Sometimes, Ignorance Really Is Bliss

, , , , , | Right | April 30, 2009

(A customer has called to redeem the points earned on her credit card in exchange for return airfare from Montreal, Quebec, to Chicago, Illinois. I have just given her the flight departure and arrival times.)

Customer: “Why is the flight going there so short? You said it was a 90-minute flight.”

Me: “The times are given in their respective time zones. We are in the Eastern time zone, but Chicago is one hour behind us, and it’s in the Central time zone. The flight really is 90 minutes long, it just looks shorter due to the time difference.”

Customer: “Time… zones?”

Me: “Yes, we have five time zones: Maritimes, Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific Time. In your case, there is a one hour difference between each zone. If it is 11:00 am here, it is only 10:00 am in Chicago. So when your flight arrives in Chicago at 11:30 am, that is Chicago time. In Montreal it will actually be 12:30 pm, so the flight is an hour and a half.”

Customer: “Then why is the return flight so long? It’s like, an hour longer than the way there!”

Me: “Again, it is the difference between the time zones, only in reverse. It only looks as though the flight is longer but it’s also a 90-minute flight. It adds an hour on the return flight because you are coming back East.”

Customer: “I still don’t get it; the flight should be the same time in both directions. It’s 30 minutes to get there, but more than two hours to get back!”

(After 20 minutes of more explaining I give up.)

Me: “For the flight to Chicago, the wind is at your back, so the plane goes really fast. On the way back, it’s against the wind, and so the plane goes slower.”

Customer: “Oh! Well, that makes much more sense. Thank you!”

Me: “I do my best. Have a good trip, ma’am.”

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I Came, I Complained, I Became An Employee

, , , | Right | April 29, 2009

Customer: “I’d like a table for two, please.”

Me:” For two? All right, it should only be about a minute. We have some tables being cleaned right now.”

Customer: “Oh, okay.”

(Thirty seconds later…)

Customer: “Oh, my god! What is taking so long?!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, our busser is still cleaning the table. He should be done in a couple of minutes.”

Customer: “Ugh! Well, this is just taking forever. Y’know, at my house, it wouldn’t take me this long to clean up my table!”

Me: “Umm… want a job?”

Customer: “What?! Oh… that was good.” *smiles*

(After that, she calmly waited for the table to be cleaned.)

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Eastern Standard Time Travelers

, , | Right | April 28, 2009

(I received this call shortly after news broke about the emergency landing of a US Airways flight on the Hudson.)

Me: “Thank you for calling customer service. How may I help you today?”

Customer: “Did you hear about the plane that crashed into the Hudson River just a few moments ago?”

Me: “There was a plane crash? Oh, my… was anyone hurt?”

Customer: “No, they all lived. I’m surprised you haven’t heard about it yet. Where are you located?”

Me: “Well, I don’t have access to a television to see the current news. I am in Oregon.”

Customer: “Well, no wonder you haven’t heard of it happening yet. It happened in New York, which is three hours ahead of you!”

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The Land Of Surf, Sun, And Time Dilation

, , | Right | March 13, 2009

Me: “Thank you for calling [Call Center]. This is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Customer: “Yes, I’d like to place an order.”

Me: “I’d be happy to do that for you; however, our ordering system is down. If you’d like to call back in fifteen minutes, someone can help you with that.”

Customer: “Okay, so is it fifteen minutes Hawaii time or your time?”

Me: “No… just fifteen minutes… I’m pretty sure that’s the same no matter where you are, ma’am.”

Customer: “Oh! Okay, thanks.”

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Patience (Not) Be Thy Name

, , , | Right | February 16, 2009

(Note: this call takes place at 2:15 pm.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Cable Company]. How may I help you today?

Caller: “I was supposed to have a tech out here between two pm and four pm! Where the h*** is he?

Me: “Sir, the tech is scheduled for any time between the hours of two and four, so he is not late. He is on his way.”

Caller: “I want a credit for the install fee. I shouldn’t have to pay an install fee if the tech is late.”

Me: “Sir, he is not late. He has until four pm to get there.”

Caller: “I want to speak to a supervisor now!”

Me: “I am sorry, sir, but a supervisor will tell you the same thing…”

Caller: “I don’t wanna talk to you! You don’t know what you are doing! Give me a supervisor, now!”

Me: “No, I will not do that.”

Caller: “You have to! It’s the law!”

Me: “No, it isn’t; it isn’t even company policy. You can wait for the tech, or you can cancel the appointment. Which would you like to do?”

Caller: “Oh… the tech is here.” *click*

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