Vending Some Hope For Humanity

, , , , , , | Hopeless | March 16, 2018

The week before Christmas, my brother-in-law and his family stayed with us for a few days. They wanted to meet up with his grandmother while they were here, so we tried to think of a warm place to sit and visit with her. We decided on the lobby of one of the buildings on Temple Square, since it was near Grandma’s apartment. We also wanted to visit the Light the World vending machines in that lobby. These were five charitable vending machines that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints had temporarily placed that allowed the user to choose specific donations to some organizations.

When we arrived at the lobby, we found that a local high school madrigal group was performing Christmas carols. We very much enjoyed visiting quietly on the ground floor while the choir sang in the mezzanine above. As we neared the time we had to leave for other appointments, my nieces and nephew were steered toward the vending machines to choose their gifts for the charity.

One niece chose 100 meals for the food bank. The other chose a pair of glasses for the eye-care group. As my four-year-old nephew was trying to choose his gift (he eventually chose to help the water charities), I realized the choir had stopped singing. I looked around to find that most of those teenagers had joined us at the vending machines, even having to stand in line to reach them. They had just finished their third of five concerts in various buildings on Temple Square that same day, and instead of resting or visiting the small cafe in that same lobby, they had come to spend their money on other people. No one forced them. No one was watching to make sure the money wasn’t used elsewhere. They chose to do it.

Makes you think there’s hope for the future, after all.

Working On Different Prints-iples

, , , , , | Right | February 27, 2018

(I’m the receptionist for a corporate office. Our company is primarily retail, and we have a customer service line and online chat room, yet people always try to bypass those and call me for help.)

Caller: “I’m looking for a [Popular Artist] print. I tried customer service before, and they told me they had the painting at my local store, but when I got there they were asking $500 for it! I said, ‘I don’t want to buy the whole store!’ you know? Ha ha ha! I want to find a cheaper print.”

Me: “Okay, so, you already checked with customer service?”

Caller: “Yeah, I did, but they sent me to my local store.” *he repeats the above, verbatim*

Me: “Well, I just checked our website, and it looks like there are several different-size prints in stock, so I apologize for the confusion. I’m sure customer service just misunderstood what you wanted. I’ll transfer you back to them—”

Caller: “The confusion is probably because [recently deceased Religious Leader in the area] was a hell-raiser. He probably went in and changed the website to mess with everyone.”

(He laughs as if I’m without a doubt thinking the same thing. Since I’m not sure why he thinks a religious leader would mess with a retail company’s website, and I happened to really respect said recently-deceased religious leader, I don’t laugh.)

Me: “All right, well, let me connect you back to customer service, and they can find that print for you. Or, if they say that we really don’t have it, then you can find all of [Popular Artist]’s works on his website. The web address is—”

Caller: “No, no, no. I don’t do computers.”

Me: “…”

Caller: “And I’ll tell you why! Because I didn’t have them growing up. I didn’t have them in college. I didn’t have them in 45 years of business. So, I don’t do computers. The only time I use a computer is to play solitaire, because that’s all they’re good for. I don’t do computers.”

Me: *pause* “All right, then—”

Caller: “Is there someone intelligent there that I can talk to?”

Me: *through gritted teeth* “Just let me transfer you to customer service.”

Caller: *as if he didn’t just insult me* “Thank you very much for your help, ma’am!”

(Apparently liking computers and not laughing at the expense of the dead makes me unintelligent?)

Setting Precedent For The President

, , , , , | Right | February 25, 2018

(I used to work at a call center that was contracted with a health insurance company. As you can imagine, I got a lot of “interesting” phone calls. This is probably one of the more unusual calls I ever took.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Insurance Company]. My name is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Customer: *with a thick Southern accent* “Yeah, can I please talk to the president of [Insurance Company]?”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. I’m unable to connect you with the president of [Insurance Company].”

Customer: “Why? Is he too busy with his coffee break to speak to me? Do you even know who I am?”

Me: “Again, I’m sorry, but I have no way to transfer you to our corporate office.”

Customer: “Well, that’s just silly. Is there anyone there I can talk to?”

Me: “I would be happy to assist you today, ma’am. How can I help—”

Customer: *cutting me off* “No, I don’t want to speak to you. You’re being uncooperative. Can I talk to the president of [Insurance Company], please?”

Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way, but as I said before, customer service does not have the direct number to [Insurance Company]’s corporate office.”

Customer: “Then let me speak to your manager.”

Me: “All right, I’ll be right back with him.”

(By this point, I’m getting a little frustrated. I grab my manager, and he hooks up my headset to his headset so that I can listen to the conversation. It’s a common practice where I work to observe and listen to a manager de-escalating an issue.)

Manager: “Thanks so much for holding. My name is [Manager] and I’m [My Name]’s manager. How can I help you?”

Customer: “GET ME THE PRESIDENT OF [Insurance Company] NOW!”

Manager: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I can’t do that. I can help you with whatever you need.”

Customer: *suddenly cheery* “Oh, all right!”

(For the remainder of the phone call, the customer was cheery and cooperative. Turns out she actually had a complicated billing issue that my manager had to send to another department for resolution. We still don’t know why she was so adamant to speak to the president of the company, though.)

This Aunt Gets Around

, , , , , , | Friendly | February 20, 2018

(I work in a church. During busy times, we often take on extra shifts as hosts. That means we sometimes meet people who work completely different schedules.)

Guest Host: “Did I hear you were a missionary in California?”

Me: “Yes, in the San Fernando area.”

Guest Host: “Oh, which cities?”

Me: “Van Nuys, Sylmar, San Fernando, Palmdale…”

Guest Host: “I used to spend summers in Palmdale, working for relatives! Do you know [Man]?”

Me: “I don’t, but I was in the Spanish-speaking congregation there.”  

Guest Host: “Oh. And he speaks English.”

Me: “I have a friend from Palmdale with that last name. Is he related to [Friend]?”

Guest Host: “Yes, and I’m her aunt!”

(The next week, I mention this to another host.)

Host: “Well, I’m from California, but up by Oakland.”

Me: “Oh, my aunt lives in Piedmont, so I know that area.”

Host: “Who’s your aunt?”

Me: “[Aunt].”

Host: “She and I used to babysit each other’s children!”

(The world is sometimes extremely small.)

Unfiltered Story #104920

, , | Unfiltered | February 4, 2018

A minor note before I go into this story. I work in tech support. We’re not talking the “have you rebooted it” outsourced type, but serious tech support. The kind that deals with digging through code to fix issues, patching, and some hardware support.

Recently I found myself thinking about upgrading my graphics card, not because I really needed one, but I thought it’d be just a nice change compared to what I had. So with that in mind, I headed down to the local big box tech store on my way home after work. I head inside, wander back to the parts department, and start looking through the shelves for the specific card I’d had my eye on. It’s about this time that one of the salesmen approached.

Sales: Finding everything you need?

Me: Not entirely sure.

Sales: Well what do you need help with?

Me: I’m looking at getting a new Graphics Card, but…

Sales: (Cutting me off) Well, it depends what you’re doing with it. Take this (Grabs a cheap card) It’s good for most things, but you don’t want that. Nah, you need this. (Grabs the most expensive card.)

Me: You think so huh?

Sales: Oh yeah. I’m an expert!

Me: -muttering “sure you are.”- (aloud): I get that you’re trained in these things to some degree, but you didn’t let me finish explaining the issue.

Sales: -rolling his eyes- Oh, go on then.

Me: As I was about to say, I’m looking for a Graphics Card, but I’m not sure what kind of connector this type has or if it’s for a Laptop or Tower. It doesn’t say it on the box, and I need a specific type to fit my system.

Sales: They’re all the same thing! I don’t know what gives you the idea they’re different.

Me: Education, training, experience…

Sales: What?

Me: Ever hear of [well known tech support company]?

Sales: And?

Me: (producing badge) I’m a technical support agent for them. So yeah, the connections are different. I don’t need the up sell into something more expensive than what I want, and I don’t need the condescending “I know everything” attitude. I just need to know what kind of connection this is, or if it’s for a Laptop or tower.

Sales: Whatever. They’re the same <censored> thing! Here. (Grabbing a box off the shelf.) That’s the one you want.

With that he left.

I ended up having to go back a second time, returning the one he picked up when I found out that yes, it was a Laptop card. I also had a long talk with the department’s manager, and the store manager about my experience. They ended up trading me the PC version (which was 50 bucks more) even for the laptop card I’d picked up, and assured me that they were going to have a long sit down with that employee. I got the impression that this wasn’t the first time something like that had happened.

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