Karma As Smooth As Butter  

, , , , , , | Right | September 23, 2019

(I’m working the register on a very busy day. This register happens to have an extra-wide aisle for strollers, wheelchairs, etc., meaning that the one behind me has a slightly tighter aisle. I’ve just finished with a customer when a woman in a mobility scooter comes up next. Because there is a big queue, I immediately start scanning and moving things to the conveyor belt at the end. When I reach item #3, she shoves a bag in my hands.)

Customer: “Put it all in there.”

(Bagging is not a standard service in Holland, but if customers ask politely or clearly would have trouble with it — I get a lot of elderly people with hands disfigured from arthritis or rheumatism — I don’t mind. So, in this case, I swallow my annoyance at her tone and bag everything as I scan it.)

Me: “That will be €45.97, please.” *glancing at the conveyor belt at the end of my register* “It seems one pack of butter slipped through before I received your bag, sorry.”

(The rim of the collection area at the end is maybe 10cm high and the pack is completely in the corner on her side. A person with finger attached to their shoulders could probably pick it up without problems.)

Customer: “Are you f****** kidding me? You lazy brat! Can’t you see I’m handicapped?! You really have no manners! How dare you treat suffering people this way?!”

(Grudgingly, I get up and squeeze my way through the 15cm or so between the carts from the line behind me and my conveyor belt. It is either that or wait for several customers to pass since the path behind me is so small. I pick up the pack of butter, give myself a few more bruises squeezing my way back, put the butter in the bag, and notice some liquid coming out of a carton of eggs.)

Me: *with a voice that’s oozing with sugar* “There you go, madam. Have a wonderful day!”

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A Tiny Problem With That

, , , | Right | May 19, 2019

(My husband helps his brother-in-law with a shop at the local market. I sometimes drop by with my eight-months-pregnant belly and stand behind the desk, chatting with people. My husband is 21 and  I’m 23, but we both look way younger, while his 40-something brother-in-law is tall with a bigger build.)

Customer: “Oh, how nice! Is it your first?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, my first.”

Customer: “Is that the father?” *pointing at the brother-in-law*

Me: “Oh, no, the one with the black shirt on.”

Customer: “You mean the tiny one? But he is too young!”

(After that, she left, the brother-in-law laughed his a** off, and my husband looked defeated. Now every time he goes to work he won’t shave, so he can look older.)

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Unfiltered Story #128682

, , | Unfiltered | November 30, 2018

(I work for a roadside insurance company. I deal with phone calls from people who need help outside the Netherlands. Lots of things turned out to be very typical. One of these was quite often made by people who probably travelled from the Netherlands to Morocco by car (through France and Spain) and suffered a breakdown while on the way back:)

“But I can’t pay for the repair costs. The vacation was expensive and I haven’t got any money left.”

I understand that people want to have a vacation and I also understand people who like to visit their fatherland or family abroad. But is it really so hard to budget for emergency expenses? Like… not spending all your money?

The Long Summer Of Rental

, , , , , | Right | November 15, 2018

(We do roadside assistance insurance. Depending on what kind of insurance you have, we might cover the costs of a temporary replacement vehicle, but only if the repairs will take longer than 48 hours. If that is diagnosed, we look for a car at a car rental company. Since we deal with members traveling through Europe, these often need to be international rental cars. After one summer working at the company, I really hate the word “rental car.” Here are some examples why.)

Caller #1: “Why the h*** does it take so long for you guys to get my son another car? Come on; your company is so big! You have cars in stock in Europe…”

Me: “My colleagues are working on it, ma’am.”

Caller #1: “Oh, come on! Just make it happen! You are working at [Company], so don’t try to make me believe you can’t do it right now for me!”

Me: “I assure you that I can’t, ma’am. I’m not qualified, and I have never rented a car in my life.”

(Yes, because I work there, I’m supposed to push some button that makes a car available right now. Another example is people expecting service late at night and everything magically showing up in front of their face.)

Caller #2: “Will the people of the car rental pick me up here?”

(Also, some people not only expect the car to appear out of thin air, but they also misunderstand when my colleagues tell them the estimated time they will call back.)

Caller #3: “Hey. I was told there would be a rental car here in an hour, but I still don’t see anything.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. Sometimes it just takes a little longer. I heard things are very busy in Germany today. You’d better make sure you find a place to stay.”

