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Tell Me What You Want Without Telling Me What You Want

, , , | Right | October 8, 2021

We sell tickets to the theatre, musicals, and various events.

Me: “[Ticketing Bureau], [My Name] speaking. How may I help you?”

Customer: “What was your name again?”

I know this isn’t going to be a fast call.

Me: “It’s [My Name with a spelling of my last name].”

The caller is obviously writing things down. I hear papers shuffling.

Customer: “Thank you, [My Name]. I’m calling because I ordered tickets for [Musical] on [date] for [seat numbers] with your coworker, [Coworker]. I called at [time].”

A few seconds pass as I wait for him to continue. He doesn’t. 

Me: “All right, and what can I help you with today?”

Customer: “Well, I ordered tickets for [Musical] on [date] for [seat numbers] with your coworker, [Coworker]. I called at [time].”

Me: “Okay, but what can I help you with today?”

Customer: *Slightly annoyed* “I ordered tickets for [Musical] on [date] for [seat numbers] with your coworker, [Coworker]. I called at [time].”

Me: “I get that, sir, but I don’t know why you are calling right now.”

Customer: “Oh, I haven’t gotten my tickets.”

Me: “Oh, I can see how that can be a problem. Were you supposed to receive them by email or by post?”

Customer: *Deep annoyed sigh* “Let me start again. I ordered tickets for—”

I now interrupt, which kind of goes against my morals, but this call is getting long and he is paying forty-five cents a minute.

Me: “I get that, sir, but I just need to know how you were going to receive them so I know where to check.”

Customer: “Oh, by post.”

Me: “All right, sir. Let me look at your account to see if they already went out. May I have your postal code and house number?”

Customer: *Now clearly annoyed* “We are registered in every single system. I have an account with you guys. You should be able to see my address in my account where the tickets got sent to.”

Me: “I understand, sir, but to pull up your account, I need to input the postal code and house number. It doesn’t pull up your account automatically.”

Customer: “Well, I don’t see how you…”

A female in the background tells him to stop being so annoyed.

Customer: “Uh, yeah. It’s [postal code and house number].” 

Me: “All right, I see that the tickets got sent to [address] about a month ago.”

The customer tries to bluster again, but I don’t stop talking.

Me: “Clearly you didn’t receive them, so I’ll send them again. Can I send them to the same address or would you like to receive them somewhere else?’

Customer: *Sheepish* “Same address is fine.”

Me: “All right, since it’s already later in the evening, they will get sent tomorrow. If you haven’t received them in three postal days, please let us know. We will then make sure you can pick up the tickets at the theatre before the show. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Customer: “No.”

I hear more of the female voice.

Customer: “Thank you for your help.”

Me: “Have a good day, sir.”

Female Voice: “Sorry for him being a pain!”

Sadly, Notes Like This Are Very Foreseen

, , | Right | October 1, 2021

As a student, my sister had a job at a small tourist information center. During graveyard shifts, only one or two people were scheduled there.

Once, the graveyard shift was being covered by a couple who both had to call off due to the unexpected death of a relative or friend. Since no one could be found to cover up in time, the center had to be closed early. Management put up a note on the door.

Management: “Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are unfortunately closed today. Our apologies for any inconvenience.”

The next day, when the center opened up again, it turned out someone had put a second note next to the first one, from the outside.

Guest: “This is a very big disappointment for us. We really planned to come in here today to make some purchases and get some information. So, yes, this is very inconvenient for us. I hope you take note of that!”

Two pieces of advice to people who write notes like this. First of all, “unforeseen circumstances” is a euphemism for an unexpected family crisis or illness or whatever. The point is, it is for something very serious and private, which is NONE of your business. Respect that.

Secondly, putting up this kind of note doesn’t make you smart or noticed; it makes you seem entitled and arrogant. Your business will not be missed.

It Really Is A Small World After All

, , , | Romantic | October 1, 2021

My husband and I jokingly say that we encounter people from the town we grew up in everywhere we go. We now live twenty kilometers from that town. For instance, we met my father on a stretch of road fifty meters long on the other side of the country when we both didn’t know we would be there. We also encountered my parents-in-law when we were out cycling one day on a road close to us, where my parents-in-law had never been before, and they had no idea we would be there.

