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It’s Only A Paper Solution

| Working | August 15, 2016

(I have been reassigned to a separate group that also has brought back several retirees to perform jobs that they had done prior to retiring. I work with them, not for them, and have already been noticed for my problem solving skills and computer expertise.)

Retiree: “I keep trying to print out this wiring diagram and the printer keeps jamming up.”

Me: “Okay, I’ll have a look.”

(I proceed to clear out all the jammed paper from the copier, making sure every spot and roller is paper free. I then close up the machine to let it reattempt. It almost immediately jams up again. Finally, it dawns on me. The paper that wiring diagrams are normally printed on are on 11 X 17 paper; what’s jamming up the printer is pages of 8.5 X 14. I open up the tray that normally has 11 X 17 in it. Someone has grabbed the smaller size paper from the box right next to the printer and had just tossed them into the tray, missing the correct sized stuff one box further away. Considering the only person besides myself to have gone near the printer that day was the retiree, I suspect the obvious.)

Me: “Who put this wrong sized paper into the 11 X 17 tray?”

Retiree: “…I have no idea.”

Your Neighbor Is About To Be Dead Pool

| Friendly | June 19, 2016

(My stepfather works for the water company and relates this story. Unfortunately this happens on a regular basis:)

Customer: “How can my water bill be so high? I’ve been on vacation for weeks!”

Customer Service Rep: “Does your neighbor have a pool?”

There Is No Plus Side To This

| Right | May 24, 2016

Customer: “I want to complain about your meter readers. They didn’t come in the period they were supposed to.”

Me: “Okay, let me check… So, your scheduled read date was March 22, plus or minus two business days. Our records show the readers attended on March 25 but the gate was locked.”

Customer: “Of course it was. That’s outside of the window.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but it isn’t; the 25th is two business days after the 23rd.”

Customer: “NO. Where it says plus or minus two business days, that means it’s one day either side, two extra business days, up to three business days total. What are you, stupid?”

Me: “I’m afraid that’s not the case. Plus or minus two business days means it can be up to two business days either side, a total of five business days.”


Me: “Ma’am, out of curiosity, what would you assume it meant if we’d written plus or minus one business day?”

(Long silence.)

Customer: “F*** YOU!” *click*”

I Can Write You A Cheque But It Will All Come To Naught

, | Working | April 14, 2016

(I receive a bill from the electric company for £0.00. Thinking that as there is nothing to pay, and I don’t have to do anything, I ignore it. A week or so later, a letter from a debt collection agency arrives, saying that the bailiffs will come to take items worth the sum of the unpaid debt unless it is paid. I call the electric company and explain.)

Me: “…so as there’s nothing to pay, I don’t owe you anything.”

Company Rep: “I’m sorry, sir, but unless we receive payment we will have send the debt collectors. Unpaid bills are a serious…”

Me: “But the bill is for NAUGHT pounds and NAUGHT pence. There is no money. The debt collectors can come if they want, I don’t know what they can take to the value of NAUGHT pounds and NAUGHT pence.”

Company Rep: “We will still need a payment, though…”

(Realising I’m not getting anywhere, I send them a cheque for £0.00. It seemed to satisfy the electric company, and no bailiffs ever appeared!)

A Heated Debate

| Working | March 3, 2016

(I move into a new rental house early in January and call to get the electricity put into my name. The overall account is still under my landlord’s name, but the bill gets sent to me. All goes well until about two weeks after we all settle in, when there is a knock on the door.)

Me: “Hey, what can I do for you?”

Representative #1: “I’m here to disconnect your electricity.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Representative #1: “Your bill is overdue, and has been for 4 weeks now, so I’m here to shut your electric off.”

Me: “That can’t be right. Are you sure you have the right house? We just moved in two weeks ago and haven’t even gotten our first bill yet.”

Representative #1: “It’s [Street Address], right?”

