I Got Another Old Yeller

, , | Right | October 20, 2018

(I am a customer service rep for a company that sells hair products. We only allow salons and one large chain beauty store to sell our products; however, we have lots of trouble with people online or off-price department stores selling our products. This call is from a customer who purchased shampoo from a store that wasn’t authorized, which just means that the manufacturer can’t guarantee the quality of the product because we don’t know anything about who is selling it or how they handle it.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Company]. My name is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Customer: *already annoyed* “I bought this shampoo from [Unauthorized Store] and this is the second time the pump isn’t working! I spend lots of money for this product and I don’t understand why this keeps happening!”

Me: “I apologize for your frustration, ma’am, but it is likely that the product is being damaged in some way during shipping. [Store] is not authorized to sell our products, and due to that we can’t always guarantee that they handle the product due to manufacturer standards, however—”

Customer: *now irate* “Well, how do they get it if they aren’t authorized? I’ve been shopping there for years and I’ve never had a problem, and even the store manager told me they have too many issues with your product…”

(She goes on like this for a while as I’m trying to answer her questions. I explain that they get our product through third-party sellers and we can’t really control who gets it even though we do try. All I’m trying to do is offer to replace her pump for her, but every time I say something to answer a question, she interrupts me. This goes on for a few minutes, until finally:)

Customer: “Let me ask you a question.”

Me: “Of course.”

Customer: “Is this company family owned? What’s the owner’s name?”

Me: “We are family owned, and his name is [First Name].”

Customer: “Well, does he have a last name or is he like Cher?”

Me: *still trying to remain polite* “It’s [Last Name].”

Customer: “Are you related to the owner?”

Me: “No, ma’am, I am not related to the owner.”

(At this point I start to offer her a pump to end this call, but she interrupts me again.)

Customer: “Well, I don’t know how you got this job because you are completely incompetent and you know nothing. How could they hire you if you aren’t related to the owner or someone higher up?!”

(She goes on like this, and I honestly tune her out and just let her get it out of her system. Finally, I can break in.)

Me: “Ma’am, would you like me to replace that pump for you? I have plenty of spares here in the office and I can mail one out to you today.”

Customer: *sarcastically* “Thank you so much. You’re the best!

(I got all her information, not without more attitude, and ended the call. In all my three years working in customer service, I have never been spoken to in such a way as with this woman. I even found out later that she yelled at our receptionist about the fact that she couldn’t figure out how to get to customer service through our phone system, and proceeded to yell at her, too!)

Usurping The Border

, , , | Right | October 19, 2018

(I get a phone call from one of our client members.)

Member: “Hello, we’re here in Germany, at Rees, and our car broke down. Our membership number is [number].”

(I fill in the number. It shows a roadguard insurance for Netherlands only.)

Me: “I see you only have insurance for the Netherlands, sir. Is that right?”

Member: “Yes, but we are very close to the border. About twenty kilometres.”

(I look up the location.)

Me: “That’s true, yes. Hm… You’re still out of the country, but I might be able to do something. Can you hold, sir?”

Member: “Yes.”

(I go and talk to my superior about this.)

Me: “One of our members has broken down in Germany, very close to the border. But he only has an insurance policy for help in the Netherlands.”

Member: “Hm. There is a policy of sending out Dutch roadguard to certain German areas close to the border. But it really has to be the right area. You should call the inland department to ask them. If it’s the right zone, we could tow them to the Netherlands, out of courtesy.”

(Courtesy indeed, since they officially have no policy for help in foreign countries. I call the inland department, and tell the story.)

Colleague: “I’m sorry. I can’t put the location through. They’re clearly in the wrong zone.”

Me: “All right, then. At least we tried. Thank you.”

(I go back to the client, who is still on hold.)

Me: “Sir, I’m sorry, but it turns out we can’t send out a Dutch road guard over there, due to legal jurisdictions and everything. The only thing I can do is text you the phone number of the German road guard. That way, you could at least receive some help.”

Member: “And we have to pay for that ourselves?”

Me: “Yes, sir. I’m very sorry, but your insurance does not cover for help on foreign soil. But I’ll be texting you the phone number of the German road guard.”

Member: “Well, I think I won’t use it. I’ll just contact a local towing company. I mean, it’s all good that you usurp all these bureaucratic rules, but to be honest, I’m quite fed up with this! We’ve been members for years, and this is no service!”

(I’m still not quite sure what he meant with us “usurping” rules. Later I recount the story to another coworker.)

Coworker: “I don’t get the man. Either you have an insurance or not. If you don’t have a fire insurance and your house burns down, you won’t go to your health insurance, will you?”

(I’m still quite amazed that he blamed us for not being insured himself. And that, with all the effort I put in it, he still acted as if I hadn’t done anything.)

Checked Out Before They Checked In

, , , | Right | October 19, 2018

(I work as a graveyard shift receptionist in a small hotel. Our hotel also has some rooms that feature a jacuzzi. This happens in winter, in which most days are quiet, but occasionally, on special days, we will have all the rooms sold out. It is Valentine’s Day and all of the rooms were occupied before my shift started. Most couples just leave when I tell them we do not have a room, while some scream at me before leaving. Then came this couple.)

Male Customer: “I need one room, with a jacuzzi.”

Me: “Sorry, sir, we are all sold out for today.”

(He pauses and pulls out his phone, then resumes.)