Caller #3: “WHAT?! THIS CANNOT BE! I’M HERE ON THE STREET WITH ALL OF MY STUFF BECAUSE THE GARAGE IS CLOSED! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO NOW? I HAVE TO BE BACK AT WORK TOMORROW! REALLY, YOU CAN’T DO THIS! I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I really can’t help this. But Google Maps shows there’s a hotel very close to you, a few streets away.”

Caller #3: “HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WALK THERE WITH MY STUFF? AND I’VE ONLY GOT ROMANIAN MONEY WITH ME!”

Me: “Do you perhaps have a credit card, sir?”

Caller #3: “HA, AS IF THEY WOULD TAKE A ROMANIAN CREDIT CARD! YOU KNOW WHAT? I’LL WALK THERE, BUT I’LL TAKE A PICTURE OF MY STUFF. IF I GET BACK AND ANYTHING IS MISSING, I’M HOLDING YOU GUYS RESPONSIBLE!”

Me: “We can’t help this situation, either, sir. Do you want to know how to get to the hotel or not?”

Caller #3: “You know what? I’ll just hang up and call back, and then I’ll get another guy on the phone!” *click*

(Apparently, we are responsible for his poor preparation and his far-too-high expectations? Finally, there are also people who REALLY don’t get the 48-hour rule.)

Caller #4: “Hello, I had a breakdown a few weeks ago, in Germany. I rented a car, but how do I get compensation for that from you guys?”

Me: “Let me check the file, sir. Um… I see you had a breakdown on [date]. You rented the car yourself, sir?”

Caller #4: “Yes. But I can get the money back through my insurance, right?”

Me: “Well, sir, sometimes that’s possible, if later it turns out to take over 48 hours to repair. But I see the car was ready next day, is that right?”

Caller #4: “Yes, but because of that I had to wait, anyway.”

Me: “I understand, sir. But if the car was ready the next day, the repair clearly took under 48 hours. A replacement vehicle is only covered if it takes over 48 hours.”

Caller #4: “Yes, but I had to wait, anyway.”

Me: “I heard you the first time, sir. But under 48 hours, the costs of a rental car aren’t covered. I’m sorry.”

Caller #4: *some vague sounds implying the caller has gotten angry and handed the phone to his wife while arguing with her*

(And all of this… only a few examples of a very tiresome summer!)

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Usurping The Border

, , , | Right | October 19, 2018

(I get a phone call from one of our client members.)

Member: “Hello, we’re here in Germany, at Rees, and our car broke down. Our membership number is [number].”

(I fill in the number. It shows a roadguard insurance for Netherlands only.)

Me: “I see you only have insurance for the Netherlands, sir. Is that right?”

Member: “Yes, but we are very close to the border. About twenty kilometres.”

(I look up the location.)

Me: “That’s true, yes. Hm… You’re still out of the country, but I might be able to do something. Can you hold, sir?”

Member: “Yes.”

(I go and talk to my superior about this.)

Me: “One of our members has broken down in Germany, very close to the border. But he only has an insurance policy for help in the Netherlands.”

Member: “Hm. There is a policy of sending out Dutch roadguard to certain German areas close to the border. But it really has to be the right area. You should call the inland department to ask them. If it’s the right zone, we could tow them to the Netherlands, out of courtesy.”

(Courtesy indeed, since they officially have no policy for help in foreign countries. I call the inland department, and tell the story.)

Colleague: “I’m sorry. I can’t put the location through. They’re clearly in the wrong zone.”

Me: “All right, then. At least we tried. Thank you.”

(I go back to the client, who is still on hold.)

Me: “Sir, I’m sorry, but it turns out we can’t send out a Dutch road guard over there, due to legal jurisdictions and everything. The only thing I can do is text you the phone number of the German road guard. That way, you could at least receive some help.”

Member: “And we have to pay for that ourselves?”

Me: “Yes, sir. I’m very sorry, but your insurance does not cover for help on foreign soil. But I’ll be texting you the phone number of the German road guard.”

Member: “Well, I think I won’t use it. I’ll just contact a local towing company. I mean, it’s all good that you usurp all these bureaucratic rules, but to be honest, I’m quite fed up with this! We’ve been members for years, and this is no service!”

(I’m still not quite sure what he meant with us “usurping” rules. Later I recount the story to another coworker.)

Coworker: “I don’t get the man. Either you have an insurance or not. If you don’t have a fire insurance and your house burns down, you won’t go to your health insurance, will you?”

(I’m still quite amazed that he blamed us for not being insured himself. And that, with all the effort I put in it, he still acted as if I hadn’t done anything.)

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