The Cost Is Alarming

, , , | Right | September 10, 2019

(I work in an office which supplies personal alarm systems to elderly people. This daughter calls for her mother and she’s already angry at the start of the call.)

Caller: “I just upgraded my mother’s landline to digital and I want to know how much it’ll cost to upgrade her personal alarm system.”

Me: “All right, I can help with that. What are your mother’s birthdate and name?”

Caller: “I’m not going to give you that. I just need to know what it costs!”

Me: “Ma’am, I need to know what type of alarm you mother has before I can answer that.”

(We have a scheme where we replace the oldest systems with new ones whenever someone who has such an old system calls.)

Caller: “Look. I need to know what it costs; it doesn’t matter what type of alarm she has!”

Me: “Ma’am, I can’t answer…”

Caller: *interrupting me rudely* “I DON’T CARE! JUST GIVE ME THE PRICE!”

Me: “I’m so sorry, but the middle of my sentence seemed to interrupt the beginning of yours. But, as I said, I can’t answer your question if I don’t know the brand of the alarm system.”

Caller: “Why not?”

Me: “Because it’s dependent on the brand of alarm.”


(She proceeds to give the info and, lo and behold, her mother actually has the old type of system, so she’ll get a replacement with no costs involved.)

Me: “Well, I can see it’s [Brand]; we can replace that for a new one with no costs for your mother.”

Caller: “Look, she doesn’t need a new one. I want to know WHAT IT’LL COST TO MAKE IT DIGITAL!”

Me: “I understand, but it’ll be free.”

Caller: “But WHAT WILL IT COST? I don’t know why this so difficult for you to understand!”

Me: “Ma’am, I do understand you, but I don’t think you understood me. It’ll be free! As in no cost.”

Caller: “Oh, okay… Thank you.”

(She then hung up! I didn’t have her phone number so I couldn’t call her back to check if all the information we had was still correct. So, I called her mother — we had no other numbers on file — to check. This 89-year-old lady was really polite and so, so happy that she was going to get a new personal alarm system! The daughter called the next day to ask why it hadn’t been replaced yet.)

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