Wish You Could Retire The Need For Food Pantries

, , , , | Right | January 18, 2020

(I’m an assistant manager in a retirement services call center. Part of my job is to take escalated calls, and while I have more power than a standard rep, I am still constrained by company policy, the IRS, the laws of physics, and the typical business hours of other companies we may work with. One Friday evening, around 8:00 pm EST, I take an escalated call from one of my reps.)

Me: “Hello, Mr. [Customer]. My name is [My Name] and I’m a supervisor here in the call center. My rep said you were unhappy about your outstanding check?”

Caller: “YES! I WANTED DIRECT DEPOSIT AND YOU IDIOTS SENT ME A CHECK.”

Me: “I apologize, sir. Let me just take a look at your paperwork.”

(I review the form he sent in to take a withdrawal, with him yelling in the background about how he needed that money to feed his kids this weekend.)

Me: “Sir, I’m looking at your paperwork and, while I see you checked the ‘direct deposit’ box, you didn’t send us anything needed to actually send your funds that way.”

Caller: “Well, no. I don’t have checks and I don’t have time to get stuff notarized. But I still wanted it direct deposit.”

Me: “Sir, we can’t direct deposit your funds without any account info. It looks like your check mailed out Wednesday; you should have it any day.”

Caller: “HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO FEED MY KIDS? I’M GOING TO PUT MY KIDS ON THE PHONE SO YOU CAN TELL THEM WHY THEY’RE HUNGRY UNLESS YOU PUT THAT MONEY IN MY ACCOUNT RIGHT NOW.”

Me: “Sir, it 8:00 pm on a Friday. All the banks are closed. Even if I had your account info, which I don’t, I have no way to send you money tonight.”

Caller: “WHAT ABOUT MY KIDS, YOU HEARTLESS CORPORATE DRONE?”

Me: “Sir, do you have Internet? If you don’t, I’ll gladly look up emergency food pantries in your area and give you the contact info.”

(This is in no way expected duties for me. I just offered in case he’s telling the truth about having no money. I didn’t want him or his kids to go hungry.) 

Caller: “I want your supervisor. Now.”

Me: “Sorry, sir, I’m the only supervisor on right now.”

Caller: “F*** YOU! Calling me poor!”

(I am within my rights to disconnect the call and do so. I also send my immediate supervisor, as well as the location supervisor, an email, warning them about a possible complaint on Monday. Sure enough, Monday he calls back and speaks to my location supervisor. His check had arrived Friday — he hadn’t checked his mail before calling — and he was offended that I offered to look up emergency food pantries for him. My location supervisor basically says:)

Location Supervisor: “So, you told her you couldn’t feed your children and since she couldn’t Magic the money into your bank account or go back in time and get you to actually provide the info needed to process to your reset as a deposit, she offered to help you find food?” 

(The caller hung up and I was not punished; I did, however, get a mug.)

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