A Heater Debate

, , , , | Working | February 23, 2021

I work for a well-known do-it-yourself moving company. I receive a call.

Customer: “My heater in my truck doesn’t work, and if I turn it on it makes my windshield freeze. But [phone line akin to AAA] says that they can’t do anything about it because it’s not an emergency. And anyway, I need to keep the truck longer.”

We go through the process of extending the rental, and then the customer starts griping about the faulty heater again and asks for a discount. This particular kind of rental does not have any kind of discounts available, and prices are only ever reduced if it is a matter like a vehicle breakdown or if something happened which was the company’s fault.

I also notice that the customer is in a southern state, where it isn’t very cold at this time of year. I hold my tongue.

Me: “As far as discounts go with this kind of rental, that would have to be negotiated with the manager of that location upon dropoff.”

Customer: “What about a manager? Can your manager do it?”

Me: “I can transfer you to a manager, but they would most likely say the same thing, as it was this location’s vehicle which had issues with the heater.”

Customer: “They made me walk two blocks to come to get my truck. I had to walk two blocks to come to get my truck because they wouldn’t bring it to me!”

Me: “Unfortunately, dropping off trucks is not a service we offer.”

Customer: *Sounding furious* “You’d better get me to a manager now before I get upset!”

The customer angrily interrupts me repeatedly while I explain that they will have to be put on hold for a moment. I call the manager to explain what happened.

Manager: “We don’t offer dropoff services.”

Me: “Yes, that is what I said when they got upset. They want a discount because the heater is broken, though it is in [Southern State].”

Manager: “Yeah, it’s probably just a little chilly.”

After completing the transfer, I checked the weather there. It was cloudless with a low of forty-five degrees – in late October. The customer had acted like they were trudging through two feet of snow and driving the unheated truck when it was ten degrees out, when in reality it was “keep your sweater on in the car” weather.

Thank goodness this company has the employees’ backs on stuff like this. It’s a good company, and 99.9% of issues people encounter are caused by other customers or themselves. In this case, it was other customers failing to report a faulty heater.

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Trash Talking Over And Over

, , , , | Right | February 20, 2021

I work in town hall, and we just had a snowstorm overnight into the morning of about six to twelve inches. As an employee — but not a resident of the town — I sign up for emergency management alerts so I can be informed in case a resident calls.

I receive a text the night before the snowstorm saying that trash pickup will be delayed a day all week due to the storm. I receive an automated phone call not five minutes later with the same information. Later in the night, I also receive an email with the same information. It’s safe to say that trash will be delayed a day this week.

First phone call of the day:

Me: “[Department], can I help you?”

Resident: “Yes, hi. I was wondering if my trash will be picked up.”

Me: “Trash pickup is delayed a day this week.”

Resident: “But will it be picked up?”

Me: “It should, unless you have a different problem with your trash.”

Resident: “No, it’s fine. I was just wondering if they would pick it up.”

Me: “Yes, they will pick up.”

Resident: “When?”

Me: “They are delayed one day this week.”

Resident: “But when would they pick it up?”

Me: “One day after your normal trash day.”

Resident: “When would they pick it up, then?”

Me: “What day is your trash normally picked up?”

Resident: “Today.”

Me: “Then tomorrow. They will pick it up tomorrow.”

Resident: “Why tomorrow?”

Me: “Because that is one day after your normal pickup day.”

Resident: “But why not today?”

Me: “They are delayed because of the snowstorm.”

Resident: “I just don’t think they should be delayed. They should pick it up today.”

Me: “Every public school district in a twenty-mile radius is canceled for today. Several businesses are closed. Parking bans are in effect here and in [Cities and Towns near us]. The road crews are doing a great job, but the trash company doesn’t feel it’s safe to collect today and interfere with the road crews.”

Resident: “I just don’t understand why they can’t pick up today. It’s inconvenient for me to have to wait another day.”

Me: “Okay. Well, I hope you have a great day, and stay safe out there.”

