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Trust In The Exercise

| Working | December 6, 2015

(My boss, I, and another coworker are visiting a site in Salt Lake City to interview them regarding a project they completed, with a group of consultants who may pilot the same project at our site in Alberta. We’ve just finished up for the day and are heading out.)

Boss: “[Consultant], you know where you’re going, right? To get back to the airport?”

(The consultant is quiet.)

Me: “[Consultant]? We are going to be cutting it close for time; do you need us to look up a map?”

Consultant: “So, either this will be fine and it’ll be a really cool photo op for you guys, or you’re spending another day in Salt Lake.” *suddenly veers off the highway to a gravel road, and yells* “TRUST EXERCISE!”

(He ended up taking us to a really cool ledge of concrete overlooking the flats, with a big natural rock formation. It was indeed a very cool photo op – and now we all use ‘trust exercise’ as a joke for unexpected fun!)

A Cr-ice-is

, , | Right | September 18, 2015

(I work for a heating utility. This winter has been particularly heavy, and many of our customers are without heat, power, and/or hot water. All our techs are working overtime fixing homes without heat.)

Me: “Hello, how can I—”

Customer: “Thank God! I can’t get anyone to come out here, I have an emergency!”

Me: “Okay, ma’am, what’s the problem?”

Customer: “The icemaker isn’t working!”

Me: “…I’m sorry?”

Customer: “My icemaker on my refrigerator! The power was out and now it’s back on but my fridge won’t make ice! I have a party tonight!”

Me: “I… see… Well, ma’am, I’m sorry to hear that but all my technicians are out on emergency heat calls—”

Customer: “This IS an emergency! Did you not hear me?! I have a party TONIGHT and no ice!”

Me: “I understand that, ma’am, but we’re prioritizing calls for no heat and flooding right now—”

Customer: “I knew it! I knew you wouldn’t help me! *at this point, the customer is sobbing and screaming* “No one will help me! I HAVE A PARTY TONIGHT!” *click*

Winding Down The Call

| Working | August 20, 2015

(We have had a string of tornadoes run through our state about a week before this call:)

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Hello, this is [Caller] from [Electric Company]. Someone in your household called to report a faulty streetlight a couple weeks ago and I’d like you to rate our efficiency on solving the problem.”

Me: “Oh… I wouldn’t know. See, the day you guys came and fixed the light, a tornado came and ripped it out of the ground. It’s currently sitting across the sidewalk.”

Caller: “Oh… Well, on a scale of 1-10, how satisfied were you with our efficiency in solving your problem?”

Me: “…”

The Company Ran Out Of Gas

| Working | July 27, 2015

(My husband and I live in a farmhouse in the country. We frequently smell natural gas in the area and have called the company several times over a period of months. You can smell it around a certain intersection in a car. If the wind is right, the smell can be so strong it can almost knock you out.)

Me: “Hi, there is a strong smell of gas in [area].”

Operator: “Please do not plug or un-plug electronic devices and we will have someone over to investigate.”

(Several weeks later…)

Me: “Hi, we still smell gas.”

Operator: “Please do not plug or un-plug electronic devices and we will have someone over to investigate.”

(Several weeks later…)

Me: “Hi, we still smell gas.”

Operator: “Yeah, there’s a gas leak somewhere around there. We haven’t been able to find it, though.”

Me: “…So, are you guys working on it?”

Operator: “We can’t do anything more than look for it. We haven’t found it, so we can’t fix it.”

Me: “…So there is definitely a gas leak in our area, but you can’t find it, so it’s just going to keep leaking?”

Operator: “Yes.”

(We moved shortly after that. We’ve been back to the area several times since then and it still smells of gas.)

A Crazy Fan With A Few Wires Loose

, | Working | May 1, 2015

(When I bought my house, I got a home warranty that’s basically an HMO for houses. If I need repair to something covered, I call a central number and they send out a repair person from the appropriate business: plumber, electrician, whatever. So one morning, I wake up and go out to my living room and my ceiling fan has come loose from its moorings and is just hanging there by the wires. After freaking out a bit, I called the home warranty folks.)

Me: “Uh, yeah, I have home warranty number [my info here], and I need… I guess an electrician, ASAP. My ceiling fan in my living room is hanging from the ceiling by its wiring.”

Scheduler: “Okay, I’ve got someone from [Business] who can come out on Monday.” *It’s Thursday*

Me: “No, I don’t think you understand. It is HANGING by its WIRING. In the middle of my living room. Where it could fall, possibly on people, at any time. This is really kind of an emergency.”

(So, after some wrangling, I get them to dispatch someone to come out within the next couple of hours. I can tell they’re using their “humoring the crazy lady” voices, but I don’t even care, because this really is an emergency, although it sort of boggles me that they don’t seem to get that. So later that day, the electrician shows up, and I show him into the room with the fan — and he stops dead in the doorway, gaping.)

Electrician: “HOOOOOLLLLEEEEE…! It’s really hanging by the wires!”

Me: “That’s what I said! About how I said it, too.”

Electrician: “I’ve been doing this 16 years, and about once a month we get a ‘hanging by the wires’ call, and every other time, it’s just been that the canopy that covers up the attachment fell down, but the actual down-rod is still in place. I’ve never seen one before that actually was hanging by the wires.”

Me: “Well, that does explain why the scheduler seemed a lot less bothered than I thought the situation warranted!”

Electrician:“Yeah, they probably thought it was the usual crazy… Uh.”

Me: *laughing* “Oh, no offense. Because clearly crazy customer stories are nothing to do with ME, right?”

(At this point he’s laughing, too.)

Electrician: “Right! You mind if I take a picture before I get started? Otherwise they’re never going to believe this back at the office. It’s NEVER the wiring!”