, which is one of the largest communications companies in Canada. About three months after we move and after the school year has started, my maternal grandfather passes away. Once the initial shock has passed, I go to email my professors to let them know I won’t be in classes for the remainder of the week, but I can’t get on the Internet. Being in a computer program, I check all my equipment, and am certain it isn’t my end, but I am too exhausted to deal with it, assume it is a blip, and go to bed, planning to send the email in the morning. However, in the morning it is still not working, so I root out my last bill and call the number on it.)

Customer Service Agent #1: “Thank you for calling [Internet company] tech support. My name is [Customer Service Agent #1]; how can I help you?

Me: “My Internet service has been down since at least last night. I’ve checked all my equipment, and it doesn’t appear to be my end. Is there an outage in the area?”

Customer Service Agent #1: “There are no outages that I’m aware of, but can I get your account number to take a look?”

Me: *gives account number and answers some verification questions*

Customer Service Agent #1: “I see. Your account has been shut down due to a billing issue.”

Me: “That’s not possible. I have my last bill in front of me, and according to my notes on it I paid it through my Internet banking on [date], which was well over a week before it was due. I would log into my bank to verify, but I have no Internet.”

Customer Service Agent #1: “I’m not really sure what happened, then. Let me get you over to someone in billing to get this sorted out.”

Me: “Okay, thank you.”

(After several minutes on hold, another person picks up.)

Customer Service Agent #2: “Thank you for calling [Internet company] billing. My name is [Customer Service Agent #2]; how can I help you?”

Me: “I’ve not had any Internet access since last night. I was just speaking to a tech support agent, and he said it was a billing issue and transferred me to you. Can you help me straighten this out?”

Customer Service Agent #2: “Okay, let’s take a look. Can I get your account number?”

Me: “You didn’t get it from the last agent?”

Customer Service Agent #2: “No, they blind-transferred you.”

Me: *gives account number and answers some verification questions*

Customer Service Agent #2: “Okay, apparently we don’t have your billing information on file, which is why your account was shut down. I’ll need to take either your credit card information, or your bank account information for direct withdrawal, to get the account active again.”

Me: “I’ve never given you that before, and I’ve been a customer of yours for several years. You’ve always billed me, and I’ve paid through my bank.”

Customer Service Agent #2: “No, we don’t bill people. We do direct withdrawal, either through your bank account or through a credit card.”

Me: “I have proof in my hand that says otherwise: a bill with both my home phone charges and my Internet charges. I’ve been a customer for several years, and that’s always how it’s been. All of my charges have come together on a bill and I have paid them. Why can’t that continue?”

Customer Service Agent #2: “I’m not really sure. Let me get you over to billing for [Main Company], and they may be able to tell you what’s going on. One moment.”

(I am put back on hold again before I can protest. After several minutes, another agent picks up.)

Customer Service Agent #3: “Thank you for calling [Main Company] billing. My name is [Customer Service Agent #3]; how can I help you?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I’m really getting frustrated. I haven’t had Internet service since yesterday. I’ve spoken to tech support, and they say it’s a billing issue. I’ve spoken with [Internet company], and they’re insisting that I have to give them a credit card, which I don’t have, or my direct withdrawal banking information, which I also don’t have handy. I have always had all of my [Company] charges just billed to me, and I don’t understand why this has suddenly changed. Is there any way we can keep the current arrangement?”

Customer Service Agent #3: “Can I get your account number, please?”

Me: “You don’t have it already?”

Customer Service Agent #3: “Nope, you were blind-transferred.”

Me: *tries not to be overly testy as I give my account number and answer some verification questions*

Customer Service Agent #3: “Yes, you did have it on billing, but [Internet service] normally needs to do direct payment, either through your bank account or through a credit card. If you can give me either of those, I can reinstate your Internet service right away.”

Me: “I just told you I don’t have any of that information at the moment. Why the sudden change? I’ve been a customer of [Company] for four or five years now, and it’s never been a problem before. I even used to get my [Satellite Service] charges on the same bill, but I had to cancel that since I’m now a student and not working full-time. I’ve always paid my bill on time, so it’s not that I’m a delinquent customer, so I don’t understand why I can’t pay as I always have.”

Customer Service Agent #3: “The only way I can get the Internet back up for you is to get direct payment information from you now.”

Me: *feeling defeated* “I just need to send an email to my professors to let them know that I won’t be in class for the next few days because my grandfather passed away, before I go and spend time with my grieving family. You’re absolutely sure that there’s nothing you can do to help me out here?”

Customer Service Agent #3: “I’m sorry, but no.”

Me: “Can I speak to a supervisor, please?”

Customer Service Agent #3: “I don’t think that a supervisor will be able to help.”

Me: “Just let me speak to a supervisor.”

(Suddenly back to hold music. I have now been on the phone for almost an hour and I am genuinely upset at this point, and the hold music seems to go on forever. It is also now past time that I should normally be in a lab, and I wanted to email my professors before classes began, so I am especially unhappy.)

Customer Service Agent #4: *in a somewhat surprised tone* “Thank you for calling [Main Company]. My name is [Customer Service Agent #4]; how can I help you?”

Me: “Are you a supervisor with [Company]?”

Customer Service Agent #4: “Yes, I am. What can I help you with?”