When we go to an island for our holiday, the first person we meet is our former neighbour from [Town]. A few days later, we are out walking in the dunes, on a path where clearly not many people go. From a distance, I spot a brightly coloured stone. It’s been painted and it’s a Happy Stone (which can be taken away and left somewhere else). I go and grab it. It’s beautiful and I’m really happy with it. I turn it over and read, “Happy Stones [Town].”

I can’t help but laugh out loud about it.

Me: “[Husband], remember how we always say we find people from [Town] everywhere?”

Husband: “Yes?”

Me: “Look!”

He found it just as funny as I did.

Behind Every Wrong Customer Is A Long-Suffering Wife

, , | Right | September 28, 2021

I do tech service for a cable provider for TV, Internet, and phone. A customer calls in about his phone not working, but I can’t see any phone subscription in the account I got from his phone number.

Me: “I’m sorry, but are you sure you got a phone subscription with us? I only see TV and Internet on your account.”

Customer: “Of course I have a phone subscription with you. It’s always something with this line. Why do I even have it? The line doesn’t work more often than it does, and if it works, the line is bad.”

Me: “I’m very sorry, but I really can’t find anything about a phone line.”

Customer’s Wife: *In the background* “Honey, we’re with [Other Well-Known Phone Provider].”

Customer: “Oh, sorry.” *Hangs up*

At least he apologised for his mistake. If he hadn’t hung up, I’d have gladly hooked him up with our services.

Better Use It Carefully Or It Could Change Your Life!

, , , , , , | Learning | September 28, 2021

In university, my minor is in Translation. At the start of the first seminar of one of the courses, the teacher has us fill out a questionnaire. Some of the questions are straightforward and their purpose is clear, like, “Why are you interested in translation?” or, “What are your source and target languages?” (These are, respectively, the language you’ll be translating from and the one you’ll be translating into — in my case, English and Dutch.)

Other questions are less straightforward, like, “What is your favorite word in your source language?” (For the record, it’s “defenestrate”.) And then there’s this question:

Question: “Which words from your source language do you think native speakers would find hard to spell?”

Um… what? How am I supposed to know what words native English speakers find hard to spell, not being a native speaker of English myself? I ponder this question a bit, and all I can come up with is “knowledge” because it is spelled differently from its pronunciation, but again, I don’t know! The questionnaire is asking for multiple words, though, so I continue thinking, but I’m stuck.

All that’s going through my mind is the commercial I saw right before I went to class, for “Mary Poppins,” the musical. I start tapping along to “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” trying to think of difficult English words. And then it hits me. THAT is a word that would be difficult to spell! Feeling a little mischievous, thoroughly done with this weird question, and also wondering what my teacher will make of it, I write Mary Poppins’ magical word down and hand in my questionnaire.

At the next seminar, the teacher returns our questionnaires with feedback. Next to my musically inspired answer is a question mark.

Teacher: “If you have any questions about my feedback, please ask them now.”

Me: “I have one, ma’am. What does this question mark next to question fourteen mean?”

Teacher: “Oh, yes, that. You know, you weren’t supposed to make up words for that question, [My Name].”

I’m puzzled that the teacher, who has kids, is apparently unfamiliar with this movie.

Me: “I didn’t? It’s from Mary Poppins.”

Before the teacher can respond, one of my classmates groans.

Classmate #1: “Did you seriously write down ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’?”

Me: “Yep!”

Now the teacher is the puzzled one.

Teacher: “This is really a word?”

Classmate #2: “It’s a song, ma’am.” *Starts singing* “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious…”

I and several other classmates fall in and sing the chorus and others start laughing and clapping along, until most of the class ends up singing,

Class: “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”

We’re all laughing, while the teacher is looking at us like we’ve all turned purple.

Teacher: *Bewildered* “Okay, I guess it’s a word. You can ignore that question mark, [My Name].”