It Makes Cents To Be Stern

, , , , , | Working | June 8, 2021

I recently moved in with my girlfriend. This means our combined income changed our eligibility for certain tax and municipality rebates, so I was prepared for letters from the city council. I was not prepared for how thorough this new city’s governance actually is.

Month #1: We received a sternly-worded letter stating that we would be receiving a letter regarding a council tax.

Month #2: We received a sternly-worded letter stating that the council tax would be reevaluated and we would be receiving a revised estimate.

Month #3a: We received a sternly-worded letter stating that we would be owing extra taxes and could expect an invoice and new estimate.

Month #3b: We received a brochure about our options if we could not repay right away.

Month #4: We received a sternly worded letter with an invoice attached.

Obviously, we made sure we repaid the eighty-three cents as soon as possible. 

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Customer Service Isn’t For Everyone

, , , | Working | June 7, 2021

I apply for a restaurant job through a temp agency. The agency invites me to come to an application session in Rotterdam, so I take public transport there from my hometown.

As it turns out, the job is not entirely suitable. The agent, however, does not simply want to give up on me.

Agent: “Maybe you could do work in customer service?”

Me: “Like, over the phone, you mean?”

Agent: “Yes, I do. Might suit you?”

Last year, I did some work at a telemarketing company. From that, I learned two things. First, I couldn’t cope with all the negative energy people fired at me. Second, I wasn’t very good at convincing people. So, obviously, customer service is not a field where I want to go. But I decide to be tactful.

Me: “I don’t know. I doubt that I have talent for that.”

Agent: “Well, I thought, you have a university degree, so you won’t let people talk you down easily.”

Me: *Short silence* “No, I’m actually not very good at that.”

So, having a degree automatically makes me steadfast and convincing?

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This Transaction Is Not Picture Perfect

, , , | Right | June 6, 2021

Customer: “Excuse me?”

Me: “Yes, sir, how may I help you?”

Customer: *Shows me a picture on their phone* “I have this bolt at home. Which size nut do I need?”

Me: “There is absolutely no way to tell the exact size of a bolt from a picture, sir.”

Customer: “Can’t you take a guess?”

Me: “No, sir. Since there’s nothing to compare the size to in the picture, it could be literally any size. And since bolts are measured very precisely anyway, I wouldn’t be comfortable taking a guess even if you put a ruler in the background. You need to either measure it or bring it in.”

Customer: “You’re no help! I’ll go find someone who knows what they’re talking about!”

I have had variations of this conversation about everything from curtain rods to machine parts.

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A Complete Mess

, , , | Right | June 2, 2021

I work in a thrift store and mostly handle the toy and games department. It’s unfortunately very common to see game boxes strewn around where the tape around the lid has been peeled off by customers. Today, I catch one in the act; a man is peeling off the tape from a poker set.

Me: “Sir, please do not remove the tape. All the inside contents are checked by me personally and I can tell you, it’s a complete set.”

Customer #1: “But I put the tape back! See? So no harm done!”

He smiles as he presses the tape back, but it’s obvious it doesn’t really stick anymore.

Me: “Yes, harm is done. I have to take it to the back and re-tape that now, or else the lid gets loose and what’s inside will fall out easily.”

Customer #1: *Still smiling* “No, it doesn’t! I put the tape back! Just like that, see? I just wanted to check if it’s complete!”

Me: “It’s still policy to leave the boxes shut, if you please. Like I said, the items are checked before going on a shelf.”

The man grumbles and puts the set back. A woman approaches me with another game. The box is partially see-through and contains a plastic penguin figure. 

Customer #2: “Good thing I heard you talking to that man! So, can you open this box for me to see if it’s complete? There are supposed to be playing cards in here but I don’t see them!”

Me: “I will also assure you, it’s complete. I remember that game and also wondered where the cards were, but at the bottom of the penguin is a little drawer slot that contains the cards. If it weren’t complete, it wouldn’t be on the shelf.”

Customer #2: “Well, I really want to make sure! Can you please check for me?”

Me: “Ma’am, it is checked. It’s all there.”

Customer #2: “I don’t believe you! What if I take it to the register and check it there?”

Me: “If you plan to purchase it, you can do with it as you wish after.”

Customer #2: “No, I won’t buy it if I don’t know for sure if it’s complete!”

She threw the box back on the shelf and left in a huff.

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Who Has Time For Coffee?!

, , , , , | Working | May 31, 2021

Our office helps other companies with their customer mail processing and other communications. In the morning, I do two important tasks. First, I have to sort out all the mail coming in so that my own department can start processing it, which is their daily work. After that, I have to sort out the mail for one specific company which outsourced their mailroom to us. A courier then picks up that mail and brings it to their head office.

The second job is big and complicated since the client company has loads of departments and people with different jobs. My predecessor in said mailroom did the job for several decades, so he knew practically everything, to an extent that it is impossible to teach me everything before his transfer. Luckily, the usual courier also has some knowledge and he can call certain people if necessary.

And then, the usual courier falls ill for a few weeks. His replacement is new, so unlike the usual courier, he can’t help to speed up the process. Instead, he just waits impatiently without making any small talk. One morning, he even arrives shortly before I can start with the sorting.

Replacement Courier: “Sorry I’m asking, but can’t you guys do this earlier, so it’s ready when I arrive?”

Me: *Aghast* “Erm, well, no… I’m the only one who can do it. And if I could do it earlier, I simply would.”

I was left wondering what he thought I was doing the entire morning. Later, he complained to the receptionist of the client company that at our place “they do nothing but drink coffee.” I was not amused. When the actual courier started to recover, the replacement was soon let go.

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