Me: *fighting to not cry on the phone* “You are now the fourth person I have spoken to with regard to what should be a very simple issue. My Internet service was cut off at some point yesterday due to [Internet Company] not having my direct withdrawal information or credit card information on file. I have never put that information on file, as [Company] has always billed me for the charges for both my Internet and home phone service directly. I am not sure why this has changed; the timing is incredibly poor, as my grandfather passed away yesterday, and I need to email my professors to let them know why I will not be in class. I just want to be billed as I have been for the last four or five years. Can you please help me with this?”

Customer Service Agent #4: *still sounding somewhat surprised* “So, all you’re after is bundling all your services onto one bill, correct?”

Me: “Yes, that and reactivating my Internet service.”

Customer Service Agent #4: “Of all the… Yes, I should be able to get that done for you. Can I get your account number, please?”

Me: “The last agent didn’t supply that information?”

Customer Service Agent #4: *in an exasperated tone* “No, I’m afraid you were transferred to me blind. I was not given anything.”

Me: “I take it from your tone that this is not normal operating procedure?”

Customer Service Agent #4: “No, it is not.”

Me: *supplies account number and answers verification questions*

Customer Service Agent #4: “Okay, Ms. [My Name], it does look like there was some sort of technical glitch that got your billing switched around to the more standard prepay for [Internet Company]. Give me a minute, and let me get it switched back for you.”

Me: *relieved* “Thank you so much.”

Customer Service Agent #4: *can hear her working in the background* “It always seems that these things happen at the worst possible time, doesn’t it?”

Me: “Murphy’s Law, I guess.”

Customer Service Agent #4: “I know, and I’m sorry. Okay… There. I have it reset back to post-pay, and since your payments are up to date — thank you for that, by the way — your Internet should be back on shortly. It won’t be instantaneous, but it shouldn’t take more than 15 to 20 minutes. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

Me: “No, but thank you. You’ve been wonderful.”

Customer Service Agent #4: “I’m glad I could help, and let me extend my condolences to you and your family. I don’t think I’d be as calm as you have been if this happened after I had just lost a loved one.”

Me: “Thank you again. Goodbye.”

(True to her word, about ten minutes later I was able to connect to the Internet. I sent the email out to my professors, and left to go support my mother and her sisters. Fortunately, I never had to call their customer service again!)

Man, Have They Got A Problem

, , , , , , , | Healthy | June 6, 2018

(I’ve gone to the emergency room. I get checked in through triage, and the nurse gives me the appropriate paperwork and sends me to the next waiting area. I drop my paperwork into the tray at the waiting area as instructed and take a seat. There are five or six other people already waiting. Every few minutes, a nurse will call a name and direct that person to an exam room.)

Nurse: “[Female Name that isn’t mine].”

(Nobody responds.)

Nurse: *repeats*

(Still no response.)

Nurse: *looks directly at me* “Are you [Female Name that isn’t mine]?”

Me: *a male, shakes head* “No, that’s not me.”

(The nurse disappears after that. A short while later I’m called by the same nurse and sent to an exam room. The nurse pulls open the curtain and there’s already someone there. She seems surprised by this but directs me to another room and leaves the curtain somewhat open as I sit down. The doctor comes in to see me after a few more minutes.)

Doctor: *reading his papers* “Okay, [Female Name that isn’t mine], looks like you’re here for [not my issue].”

Me: *still a male* “No, I’m [My Name], and I’m here for [my concern].”

(The doctor looked up for the first time and saw me. He was obviously confused, but double-checked his papers and walked out. I saw him go to the occupied room I was sent to initially. I don’t know why they were so insistent on me being that woman.)

A Transformative Incident

, , , , , | Right | June 5, 2018

(We’re performing spring maintenance on one of our outdoor lighting systems. This involves cleaning fixtures, changing lamps, and a general tidy-up of the system. One of our new hires accidentally breaks a fixture that we don’t have parts to repair.)

Me: “I’m sorry about the damaged fixture. At the moment, we don’t have the proper parts to repair it. But I can make a note of it on the invoice and we can send someone back as soon as possible to fix it.”

Client: “Oh, that’s no problem. I’ll have my electrician look at it. I guess someone forgot to mention to you that those fixtures aren’t part of your system; you don’t have to worry about servicing them today.”

(We finish up, and as she said, we don’t do the other fixtures. I still make note of the broken one on our paperwork just to have record of it, along with what she said about having her electrician fix it. Fast forward a couple weeks, and I’m working a day with our service tech. He has a work order for the place with the broken fixture, saying the system isn’t working at all now, along with a bunch of accusations about our shoddy work. We arrive and I notice the fixture we broke has been repaired. I take it out of the ground and immediately see the problem.)

Me: “Hey, [Tech], I found the problem. Remember how she said her electrician would fix this? Well, whoever fixed it crossed the wires and shorted the system.”

Tech: *laughing* “Yeah, that’ll do it. Let’s find the transformer so we can reset it.”

(I fixed the wiring and we reset the system. Everything worked perfectly. The tech made a note on the invoice for this visit that it was not our work that was faulty and therefore wasn’t under warranty. She later called to complain that she had to pay and claimed nobody else works on the system besides us, despite the four of us that were there that day stating she told us her electrician would fix it. The office ended up crediting her account just to shut her up. From now on, I plan to get this sort of thing in writing.)

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