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Snow Reason To Stay Open

, , , , , , | Right | February 18, 2021

It’s the first snowfall of the year, but it’s one of those nights where it starts as rain at 5:00 and then by 9:00 turns into snow. At 8:55, all the customers have left the store, and since we close at 9:00, my manager closes the doors, only to have this interaction happen at 8:59.

Customer: *Pounds on the door* “It’s 8:59! You have to let me in!”

Me: *Looking confused* “Well, we already closed up. Are you sure it’s not 9:00?”

Customer: “Yes, look at your phone!”

Sure, enough my phone says 8:59.

Me: “Well, I really want to get home as soon as possible given the conditions of the road.”

Customer: “I really want you to get home safe, too… but it’s 8:59 so you have to let me in.”

I turn to my manager, who’s out of the viewing distance of the customer and looks extremely confused. We exchange glances for ten seconds.  

Me: *Pulls out my phone* “Oh, no! Look, it’s 9:00 now. Sorry, we’re closed.”

Customer: “It was 8:59 when I got here! This is terrible!”

The customer walked away.

Seriously, we’re open for twelve hours and she just decided she needed crafting supplies at 8:59? No crafting emergency is that serious! Luckily, my manager agreed.

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Oh, Shhhhuttle!

, , , , , , | Friendly | February 2, 2021

I live very close to my local airport, so instead of paying an absurd amount of money for parking when I travel, I jog from my house to the long-term parking lot, a twenty-minute jog, and then take a shuttle from there into the airport.

On my most recent trip, however, I arrived at the long-term parking lot and discovered that the airport had recently closed the lot due to the health crisis, meaning there was no shuttle to catch to the terminal. It was another thirty-minute walk at least from there to the nearest open lot with shuttle service.

Worse still, I had already been gambling, since I knew rain was expected later that day; about ten minutes into my extended walk, a torrential downpour started. The rain was so hard it actually hurt to walk into the rain and slowed my pace even more. Meanwhile, I was worn out from the first twenty minutes of jogging, and my backpack, stuffed full as my only piece of luggage, was really starting to weigh me down. Despite leaving plenty of “wiggle room” in my plans, I was starting to worry that I was going to be cutting it close to catch my flight.

Fifteen minutes out from the lot I was headed to, I noticed a shuttle leaving the employee parking lot. I know they are not supposed to pick up non-employees — there are even signs on the bus saying so — but I decided it was worth a gamble. I stood at the corner of the turn that they had to take and made a praying gesture, looking sad, wet, and miserable.

Thankfully, the bus driver took pity on me; he broke the rules and stopped to let me get on the bus. I arrived soaking wet at the terminal shortly after, and thanks to his saving me the time it would have taken to walk to the other lot and catch a shuttle from there, I had enough time to make a pitstop at the restroom and change out of my soaking clothes and into some clothes my backpack did a shockingly good job of keeping dry. A local shopkeeper was even nice enough to give me some plastic bags to stash the wet clothes in so I could put them away without getting the rest of my clothes wet.

I caught my flight out and had a wonderful visit and babysitting session with my goddaughters. Thank you to the bus driver for bending the rules for me! I’ll try to plan better in the future!

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A Storm Of Irony

, , , , , | Right | January 22, 2021

We have had a major snowstorm, and temperatures are well below freezing. However, we’re still open. The roads are only partially plowed, so after a few hours with no customers, we think that maybe people have heeded the warnings and are staying home.

However, around lunchtime, a car slides into the parking lot. The driver gets out, almost tumbles into a snowdrift, and somehow makes it in.

Customer: “Whew! The weather is awful! I’m surprised you guys are open.”

Me: “Well, we are!”

Customer: “You shouldn’t be open.”

Me: “They keep us open because it’s profitable to be open.”

Customer: “That’s not right. They’re crazy. Who would come in on a day like this?”

Me: “…”

Aaaaaand that’s why we stay open in bad weather.

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