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    Category: Money

    Incompetent By Any Estimate

    | NJ, USA | Employees, Ignoring/Inattentive, Lazy/Unhelpful, Money

    (On every monthly electric bill it’s noted whether it’s an ‘actual’ reading or an ‘estimated’ reading. Typically “estimated” means that the reader came around but wasn’t able to access the utility closet for some reason. While it shouldn’t be a big deal to just have someone come out and re-read, the estimates are anywhere from 50% higher to twice or more our typical monthly average. This happened on the latest call.)

    Me: “Yes, I’d like it if someone could come out and do a reading on my meter?”

    Operator: “It looks like a reading was done just two days ago, sir.”

    Me: “Actually, if you look in your system that’s an ‘estimate,’ not an actual reading, and it’s far higher than it should be.”

    Operator: “Well, sir, you know that our estimates are actually based off very precise—”

    Me: “Let me stop you right there because I’ve heard it before. Your ‘calculations’ are wrong. They’re based off the guy who lived here ten years ago, not us. Our average monthly consumption in the summer months is anywhere from $90 to $110, which if you looked at our CURRENT history you’d see. This ‘estimate’ is stating $197. And no, don’t tell me that it will ‘balance out next month’ like I was told last time because it didn’t. I want somebody out here to do a proper reading ASAP.”

    Operator: “It’s not as easy as that, sir. We—”

    Me: “Yes, it is. It always has been. When can he be scheduled to be here?”

    Operator: “As this isn’t an emergency, we can’t have someone come directly—”

    Me: “I know. You can’t have someone here now. Just tell me a date and a time range and I’ll make sure that the building maintenance has the utility closet unlocked during that time frame.”

    Operator: “Can you… Can you please hold a moment, sir, while I set that up?”

    Me: “Of course.”

    (I get put on hold… and five minutes later the phone disconnects. Furious I call back, give a BRIEF explanation to the new operator, and get switched to a supervisor.)

    Supervisor: “I’m looking at your account now, sir, and I apologize. It appears the person you were dealing with attempted to set you up with a repair visit, not a meter reading; they also had you flagged as a ‘problem’ customer with a ‘belligerent attitude.’ However I was actually listening in on that call and you have nothing to worry about. I’ll have your account fixed and we’ll have a meter reader out there Saturday between 10 am and 2 pm. Your account will be updated with the proper statement by Tuesday at the latest. I’m sorry that I can’t be more precise than that.”

    Me: “No, ma’am, that’s perfect. Thank you!”

    (My statement of almost $200 suddenly dropped to $92, and since then I haven’t had any more problems with ‘estimate’ readings!)

    A Sad Sign(ed) Of The Times

    , | NJ, USA | Bosses & Owners, Employees, Food & Drink, Money

    (We’ve been frequenting a certain branch of a national chain for our fast food fix because they were the only burger place in the entire area that still had a value menu with things for under a dollar. However, they were recently purchased as a ‘franchise,’ and in under a month the entire inside is renovated – after having been renovated less than a year before – and the cost of all the food goes up dramatically. I ask to speak to the manager to complain.)

    Me: *long spiel* “—it just doesn’t seem fair that every single time somewhere becomes a ‘franchise’, they instantly stop participating in every single national promotion, all the prices go through the roof, and inevitably the service goes down because they fire half the staff.”

    Manager: “Actually, sir, if you could hold on for one moment?”

    (He goes to one of the registers, prints out a strip of receipt paper, and writes “#47″ on it before handing it to me with the pen.)

    Manager: “Could you please sign this for me and list that you’re complaining about the prices, and how much they’ve gone up?”

    Me: “…number forty-seven?”

    Manager: “The new owner called a meeting of the shift managers yesterday and outright told us that he “doesn’t believe” all the complaints we’ve gotten lately. So we decided to start getting them in writing and signed. You’re the forty-seventh signature we’ve gotten in just over twenty-four hours.”

    (I have no idea whether or not this would help but I definitely signed my name!)

    Geography Skills Suffering From A Tokyo Drift

    , | USA | Extra Stupid, Geography, Ignoring/Inattentive, Money, Tourists & Travel

    (I’ve somehow ended up on ‘high security’ from my credit card company. As such, even though the card I carry is meant specifically for people who travel abroad frequently, I have to call in and let them know when I’m going abroad so my card will work outside of the US. I call to tell them about an upcoming trip.)

    Me: “Hi. I’m calling because I will be traveling abroad soon, and I need my card to work while traveling.”

    Representative: “We can certainly put a travel notation on your account, and your card will work in your destination. Where will you be traveling?”

