Frustration Is Ramping Up

, , , , , , | Working | April 27, 2021

It is August in Phoenix, Arizona — a desert. The day starts over 100°F/38°C and it’s going to be 115°F/46°C later in the day. We are moving from one house to another.

My wife has to stay at the house we are moving from for a while and then has to get to the new house to meet the cable installer, and we have three little kids who cannot carry heavy boxes.

We have rented a large truck with a ramp to help with the move. We rented from a location near the new house so it wouldn’t be that long a drive at the end of the day. A friend was supposed to help me, but he broke his toe the night before, so I am on my own. Did I mention the temperature? I have to load items from the old house, drive to a storage locker and load items from there, and then go to the new house.

All day, the ramp doesn’t work correctly. It’s difficult to pull out of the back of the truck and nearly impossible to get it back in when I’m done. I have been fighting with it all day, and it’s hot and I’m frustrated. At each stop — sometimes twice at a stop — I call the rental company to tell them the ramp is broken and that they need to send someone to fix it. Each time, the customer service rep tells me that they will connect me to technical support where they can explain to me what I’m doing wrong. As far as they are concerned, it’s not broken, so it must be user error. Each time, I try to convince them it’s not me but the ramp, but they won’t send anyone.

At the end of the day, I finally unload the last of the items into the house or the garage. The ramp is sticking partway into the garage, so we cannot close the garage door. And at this point, the ramp. Will. Not. Go. In. I try all the tricks I have used throughout the day to get the ramp to move and it won’t go.

I call customer service again, and again they want to transfer me to tech support. I stop the woman right there.

Me: “Do not transfer me to technical support. It’s not that I do not know how to do this. I have been fighting this all day and I have been transferred to technical support three times already today. It is not user error. It is broken. It is 10:00 pm and I am hot and tired. Right now, the ramp is sticking into my garage so I cannot close the garage door. I was told when I picked up this truck today that it was heading out on a long-distance move tomorrow morning. So, you have two choices at this point: you can send a mechanic to fix this and I can return the truck, or I will drive it back to the rental center a mile from here now with the ramp dragging the whole way and I will not be responsible for any damage to the truck.”

She agrees to send a mechanic and, in the meantime, I hop into the pool to cool off. When the mechanic arrives at around 11:00 pm, I explain the problem. He gets under the truck and takes one look at the latching mechanism.

Mechanic: “Yeah, this thing is completely busted. The metal was fatigued and it snapped. I’ll have to take it back to the shop and weld it back together. This isn’t going anywhere tomorrow morning.”

He told me to slowly push the ramp back in while he held the broken latch out of the way, and we got the ramp back in. He followed me back to the rental center to make sure I got there safely, and I presume he got to work on the repair.

Sometimes, when a customer says it’s not user error, they might even be right.

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In Daylights, In Sunsets, In Midnights, In Cups Of Coffee

, , , , , | Right | February 24, 2021

I work in a very popular chain coffee shop. Most days are pretty basic — a few entitled people here and there but nothing too crazy. On this particular morning, I open after getting about five hours of sleep and have to work with someone I’m not fond of. Halfway through the morning, a couple walks in and comes up to the register. I’m in the middle of taking their order when the man interrupts me.

Man: “You look familiar… Did you work here around this time last year?”

Me: *Slightly confused* “Yes.”

Man: “Oh, my God! Your name is [My Name], right?!”

I’m now even more confused, trying to remember this man’s face. 

Me: “Yeah.” *Chuckles awkwardly*

Man: “Yeah, I remember you! I came in and ordered fourteen drinks at once. You made them all so well and without complaining!”

Me: “Oh, wow! You remember that?”

Man: “Yeah! They were all, like, super-customized drinks! It was awesome. I kept trying to tip you but you said you weren’t allowed to take tips.”

Me: “Were the drinks good, at least?”

Man: *Laughing* “Yeah! You were so awesome that I remember you from a year ago!”

Me: “Oh, my God! That’s amazing. Thank you so much! That just made my day!”

I was smiling so hard and trying not to tear up because after a rough morning, hearing this guy talk so highly of me really touched me. I hope he knows how much I really appreciated the sentiment. Customers like him are rare, but they are the reason I tolerate customer service jobs.


This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for February 2021!

Read the next Feel Good roundup for February 2021 story!

Read the Feel Good roundup for February 2021!

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Let Me Just Wipe This Surprised Look Off My Face

, , , , , | Working | February 16, 2021

My mother and I were taking a leisurely trip to Arizona as I, twice a year, fly to places I’ve never been to see a concert and then make a long weekend of it and tour the surrounding area. Someone often accompanies me for the adventure, and this time my mum met me at the airport, flying in from a different city.

