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  • Not So Closely Guarded
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  • Living In A Police Box State

    | AZ, USA | Coworkers, Extra Stupid, Geeks Rule

    (Where I work, we are required to wear badges to get in the building and identify ourselves. The lanyards do not have to be from the company. I have recently bought a Doctor Who inspired lanyard with the words ‘Police Box’ printed all over it. This happens when we get a new administrator.)

    Admin: “What is that?” *points to my lanyard*

    Me: “Oh, it’s my Doctor Who lanyard. The Doctor flies around time and space in the TARDIS, which is disguised as a police box.”

    Admin: “Well, you can’t wear that anymore.”

    Me: “Why not? ”

    Admin: *sighs* “Because it says ‘POLICE’ on it. People might mistake you for an officer! I won’t have the company name soiled because you got arrested for impersonating a police officer!”

    (I continued to wear the lanyard anyway. I guess when you’re hardly on the floor of a call center with 200 employees, you tend to forget little things like criminal activity!)

    Growing Up Resourceful Is Priceless

    | WI, USA | Bosses & Owners, Coworkers, Money

    (I’m currently working at a call center where everyone makes more than minimum wage, but not by much. I tend to be frugal and get along ok on this wage. There are times I’ve had to get by on less, but I know a lot of my coworkers really struggle. On this particular morning, there is a visitor from corporate who is chatting with some of my coworkers. I’ve just walked in in the middle of the conversation.)

    Visitor: “Man, when I get back home I need to have my nails done again. It costs me $80, but it’s worth it!”

    (Everyone is taken aback slightly at the price.)

    Visitor: “I should be mad at my grandmother; she’s the one who got me into that. She took me to get my first manicure when I was 13. I did the math once, $80 every three weeks, I’ve spent nearly $20,000 on manicures over the years!”

    Coworkers: “….”

    Visitor: “You know, you don’t think about that when you’re getting one. I mean, it’s only $80.”

    Coworkers: *still not sure how to react without being rude*

    Visitor: “I’ve had to cut back on some other stuff, though. This economy and all. I’ve cut my maid service down to every 3 weeks instead of every 2, I cancelled my membership to the tanning salon, and I even downgraded my membership at the fitness center. I’m saving over $3,000 a month just with little changes like that!”

    (The visitor gets called into a meeting. The rest of us still aren’t sure what to make of her.)

    Coworker #1: “$80 is a full day’s paycheck for me.”

    Coworker #2: “I don’t think I spent $3,000 on my whole car!”

    (Later that evening I was talking with my mother and told her the story. Afterwards…)

    Me: “Hey, Mom?”

    Mom: “Yes?”

    Me: “You remember those times when I was a kid and we were struggling, and we had to be really resourceful to make it work because we didn’t have enough money to go around?”

    Mom: “Yes.”

    Me: “I want to THANK you for those times!”

    Finally Having An Electric Light-Bulb Moment

    | UK | Employees, Ignoring/Inattentive

    (We have a pre-paid gas meter. The amount we pay for gas is loaded onto a plastic credit card-like card, and then the card is inserted into the meter to add the amount of gas. Recently, it’s stopped working, so my father calls the company.)

    Call Center Rep: “Hi, you’re through to [Gas & Electricity Company]. My name is [Call Center Rep]. How can I help you?”

    Father: “Yes, hello. My pre-paid gas card seems to have stopped working in the meter. I can’t add the gas I’ve paid for.”

    Call Center Rep: “All right, I can help with that. Can I have the name on the account and your address?”

    Father: “Yes, it’s [Name] and the address is [Address].”

    (There’s a few minutes of silence.)

    Call Center Rep: “Hmm, I don’t seem to be able to find you in the system.”

    Father: “Our gas supply was only hooked up three months ago. My name should be there.”

    Call Center Rep: “Let me just try again.” *few more minutes of silence* “Wow, I still can’t find you. Can I get your name and address again, and your telephone number this time?”

    (My father gives her all of his information again, but she still can’t find his name in her system.)

    Call Center Rep: “This is so strange. I really don’t know what’s going on, but your name and address just isn’t in my system.”

    Father: “Look, I’m sitting here looking at my gas meter and all the information I was given when the gas supply was installed three months ago. My name and address has to be there.”

    Call Center Rep: “All right, let me just transfer you to [Electricity Supplier]. They might be able to help you more than I can.”