Me: “Yes, that’s right, but I don’t understand how our bill can be overdue if we’ve not received one yet. We haven’t lived here a month and we can’t go without electric right now. It’s the middle of January. We’ll freeze!”

Representative #1: “Well, what I can do is put a 24 hour hold on this property. Your electric will stay on for today, but they’ll send me out again tomorrow if your bill isn’t paid, and I can’t put a second hold on it again. The system won’t let me. Here’s the number to the office. Call them and see what the problem is.”

Me: *panicked* “Okay. Thank you very much.”

(I call the number and get put on hold for 30 minutes. When I finally get a representative, I explain the situation to her.)

Representative #2: “Well, I’m really sorry to hear about that but it looks like the problem is that the electric bill is overdue by 4 weeks. The account is under [Previous Tenant]. Is that you?”

Me: “That’s not me. I don’t even know who that is. My name is [My Name] and my landlord is [Landlord]. Those should be the only two people on this account at all.”

Representative #2: “Well, we have [Landlord], but not you. You’ll need to call your landlord then to get it straightened out. There’s nothing else we can do. The electricity will be shut off tomorrow. I can put in a request to have your electricity turned back on, but it will take about two weeks to process.”

Me: “You mean we’ll be completely without electricity for two weeks? In the middle of January?”

(At this point I’m near tears and shaking. We have two toddlers in the house that certainly can’t make it through two weeks without any heat whatsoever.)

Representative #2: “Yes, that’s right.”

Me: “You can’t be serious. I have two kids in the house. Can’t you talk to your manager to explain that whoever owes that bill is not me?”

Representative #2: “Sorry. You’ll need to talk to your landlord. Can you go live with family for those two weeks?”

Me: “No, all of our family lives over an hour away and we both have multiple jobs to get to each day.”

Representative #2: “I’m sorry to hear that. You’ll need to talk to your landlord then to get this sorted out, but there’s nothing I can do about the disconnect notice tomorrow.”

(I thank her and hang up to call my landlord. He explains that the other name on the account was the previous tenant who left in bad standing and must have not paid his bill on time. It is clearly no fault of mine and not my responsibility to pay. He calls the electric company and removes the old tenant’s name from the account and makes double sure mine is the new name, but they won’t let him pay the bill since he isn’t the previous tenant. He calls me back to explain this to me, and I call the electric company again. I hold for another 30 minutes.)

Representative #3: “How can I help you?”

Me: *practically sobbing, I vomit out the story as quickly as possible*

Representative #3: *calmly and sweetly* “Okay, first of all, don’t worry about your power. We will NOT turn it off. I don’t know why the other person told you that at all, but we certainly won’t turn the power off on you in weather like this. Second, I’m looking at your account and it says you called on [date two weeks ago] to put the electric in your name. You haven’t gotten a bill yet because we only send them out once a month, so I don’t know why anyone here would expect you to pay before your bill is due. Do you have a forwarding address for [Previous Tenant]?”

Me: “No…”

Representative #3: “That’s no problem. We have his phone number so we’ll call and ask him to pay, and if he doesn’t it’ll get forwarded to collections. I’ve cancelled the disconnect order on your account and made a note just in case, explaining that you just moved in on [date two weeks ago] and your deposit has been paid. You’re all caught up with us, so you have nothing to worry about.”

Me: “Really?”

Representative #3: *cheerily* “Really. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Me: “Can… can I speak to your manager?”

Representative #3: “Absolutely. Hold on one moment while I transfer you, and have a nice day.”

(I spoke to the supervisor to explain the whole story and that I had spent over three hours on the phone with various people, including the second rep, who told me there was nothing they could do about me being without electric for two weeks in the middle of winter, and how upset I had been when I called the third rep. I explained how wonderful and helpful the third rep had been and how much better she made me feel. The supervisor thanked me and assured me that she would look at the account history to figure out who the second rep was that had given me such incorrect information and sent me into a panic.)