As we inspected our rental car, I noted that the rear bumper was very loose on the left side and pointed it out to the agent. She shrugged and said it was fine, but I insisted she note it, which she did with a literal huff.

We spent most of our travels on the smaller roads, but there was a stretch where we had to drive on the Interstate. The speed limit was a blistering eighty miles an hour, which was the absolute fastest I, a city girl, was comfortable with, so I hugged the slow lane doing the posted speed, pickups and massive trucks passing me like I was standing still.

As I raced along at eighty miles an hour, I could see the left side of my bumper starting to give at that speed. Suddenly, the left side gave out with a cracking noise and I pulled over to find it hanging by the still-attached right clips, but that was it.

Fortunately, I could see a home improvement store at the exit just back from where we’d stopped. I backed up the fifty meters or so and exited, dragging my bumper with me, and went in to buy a roll of duct tape. I called the rental company asking permission to tape their car, and they were reluctant to give it, asking me to come and exchange the car, but there were no near rental spots, so they acquiesced and I taped that bad boy up.

Returning the car was a bit of an ordeal but I was glad I’d had them note my concern. Over and over, they asked about an accident or crash and I kept saying that it had just fallen off.

They had me fill out an incident report and I wrote, “Noted it looked like bumper would fall off. Bumper fell off,” and handed it back to the agent.

To his credit, he chuckled at the description of the incident and sent my mum and me off to catch our respective flights. I asked for, but never got, reimbursed for my duct tape purchase.

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Just A Data-Day Idiot

, , , , , | Right | February 11, 2021

I work for a company that handles digital media and printing such media. We offer printing, data loading, and packing services for USBs and CDs. I work as a designer for our custom jobs, but I also handle loading the master drive with the data — the one we keep on hand for about fourteen months in case the client reorders — and proof art and data.

I have been working here for a few months when we have this guy place an order. I have the stupidity to answer my work phone when I have just sat down for lunch at my desk and barely made my salad.

Me: “Thank you for calling [Company]. This is [My Name].”

Customer: “Hi, I just got a data proof and the sizes don’t match up.”

Me: “Okay. Let me pull it up for you. What size do you get when you check the properties of the data?”

When the customer responds, he sounds like I just spoke in a foreign language.

Customer: “I don’t know what that is, but when I calculate it on my end, it doesn’t add up.”

Me: “Okay… you should have a folder on your end with the data you sent us. You can highlight all the files, right-click them, and hit ‘properties’ at the bottom of the page. The size should be there.”

Customer: “Oh, well, I don’t have the data on my computer. Some other guy made the master I sent you.”

Me: *Dumbfounded* “Oh…”

Customer: “Yeah, so when you calculate it in a calculator, I get [amount #1] versus your [amount #2].”

I mentally jump out of my office window.

Me: “Calculating totals of data on a regular calculator won’t show the exact same amount. That’s not how data works.”

Customer: *Getting irritated* “Well, I’m an older guy so this is how I’ve done it for years. Here, do it with me.”

I just want to get this guy off the phone, so I pull up a calculator. He proceeds to go through each file and folder and calculate the KB each makes up. On my end, the calculator shows almost the exact amount. I am honestly surprised by how close it is, but that still isn’t how data works.

Customer: “See? The totals are off!”

Me: “Sir, I see that, but using a normal calculator won’t work—”

He interrupts me for the millionth time. 

Customer: “Why is it off? Are there some files corrupted?”

Me: *Getting upset now* “Sir, we had our tech guy check each file and there was no corrupt—”

Customer: *Interrupts again* “I know how we can check. Let’s do this.”

He proceeded to have me hold the phone to the speaker and play each of his THIRTY-PLUS FILES OF MUSIC DATA for a few seconds each to make sure the songs were there. It took over ten minutes because while having to listen to the music, I had to try to hear him over the music saying that I could proceed to each one. During this time, I had to clock in from lunch and didn’t even get to relax for my break. Thank God he hasn’t reordered.

The worst news is that I had to throw out my salad since the ranch had soaked the leaves and made them soggy. I didn’t eat anything but snacks that I had for the rest of the day. I pigged out when I got home for dinner.

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Thank God For Observant Strangers!

, , , , , | Friendly | December 30, 2020

I’ve been visiting my brother in another state, and we go to grab lunch a couple of hours before I fly back home. Suddenly, a woman walks over to our table.

Woman: “[My Name]?”

Me: “What?”

Woman: “Are you [My Name]?”

I’m trying to figure out if I know her from somewhere.

Me: “Yes…?”

Woman: “I found your wallet. Here.”

I didn’t even realize that it had slipped out of my pocket! I happened to be wearing the same outfit as when I had my driver’s license picture taken, so the woman recognized me right away. I thanked her profusely. If she hadn’t happened upon my wallet and found me, I probably wouldn’t have realized it was missing until I got to the airport.

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