Bursting American Bubbles

, , , , , | Right | October 24, 2017

(We are a small, UK-based company. An American customer calls one afternoon.)

Customer: “I was on your website and can only find this number. I need to you to give me the number for your American office. And you should tell whoever is in charge that international calls are expensive. I shouldn’t have to call to get an American number; you should put it on your website next to this one.”

Me: “We don’t have an American office; just this one. Is there something I can help you with?”

Customer: “What do you mean, you don’t have an American office? Your website says you ship worldwide.”

Me: “We are a very small company. We send everything from the UK and—”

Customer: “Why are you all in the UK?”

Me: “Because we live here?”

Customer: “All of you?”

Me: “Um, yes.”

Customer: “If you don’t have an American office, then how can you ship things to us in the United States?”

Me: “We give Royal Mail money and they put it onto a plane for us.”

Customer: “I only deal with Americans.” *click*

Can You Hear The Irony?

, , , , , , | Right | October 23, 2017

(I answer the phone at my mother’s house, and since they have old party-lines in her area from forever ago, whenever the lines get wet from rain or condensation, they sound really static-filled and have a lot of feedback.)

Me: “Hello?”

Lady: *mumble mumble mumble*

Me: “Sorry, I can’t hear you. Can you speak louder?”

Lady: *slightly louder mumble mumble mumble*

Me: “You might have to yell; I really can’t hear you, sorry!”

Lady: “I’M CALLING FROM [TOWN] HEARING CLINIC TO ASK WHEN YOU LAST HAD YOUR HEARING CHECKED?!”

Me: “Never; my hearing is fine, thanks!”

Your Days As A Soldier Are Emergency Numbered

, , , , | Working | October 21, 2017

(I am on a military post, and tonight I am in charge of the barracks, which means checking that everyone is in their quarters by curfew. After knocking on doors, I discover that one soldier is missing. Checking the list of people signed out on leave, his name does not appear. Now, if I cannot make contact with him, I need to report him missing. Pulling up the contact sheet, I dial the number he has listed as his cell phone.)

Me: “Hello, [Soldier]?”

Woman: “No, [Soldier] isn’t here. How can I help you?”

Me: *confused* “Ah, I am trying to call him and learn of his whereabouts. May I ask why you have his cell phone?”

Woman: “This is not his cell phone; this is my phone. You’ve called my house.”

Me: “What?!”

(Checking the list again, I see the soldier has listed the same number for his cell phone and emergency contact, and the number I have just dialed belongs to his mother. I immediately backpedal, not wanting to alarm her.)

Me: “I’m sorry for disturbing you, ma’am, but [Soldier] listed this as his personal number. I need to contact him, as I have to discuss something important with him. If I may ask, do you have his personal number on you?”

Woman: “I don’t give out my son’s number to random people on the phone.”

Me: “Fair enough. Good night, ma’am.” *hangs up*

(Luckily, I found another soldier who had his real cell number. I called him and confirmed that he was on leave and had just forgotten to sign out. When I asked why he gave a false number, he brushed it off as no big deal, saying he didn’t want to be disturbed. I then hung up on him and reported the incident to his Squad Leader.)

You Really Had To Travel To Get The Answer

, , , , , , , , | Working | October 16, 2017

(I have signed up for health insurance through my job a few months ago, and my new cards are starting to come in the mail for the new year. I receive one set that is confusing, so I call the numbers on the back of the card and in other parts of the paperwork to clarify what it is for. The numbers only lead to an automated system, and there is no number for a direct help line, but I decide to try the trick of repeatedly hitting the “wrong” button. That is, the options are 1, 2, or 3, and I repeatedly only hit 8. It takes a while, but I am finally transferred to a human operator.)

Operator: “Thank you for calling Work Services. How can I help you?”

Me: “Yes, I’ve just gotten my health cards in the mail, but I’m not sure what this particular card covers. I’ve made some changes since last year’s coverage and I don’t recognize this one, and the paperwork that came with it doesn’t make any sense.”

Operator: “What does the paperwork say?”

Me: “The paperwork says ‘Travel Card,’ but the card itself has symbols for medical and prescriptions on it, and the paperwork has instructions about logging in bus tickets and stuff.”

Operator: “Yes, that’s your travel card.”

Me: “But what does that mean?”

Operator: “What is the card number on the front?”

Me: *gives him the number*

Operator: “Okay, I’ve activated your card. Anything else I can do for you?”

Me: “What is the card for?

Operator: “It’s a travel card, so you use it to pay for prescriptions. It’s for travel expenses.”