    Me: “My final destination is China, but I will be transiting through Tokyo and Hong Kong on my way there. Can you set it up so that my card will work in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and mainland China during [dates]?”

    Representative: “Certainly. Please hold momentarily.” *comes back after a minute* “You’re all set for your trip.”

    (A week later in Narita airport…)

    Cashier At Restaurant: “I’m sorry, ma’am, your card was declined.”

    (Fortunately she was nice enough to let me go to an ATM and withdraw funds from my work card to pay the bill. Upon returning home, I call my bank again…)

    Me: “Yes, I called before my latest trip and specifically asked that my card be available for use in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and China. However, my card was declined in Tokyo, and the only reason I can figure is that you failed to allow use of my card in Japan. I’m not extremely upset, but I’d like to know what I can do to make sure my card works when I travel in the future.”

    Representative: “Let me check the notes… Oh. Oh, Oh… I’m so, so sorry. It appears that the previous rep didn’t understand your travel information, and left a… uh… rather unsavory note about it.”

    Me: “Are you joking? This card is for people who TRAVEL! What did she say in the note? I need a good laugh.”

    Representative: “Before I say this, I want your permission and acknowledgement that you will not hold me responsible for coarse language.”

    Me: *now chuckling* “Go ahead. I won’t be offended, and I promise you are in the clear, no matter what you say.”

    Representative: “She wrote, ‘This dumb b**** made up countries called ‘Tokyo’ and ‘Hong Kong.’ Card has been activated for use in China. Fraud alert level has been increased for any other foreign use.’ It also appears from this that your card wouldn’t have worked in Hong Kong, since our system recognizes that separately from mainland China, but if she so much as started to type Hong Kong, it would have come up… Did you also have problems in Hong Kong?”

    Me: “No, I didn’t try to use my card there since I was only in that airport for a few minutes before traveling on. Thanks for the laugh. Buy that ‘b****’ a map, would you?”

    Representative: “We have noted your comment, and I’m sure the issue will be dealt with promptly.”

    (And I now make sure to name the *country* every time I call in. Silly me for thinking that most people would know Tokyo is in Japan and that Hong Kong is a real place…or ask if they didn’t.)

    Driving Up Prices And Driving Down Business

    , | London, England, UK | Bad Behavior, Employees, Money, Tourists & Travel

    (I’m a native Londoner. Several years ago I had friends visiting from overseas, and took them sightseeing at the Tower of London. I went up to one of the many kiosks to get a drink. At this time, a can of soda was typically around 50p, but I was prepared to pay a bit more due to the location at a major tourist attraction.)

    Vendor: “Yes?”

    Me: “Coke, please.”

    Vendor: “One pound fifty.”

    Me: “What?!”

    Vendor: *speaking loudly and slowly* “One. Pound. And. Fifty. Pence.”

    Me: *with a very obvious London accent* “One fifty for a coke? You gotta be bloody joking.”

    Vendor: “Oh, sorry love. Sixty pence, please. Thought you were a tourist.”

    Laughing All The Way To The (Other) Bank

    | MA, USA | Employees, Ignoring/Inattentive, Lazy/Unhelpful, Money

    (I have recently received a promotion and bonus, so I’ve decided to open a savings account at the bank where I currently hold a checking account. I’m talking to an account representative at the branch I’ve been using for three years. Because I do not drive I use a state-issued ID card in lieu of a driver’s license as identification.)

    Me: “I’d like to open a savings account; I have $[total] to deposit initially.

    Representative: “Great! Just fill out these papers and provide your driver’s license.”

    (I hand her my ID card.)

    Representative: “This isn’t a driver’s license. You need to have a driver’s license to open an account here.”

    Me: “That is an official ID issued by the Commonwealth. It’s legally acceptable.”

    Representative: “No, it has to be a driver’s license. I’m just asking for the same identification the teller would ask you for!”

    Me: “No, the tellers are all aware that both of the ID cards are legally acceptable proof of identification. I don’t have a driver’s license as I cannot drive.”

    Representative: “I’m sorry. If you don’t have a driver’s license you won’t be able to open an account today.”

    Me: “Oh, well. In that case I’d like to close my account.”

    Representative: “…close your account? But you haven’t opened one!”

    Me: “Yes, as a matter of fact, I opened account [number] three years ago. However, since you’re no longer accepting my government-issued ID and I will no longer be able to cash my checks here, I’ll be closing that now.”

    (I took everything to the bank across the street, and got a better interest rate on my brand-new savings account than I would have done at my former bank.)


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