Male Customer: “We have a reservation!”

(All the customers with reservations are checked in, so it is impossible for him to have a reservation today. I ask him for ID to check in our system in case there is a system error; I will  need to call the website if such an error exists. It turns out his reservation was made one minute ago, and the check-in time is clearly stated there: the same day, but 12 hours later. Again I work on the graveyard shift and it is midnight.)

Me: “Sir, your check in time for the reservation is 12 hours from now. It is clearly written on the website where you reserved the room.”

(He checks his phone again.)

Male Customer: “But I need one room.”

Me: “Sorry, sir. It is Valentine’s Day and all the rooms are sold.”

Male Customer: “How much?”

(I tell him the price and repeat that all the rooms are sold.)

Male Customer: “But I need one room!”

(He pulls money out and starts to push it at me.)

Me: “Sir, we have no rooms available. All the rooms are occupied.”

(I push the money back but he pushes back with more money. This pushing game goes on for minutes. I keep telling him in many different ways that we have no rooms, in case he does not know English very well, but they both understand English.)

Male Customer: “You can have all of this! Just give me a room!”

(Suddenly I realize that he thinks I am lying for tips. We have a very strict policy against this. I show him our shelf with all the registration cards to prove that I am not lying and all rooms are occupied. Then the silent female customer joins in for the game.)

Female Customer: “Can you tell somebody to get out and give us the room? We will pay you a large tip.”

Me: “Sorry, miss, I cannot do that. They are our customers.”

Male Customer: “But I want a room with a jacuzzi! Get me the room now!”

Female Customer: “We are customers, too. Now, what are you going to do?”

Me: “Again, I am sorry. We do not have any rooms available right now. Your check in time is 12 hours from now. I can inform my coworkers to allow you check in a few hours earlier, if we have rooms at that time. You are free to call us to check.”

(I hand them our business card, but they do not even look at it.)

Female Customer: “We can check in earlier? GREAT! I will do it. I want to check in now.”

(I start running out of patience, but I still remain as polite as possible. Suddenly, the male customer starts yelling.)

Male Customer: “GET ME YOUR MANAGER!”

(Since I am the only person in the office now, I tell them that I am the manager.)

Male Customer: “THEN GIVE ME A ROOM!”

Me: “Sir, we do not have a room at this moment, and please keep your voice down; people are sleeping.”


(My boss has instructed me to never get him for the customer, nor give out his information. I tell him my boss is not here.)

Female Customer: “CALL HIM!”

(I am tired and I do not know what else I can do to get them to understand the situation. I call my boss. Luckily, he rarely sleeps on my shift.)

Boss: *on the phone* “Kick them out, now.”

Me: “I am sorry. My boss wants you to leave now.”

Male Customer: “Fine…”

(Just as I thought it is finally over, they backed off to the corner of the lobby and started kissing and cuddling. After many requests to leave and then threatening to call to the police, they finally left.)

An Ending Fit For Story Time

, , , , | Right | October 19, 2018

(I work for the local library. On one of my days off, I am doing my grocery shopping when a young boy comes running up to me. I recognize him from our storytimes. He was almost always disruptive and unruly. He acts no differently here:)

Boy: “ I know you! You’re from the library! That means you gotta be nice to me!”

Me: *in my very best apologetic-style library voice* “That’s right, I work at the library. And yes, when we’re at the library, we need to be nice to each other. But right now, we’re not at the library, are we?”

(I could see the wheels spinning for a second or two before he turned around and ran back the way he’d came, yelling “Moooommmmyyyyy!”)

Something Tells Me She Never Would Have Been Happy

, , , , | Right | October 19, 2018

(A woman enters my store with a jug of stain and odor remover and a sour expression on her face.)

Customer: “My husband bought this, and I hate this brand. What else do you have?”

Me: “We have a couple of cleaners made by [Other Brand] but mostly we just carry the [Brand she already has] line.”

Customer: “You don’t have [list of several other brands]?”

Me: “No, just [Brands].”

Customer: “Well, I am very unhappy!”

Me: *still smiling even though I couldn’t care less if she’s happy or not* “If you’d like to return this, I can help you with that. Do you have your receipt?”

Customer: “No, my husband bought it! You can refund it or give me cash.”

(I check with my manager who is nearby and he comes over.)

Manager: “Unfortunately, since you don’t have a receipt, we can only do an exchange or give you a store credit.”

Customer: “But it has your store’s price sticker on it!”

(And for all we know, lady, you stole it from this store or our other location, and now you’re trying to return it for money you aren’t owed. Of course, neither of us says this out loud.)

Manager: “And we’d be happy to issue a store credit or do an exchange for you.”

(The customer grumbles, but looks around and finds other items to purchase. When she returns to the register, I’m assisting another customer who is filling out a form for our loyalty club, a process that takes a maximum of two minutes. Of course, the first customer rolls her eyes, sighs loudly, and taps her foot throughout the entire brief process. Once it’s her turn, I process the exchange as cheerfully as possible.)

Me: “Your total with the exchange is [amount]. Would you like to sign up for our free loyalty club today?”

Customer: “No! I won’t be shopping here.”

Manager: *still cheerful and smiling* “Thank you, ma’am. Have a good day!”

(Once she’s gone, he turns to me and says exactly what I’ve been thinking the whole time.)

Manager: “I would have made an exception and given her the refund if she hadn’t been such a b**** about it.”


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