Me: “Travel card or prescription card?”

Operator: “It’s a travel card. So, you use it to pay for the bus and your work reimburses you for the cost of getting to work.”

Me: “But I don’t take the bus.”

Operator: “Well, subway, train, whatever. You’ve received the public transportation coverage.”

Me: “I have never even heard of that, and I don’t take public transportation to get to work. Anyway, the paperwork and the card itself don’t match up, because the card has a medical symbol and a prescription symbol on it.”

Operator: “It’s a card to pay for prescriptions.”

Me: “You just said that it was for paying for the bus.”

Operator: “Okay, I’ll cancel it.”

Me: “I don’t even know what you are cancelling; is this a card for prescriptions or a card for the bus?”

Operator: “You didn’t sign up for the travel card, so I’m cancelling it.”

Me: “I don’t want you to cancel it if it’s for prescriptions.”

Operator: “I’m just going to cancel it.”

Me:Do not cancel it. If it’s for prescriptions and medical, I need it.”

Operator: “You signed up for the travel card?”

Me: “No.”

Operator: “I’m cancelling it.”

Me:Do not cancel it!

Operator: “I can cancel it.”

Me: “I want to talk to a supervisor, please.”

Operator: “I can just cancel it.”

Me: “Please get me someone who can explain what this card is for. I want to talk to a manager or something.”

Operator: “Okay, I’m cancelling your card.”

Me:Get me your supervisor, please!

Operator: “I’m going to cancel—“

(By this point I’ve pretty much lost my mind running in circles with this guy, and I’ve got the phone out at arm’s length and I’m just screaming.)

Me:SU-PER-VI-SOR! SU-PER-VI-SOR! SUPERVISOR! DO NOT CANCEL IT!

Operator: “Ugh, fine. I’ll put you on hold.”

(After ten minutes on hold the line picks up again.)

Operator: “Are you still there?”

Me: “Yes.”

Operator: “Oh. Did you want a supervisor?”

Me:Yes, please!

(Five minutes of hold later I am speaking to a woman.)

Supervisor: “Thank you for calling Work Services. I am [Supervisor]. How can I help you?”

Me: “Hello, I’ve just gotten a card in the mail with medical and prescription symbols on it, but the paperwork that came with it says ‘Travel Card,’ and I’m really confused.”

Supervisor: “Can I have the card number please?”

(I give her the number.)

Supervisor: “And can you describe the card exactly, just in case?”

Me: “It’s blue with an orange swoosh on it, with three symbols: a bandaid, a medical cross, and that snake and staff thing that hospitals have.”

Supervisor: “Okay, that is in fact your prescription and medical card which can be used for medications and copays, which matches with the information in our system as part of your coverage plan. The travel card would have been orange and red with a picture of a bus on it. And the system shows that it is activated and ready for use beginning January 1st. And you said that the paperwork that came with it was the travel card paperwork? That’s a mistake. I’m going to send you a fresh copy of the correct paperwork for the medical card. I can’t imagine how that happened.”

Me: “Envelope stuffers.”

Supervisor: “Haha, yep, probably.”

Me: “So, I have received the correct card, but not the correct paperwork.”

Supervisor: “Exactly. Does that help you?”

Me: “Absolutely! I appreciate it. So… he kept saying he was cancelling my card; it won’t get cancelled will it?”

Supervisor: “Oh, no! I’ll take care of it right away to make sure that doesn’t happen to you. I’ve got this. I’ll get the paperwork in the mail tonight or tomorrow, too. I’m going to take care of it.”

Me: “Your calls are recorded?”

Supervisor: “Yes.”

Me: “Awesome.”

(True to her word, I got the correct paperwork in the mail just a few days later, and no more hiccups. I hope that someone eventually hears the recording of the s***-storm of the first half of the conversation.)

Hooli-gone Crazy

, , , , | Related | October 14, 2017

(I’m talking to my brother on the phone. He lives abroad and is calling from a payphone.)

Me: “Hey, remember that time with the hooligan?”

Brother: “What hooligan?”

Me: “When you called me, and there was a hooligan breaking the phone next to yours.”

Brother: “What are you talking about?”

Me: “There was a banging noise, and when I asked you about it you said a hooligan was breaking the phone next to you. Then you asked him to be quiet and he said, ‘Sorry, I didn’t notice you,’ and gave you one of the coins that had fallen from the phone, as an apology.”

(As I relate the story, I begin to realize that it makes no sense.)

Brother: “…”

Me: “You know what, I probably just dreamed that. Never mind.”

(We laughed.)

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