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Jumper To The Realization

, , , , , | Right | July 19, 2021

I’m waiting in the side lot of a superstore for my groceries to be brought out to my car. It’s so backed up that I wind up waiting a while for my groceries, and during the wait, my car battery dies.

I go around the parking lot for about an hour asking if anyone has jumper cables, but no luck. I call roadside assistance and they say it’ll be about an hour and a half for someone to come out, so I sit on a curb and just wait.

It isn’t long before it dawns on me that, in fact, I am in the parking lot of a store that sells everything I need to get my car running again, so I run inside and buy a $15 set of jumper cables and ask one more car if they could help me jump it, and they agree to help.

Five minutes later, my car is running like new and I’m on my way home. Once I’m settled on my couch, I call the number for roadside assistance to cancel the service, hold for about ten minutes, and finally get a representative.

Me: “Hello! I called earlier and asked for help with a dead car battery. I would just like to cancel that service request.”

Representative: “Okay, sure. For the driver’s report, may I ask why you’d like to cancel?”

Me: “Well, it’s kind of silly, but while I was waiting for the service, it clicked that I was in the parking lot of a store that sold jumper cables, so I just bought some and the car next to me was able to help get me running again. I’m sorry for the trouble, but I’m all set!”

The rep had a good laugh at my slow thinking and was still giggling when she got my request cancelled and disconnected the call.

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Customer Service Is Going Downhill

, , , , , , | Working | March 30, 2021

I am at University in the 1980s, living in a shared house at the top of a long hill. Although money is tight, I am just about able to afford to own and run an old car. I even manage to get enough money together to get basic car breakdown coverage.

One morning, I find my car will not start, so I call the breakdown service. After giving my membership number and current location, there is a pause, and then the telephone representative comes back to me, very apologetic.

Representative #1: “I’m sorry, sir, but it seems your car is currently located at your home address and you do not have the optional ‘home start’ coverage.”

Me: “So, how far from home do I need to be for my basic coverage to kick in?”

Representative #1: “At least a mile, sir.”

Me: “Thank you.”

I hung up, went back into the house, and rounded up my housemates, who helped me push the car onto the road and face it down the hill.

Ten minutes later, I phoned the breakdown service again.

Representative #2: “And where is your car currently located, sir?”

Me: “At the bottom of [Road], about one and a quarter miles from my home.”

The breakdown service arrived fifteen minutes later and my car was started.

This story is part of our Best Of March 2021 roundup!

Read the next Best Of March 2021 roundup story!

Read the Best Of March 2021 roundup!

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Needs More Assistance Than We Can Provide

, , , | Right | March 18, 2021

I work at a call center for roadside assistance. Weekend nights are generally fun, with the usual complement of drunk or intoxicated people, but this is one I’ve never heard before. My coworker takes the call, so I only hear his side of the conversation. Some excerpts:

Coworker: “No, sir, I need your license plate before we send someone out; we need to look up your contract information.”

Coworker: “Where do we need to go? Your address?” *Pauses* “And what is your address, sir?” *Pauses* “No, we don’t know your address.” *Pauses* “You don’t want to give it? Then we can’t send anyone to help you.” *Pauses* “Why not? Because we don’t know where to go.”

Coworker: “Could you give me your phone number so we can contact you if necessary?” *Pauses* “What do you mean, a conspiracy? A conspiracy using your cell phone? Sir, we just want to be able to contact you, nothing more.”

As if we’d sell his number to a telemarketer…

Coworker: “Well, then, do you have a home phone we could call?” *Pauses* “Your phone is tapped? And you don’t want people to hear your conversations?”

On a phone call. Which is recorded for quality purposes, as indicated at the start of the conversation.

And on and on… I was nearly doubled over laughing; my coworker not so much!

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They’re Gradually Driving You Insane, Part 2

, , , | Right | October 26, 2020

We get a lot of calls from customers who have a light or other indication on their dashboard. Before sending someone out, we try to troubleshoot on the phone to see if it warrants towing the car. This customer, who sounds like she’s in her fifties at least, makes me wonder how she ever got her driver’s license.

Customer: “I have two green arrows on my dashboard. I don’t know what they mean, but I think they have something to do with my headlights.”

Me: “Two green arrows? Do you mean your hazard lights?”

Customer: “I don’t know what they are. They just started burning.”

Me: “And if you push the button for the hazard lights, do they go out?”

Customer: “What button?”

Me: “The red button with a triangle in the middle of your car’s dashboard.”

Customer: “Where?”

Cue me pushing the “mute” button on my phone and asking my colleagues if this is an April Fool’s joke in June.

Me: “In the middle of your dashboard, near your vents and your gear shift.”

Customer: “I don’t have a gear shift; it’s an automatic.”

Me: “Near your right hand, then. A button with a triangle on it, probably red.”

Customer: “What button?”

It took five whole minutes of me alternately explaining what the button looked like, in my most patient and polite voice, followed by pushing the mute button and swearing, until she pushed A button — she still didn’t know which one — and the green arrows went out. I believe the average road user IQ went down a few points that day.

They’re Gradually Driving You Insane

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You Can Tow A Horse To Water…

, , , , | Working | May 26, 2020

I work for a towing company that starts up in October 2016. This is exactly one day after it opens up, and all we offer right now is roadside assistance like jumpstarts and tire changes. We don’t have any tow trucks to drive quite yet, though we do have “Towing” in our company name. 

We’re also contracted with a large insurance company, and apparently this customer got a card from her insurance company that had our number on it for her roadside assistance program.

Me: “[Towing Company], how can I help you?”

Customer: “Hi. I’m calling ’cause I got into an accident. What do I do?”

Me: “Have you called your local police to report it?”

Customer: “Yes, but I need a tow.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but all we provide is roadside assistance services like jumpstarts and lockouts. We aren’t capable of providing towing service. When the police arrive on scene, they can call you a tow truck.”

Customer: “Isn’t this [Towing Company]?”

Me: “Yes, but we don’t offer towing services yet. We still don’t have the permits or trucks to do so.”

Customer: “But my insurance gave me your number. It’s on my card. Are you calling [Insurance Provider] liars?”

Me: “No, but that number is probably there for more minor roadside inconveniences. If you had a flat tire, I could help you, but all I can suggest is that you wait for the police to arrive or to call your insurance provider and have them call you a tow truck.”

Customer: “I’m going to report you to [Insurance Provider] and make sure they never use your towing service again!” *Hangs up*

Me: “But we don’t even do towing.”

Towing started up a month later. We’ve never had that person on our records since as far as I could tell.

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