Bizarre Businessman, Interrupted

, , , , | Working | June 2, 2020

I’m an admin for a pest control company and am manning the office alone as my manager has stepped out for a morning meeting with some of the other local businesses to network. An older — bordering on elderly — man comes in and immediately starts speaking while still walking up to my desk. Bear in mind, I have shortened the conversation considerably.

Man: “So, why are you called [Pest Control Company]?”

Me: *Cheerily* “We’re named after our founder!”

The man starts fiddling with the various business cards and adverts on the counter in front of my desk, which I don’t pay too much mind to as they’re there to be looked at or touched, but he does continue doing so for the entire exchange. The man picks up the business card for our inspector with a distinctly male name; I am visibly female.

Man: “Is this your card?”

He continues speaking without letting me answer.

Man: “I’m starting a new business. It’s [Business Name containing “tech” which he says, then spells, and then gives the justification for] and I’m looking for some contacts that I can rely on when I need them. I know my name says, ‘tech,’ but I do more than that.”

He never elaborates on this.

Me: “That’s our inspector’s card. Here is the manager’s card.”

The man immediately speaks over me before I can ask any questions about his business.

Man: “And your name?”

I give it and he writes it down on the card.

Man: “I’m very allergic and sensitive to a lot of things. Do you have any products that are less harsh and won’t cause a reaction? What do you do for people like me?”

Me: “Have you added your name to the Chemical Sensitivity Registry? We are required by law to inform—”

Man: “I wasn’t done talking. People can buy all sorts of things from the store, but I’m sure you have stronger stuff for things like bedbugs and less harsh stuff for other bugs. Do you have anything that won’t cause a reaction?”

Me: “I wouldn’t trust—”

Man: “You wouldn’t trust [Pest Control Company]?”

Me: “No, sir, if you would let me finish, I wouldn’t trust any company that tells you they can do what you’re asking. There is no way to guarantee that no one will have a reaction to something. We can only take precautions, such as the Registry.”

Man: “Hold on, hold on. Do you have a Kleenex or something?”

I give him one.

Man: “I’m just nervous and my blood pressure got too high. I lived in [City a few cities north of here] in a gated community that was mostly Canadians, and you know, they can only be here 182 days of the year, so they would put down chemicals that are way too harsh for the environment to keep the bugs and weeds away while they’re gone. What would you, as an environmentalist, do to stop them?”

I am now thoroughly done.

Me: “Are you asking me as a person or me speaking on behalf of [Pest Control Company]?”

Man: “You, as the environmentally conscious person you are.”

Me: “You said it was a gated community, so there is likely an HOA; I would go through—”

Man: “But what would you do personally to make them stop?”

I refuse to rise to whatever bait he’s trying to get me with.

Me: “As I was saying, before you interrupted me, I would contact the HOA and, barring that, I would go through the appropriate legal channels or local environmental agency to address the issue.”

He’s now messing with the Kleenex.

Man: “One second, you’re making me so nervous. So, what do you think is the best way to address the drug problem in America? How would you go about stopping it?”

The look on my face must be answer enough, since I stopped smiling and dropped all cheer from my voice some time ago.

Man: “Right, right, I can tell you want me to leave, so I’ll go. You didn’t say it, but I can tell.”

He continued rambling all the way out the door. The man never left his name or his own card, just his convoluted business name. My manager returned not a minute later and I informed him of the crazy-person bullet he had just dodged and gave him the business name to avoid, should it ever happen to pop up.

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Makes A Day At Work Seem Like A Walk In The Park

, , , , , , | Working | April 21, 2020

I’m a fairly new office administrator for a pest control company and am still in-training. I work with two other admins who have been with the company for more than ten years, as well as the manager who has been around for more than twenty years. [Admin #1] has several adult children but is otherwise happy and healthy, [Admin #2] has a chronic health condition, and [Manager]’s wife has terminal cancer. This concludes my stage-setting for one of the worst phone calls of my life.

I’m happily snoozing away when I’m awoken by my phone. It’s [Admin #1]. I answer with the expected amount of attentive grogginess and am told something to the effect of:

“Sorry to wake you. [Manager]’s wife just died, [Admin #2] is in the hospital, and my son was just in a car accident. You need to come in… fifteen minutes ago.”

And that’s the first and worst time I solo’d running an office forty employees strong: through a trial-by-fire while my coworkers handled their life-altering events where they were most needed. No one had a good time that day, but I think I got off the easiest.

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I Guess You Could Vacuum Them Up If You Wanted To

, , , , | Right | April 13, 2020

(It’s a very busy day for phone calls so I frequently have to ask people to hold.)

Me: “Pest Control, can you hold, please?”

Customer: “Is this the Maple Wood office?”

Me: “We are in Minneapolis. Could you hold a moment?”

Customer: “Okay.”

(I finish up with my current caller, which takes about two to four minutes, and then switch back to the lady waiting.)

Me: “Thank you for holding. How can I help you?”

Customer: “It’s so hard to find the numbers to the local office. I must have tried three places so far and they keep giving me new numbers. Anyway, do you have an engine belt for a vacuum?”

Me: *after a few seconds of silence* “No, I’m sorry but you’ve reached a pest control company.”

Customer: “Oh! So sorry! How embarrassing.”

(She hangs up as a trainee is walking by me.)

Trainee: “Weird call?”

Me: “No, she was just looking for vacuum parts.”

Trainee: “Whoops. Why do you have that look on your face?”

Me: “Because our hold ‘music’ is a loop of pest control advertisements and bug jokes. She was on hold for at least three minutes listening to that and never figured it out.”

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, , , , | Right | April 1, 2020

(After doing a service for a thrift shop, I have the employee sign a hand-held device which then transmits the information to a wireless remote printer, which prints out the service ticket. The employee marvels at the technology.)

Employee: “That’s just amazing!”

Me: “Yes, it’s pretty sophisticated.”

Employee: “Like the phones everyone has now.”

Me: “I know. I should upgrade my phone, but I’m intimidated. They seem so complicated. The one I have now is old, but it does pretty much everything I need it to. I mean, I don’t need a phone that tells me the phases of the moon or what time it is in Tokyo.”

(We share a laugh over this and wait a bit while the ticket prints out. Just then, a customer approaches and interrupts us.)

Customer: “Excuse me, but does anyone know what time it is in Tokyo?”

(We laugh a bit more, and I say to the customer:)

Me: “All I know is that it’s five o’clock somewhere!”

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Unfiltered Story #184481

, , , | Unfiltered | January 28, 2020

I’m the customer in this one. I fumble a coin in my kitchen and it rolls under the stove. Shining my flashlight under the stove to find it, I’m mortified to see the body of a mouse, staring glassy-eyed back at me. I call a pest control company and the exterminator arrives the next morning.
Exterminator: “So, I’ll just check under your stove, get rid of the dead rodent, and I’ll check for signs of any current infestation.”
Me (as the exterminator looks under the stove): “Thank you. I try to keep things clean, and I worry about my little boy crawling around on the floor when there’s-”
Exterminator: “Sir?”
Me: (surprised at being interrupted) “Yes?”
Exterminator: “Here’s your mouse.”
He holds up a little cat toy — a cloth mouse, complete with shiny little plastic eyes.
Me: “How much do I owe you for the trip? And how much extra to never, ever, speak of this again?”

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