    Father: “Wait, what? No, this has nothing to do with my electricity supply so [Electricity Supplier] won’t be able to help me.”

    (The rep doesn’t listen and transfers my father anyway and he spends the next ten minutes on hold. Finally someone answers.)

    Electricity Rep: “Hello, this is [Electricity Supplier] and my name is [Electricity Rep]. How can I help you?”

    Father: “Hi, yes, I don’t actually think you can help me. I’m having an issue with my pre-paid gas card, and when I called [Gas & Electricity Company], she said she couldn’t find my name or address in her system and transferred me to you.”

    Electricity Rep: “Yeah, we have nothing to do with your gas supply. The only thing I can do is transfer you back to [Gas & Electricity Company] and hope that someone else can help you. I’m sorry.”

    Father: “That’s okay. Thanks anyway.”

    (The electricity rep transfers my father back to the gas and electricity company and he spends another few minutes on hold before someone answers. Surprisingly, it’s the same rep from before.)

    Call Center Rep: “Hi, you’re through to [Gas & Electricity Company]. My name is [Call Center Rep]. How can I help you?”

    Father: “Yes, hi, we talked a while ago about my pre-paid gas card not working. You transferred me to [Electricity Supplier], but they couldn’t help me and they sent me back to you.”

    Call Center Rep: “Yes, I remember. What did you say your issue was?”

    Father: *rather annoyed now* “My pre-paid gas card is no longer working.”

    Call Center Rep: “Oh! Your GAS card isn’t working! Sorry, I thought you meant your electricity supply wasn’t working. Sorry. What was your name again?”

    My Father: “[Name] and my address is [Address].”

    Call Center Rep: “Yeah, there you are!”

    (Thankfully, she was able to figure out the problem and sent a new pre-pay card in the mail. She also credited our account.)

    Going Postal Over Postal

    | Birmingham, England, UK | Coworkers, Crazy Requests, Technology

    Customer: “Do I have to post the letter in? Is there no other way? Can’t I email it?”

    Coworker: “Unfortunately, we will need the original paper copy for our files so it would have to be posted in.”

    Customer: *getting annoyed* “Well, that’s just stupid. This is the modern world; I shouldn’t have to post this in.”

    Coworker: “I understand that, sir, but unfortunately for our records we will need the original copies.”

    Customer: “If I can’t post it in what other options do I have?”

    Coworker: *straight faced and with a pause* “Carrier pigeon.”

    Found The (Out)Source Of The Problem

    | Portsmouth, England, UK | Bosses & Owners, Ignoring/Inattentive, Lazy/Unhelpful

    (I work for a telecommunications/TV company in their talk and broadband ordering and order problem department. We have to outsource all of our installations and repair calls to a specific company due to the set up of the UK phone line system. My colleague sitting next to me has escalated a call to a manager and I’m waiting between calls when I overhear the following:)

    Manager: “I’m sorry Ms. [Name] but if [Outsource Company] says they won’t be installing a socket there’s nothing we can do. You need to call us after the line goes active and we can book a repair visit.”

    (I start waving to get the manager’s attention.)

    Manager: “Can I place you on hold for a second and see if there’s anything more I can do?”

    Manager: *to me* “What?”

    Me: “You call [Outsource Company] and tell them you need the appointment.”

    Manager: “No, we can’t.”

    Me: “No, that’s what you do. It’s why the text says ‘please contact your provider if you need this appointment.’ Have you called them and they’ve said no?”

    Manager: “We don’t… That’s not… Wait, is that what you’ve been doing? Does it work?”

    Me: “Well, it has for the last eight months… Wait, have you been telling every customer who calls because of this they need to call us and get a repair done? You’ve been here two years!”

    Manager: “Um, yes. Can you call them for me?”

    (I call the outsource company, tell them we still need the appointment, and pass the good news to the manager.)

    Manager: “Right, I’ll… Can you call the customer back and tell her you’re my manager and you pulled some strings?”

    Me: “I can call her back and tell her you don’t know how to do your job correctly, if you’d like…”

    Manager: “No, no, I’ll do it.”

    (I checked the customer’s account the next day and saw everything went fine. The manager left a note detailing how he’d saved the day and persuaded the outsource company to reinstate the visit as an emergency favour.)


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