Owe Dad A Debt Of Gratitude

, , , , | Working | February 26, 2018

(I have just turned 16 and I am looking for a summer job. Since I am looking for employment and am about to get my license, my parents decide to buy me my first cell phone for my birthday. I don’t give my number out to people except to my friends, relatives, and potential employers. One day I receive a phone call from an unknown number, and since the number has the same area code as my city, I assume it is an employer looking to schedule an interview, so I answer it.)

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Yes, I am looking for Mrs. [Stranger]?”

Me: “I’m sorry. You must have the wrong number. I don’t know anyone by that name.”

Caller: “I know it is you! You don’t have to lie!”

(I try explaining that I don’t know who this person is, and that I have only had this number for two weeks, but she interrupts me.)

Caller: “I am with [Debt Collector Company], Mrs. [Stranger], and before I can go any further, I need to tell you that this call is monitored for quality assurance and this is an attempt to collect a debt. Any information purposes will be used to collect this debt.”

Me: “But I’m not—”

Caller: *interrupting me* “Now, you owe an outstanding balance of [balance] to [Major Credit Card Company]. Would you like to pay with a debit card or send in a check?”

Me: “Neither. I don’t owe you anything. I am 16 years old, and I’m not even old enough to have a credit card!”

(My dad, who has been listening to the entire conversation turns and looks at me. On the other end of the phone, the debt collector is laughing at what I just said.)

Caller: “Oh, sweetie! This ain’t kindergarten! Hasn’t your mommy or daddy warned you not to charge thousands of dollars on a credit card and not pay them back? You can’t expect to go through life and have everything to be handed to you. Do you really think I’m going to believe you, Mrs. [Stranger]? You will pay the [balance] in the full amount today, or I will sue you for your unpaid debts.”

(Having had enough, I hang up the phone and explain to my dad what just happened. He tells me next time they call to give the phone to him and he will handle it. Within the next couple of minutes, the same debt collector calls, and I hand my phone to my dad. He tells the debt collector to stop calling my number and that I am, indeed, only 16 years old, and we know no one with the name she’s looking for. After 15 minutes of arguing with her, the debt collector transfers him to the supervisor.)

Supervisor: “Hello, Mr. [Stranger]. This is [Supervisor] speaking. I understand you’re refusing to pay the debt your wife owes us?”

Dad: “Look, lady: you have the wrong number. Your employee called my 16-year-old daughter, has been harassing her to pay a debt that isn’t hers, and when my daughter told her she has the wrong number and she’s not the person you’re looking for, your employee told her that ‘this isn’t kindergarten’ and threatened to sue her. She doesn’t owe you anything. Now, either you can stop calling my daughter’s number, or I will report your company for harassment.”

(There was complete silence on the other line, and after a couple of moments the supervisor hung up the phone. They haven’t called back since!)

Rage Against The Human Machine

, , , , , | Working | February 23, 2018

(I work as an office assistant for a small company. We get a lot of spammy recorded calls of questionable origin. The phone rings and the caller ID is from an insurance company. It looks to me like it may be another recorded message, but I always pick up the phone in case it’s not.)

Me: “Hi, you’ve reached [Company].”

Caller: “Hello? Can you hear me?”

Me: “Yes?”

Caller: *long pause* “How are you doing today?”

(This is a common enough format for recorded calls that I ask outright:)

Me: “Is this a recording?”

(After another pause, he doesn’t respond to my question, and instead starts talking about where he’s calling from. Between the long pauses and ignoring my question, I figure it’s a recorded message and hang up. The phone immediately rings again from the same number. I don’t bother answering it, instead lifting the receiver and hanging it back up. This pattern goes on for some time, at least five times. I also hold the phone to my ear a couple of times before hanging it up and hear the same voice say, “Hello?” and, “Can you hear me?” but nothing unique enough to make me think this isn’t a sophisticated recording. I’ve heard that if you let a recorded call get far enough or even answer it at all they’ll keep calling you. I figure this is a particularly persistent and obnoxious one, and I guess I hope if I hang up on it enough it’ll stop. I probably should just let it go to the voicemail, but I hate letting the phone just ring. However, this pattern is now at the point where I can’t get anything done because of the constant calls. I snap and decide to try picking it up again)

Me: *picks up phone* “Hi, is this a real person?”

Caller: *same voice, but now exasperated* “Yes! I’ve been hung up on several times now. I’m trying to do an employer check for [Company Employee]. Who am I talking to?”

Me: *embarrassed now* “Oh… This is the office assistant, [My Name].”

Caller: “Can you tell me if I am speaking to the right person, or who I should speak with?”

Me: “The directors should be able to help you out. Let me transfer you.”

Caller: “That’d be great, thanks.”

(I was too embarrassed to apologize for hanging up on him so many times. Hopefully he didn’t give my boss an earful about his incompetent office person!)

No Hangups With Your Phone Style

, , , , , , , | Working | February 15, 2018

(My first real job is at a bakery. I answer the phone, but hear the line go dead about halfway through my welcome message.)

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

(The customer hangs up.)

Me: “We are not available to speak to you right now, so please speak slowly and clearly at the sound of the click.”

(I hang up. My boss literally stops with one foot in the air, looking HORRIFIED.)

Me: “Relax, man. They hung up.”

Boss: *sigh of relief, followed by a grin* “Whew. That was funny. Never do it again.”

Me: *salutes* “No problem! I work up a new gag each time.”

Vocabulary Is Dead

, , , | Working | February 13, 2018

(It’s late one night when we get a phone call on our landline. My mother insists on keeping the landline because she doesn’t trust cell phones, even though 90% of the calls we get on the landline are scams. This time the name of our insurance company pops up, which is odd, but since my father just passed away unexpectedly, I decide to answer.)

Me: “Hello, [Last Name] Residence!”

Caller: “Hi, my name is [Caller] calling from [Insurance Company]! Could I please speak to Mr. [Father] [A Very Wrong Version of Our Last Name]?”

(I am amused, but not surprised she pronounced our last name wrong, since it is very foreign. I am more amused that our insurance company is asking to speak to my deceased father, who has been gone for nearly three months now.)

Me: “Oh, he has passed away.”

Caller: “Are you sure?”

Me: “I am very sure.”

Caller: “Well, I need to speak to him.”

Me: “That is not going to be possible.”

Caller: “…”

Me: “Because he’s dead.”

Caller: “Are you sure?”

Me: “…”

Caller: “…”

Me: “Ma’am, can I ask you a question?”

Caller: “Of course!”

Me: “Do you know the definition of ‘deceased’?”

Caller: “…”

Me: “…”

Caller: “…”

Me: “He’s not available right now.”

Caller: *cheerily* “No problem; we will call back at a later date! Thank you for your time!”

What The Beep Is This?!

, , , , | Related | February 13, 2018

(Back in the mid-90s, my father discovered the joys of collect calling. Sadly, he is also very impatient and easily distracted, leading to several people and companies receiving calls like this:)

Recording: “You have a collect call from… uuuugh…”

Recording: “You have a collect call from…” *Dad trying to quiet my baby sister* “Shhh… Quiet, baby.”

Recording: “You have a collect call from… I’m waiting for the beep; I don’t hear a beep!”

(Surprisingly, all these calls were somehow accepted.)

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