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    Don’t Know Maria From Adam

    | Adelaide, SA, Australia | Coworkers, Crazy Requests, Lazy/Unhelpful

    (A coworker from a different department calls through on behalf of a customer.)

    Me: “How can I help today?”

    Coworker: “Yes. Could you please cancel the policy for Maria.”

    Me: “Do you have a policy number or last name so I can search it?”

    Coworker: “No, I don’t! Why can’t you just search her name?!”

    Me: “We’ll there are literally hundreds or Maria’s with policies. Do you have an address so I could narrow it down?”

    Coworker: “No, I already told you! God, you are so incompetent! Why do you have to make this so difficult?”

    Me: “Well, to be honest, all you’ve given me is a name. How do you expect me to find her within the hundreds of Marias that have insurance with this company?”

    Coworker: “Never mind! Thanks for NOT helping!”

    Me: “No problem…”

    Hooray For Mr. Gay

    | Oklahoma City, OK, USA | Bizarre/Silly, Coworkers, Language & Words

    (A customer with the last name ‘Gay’ pops on my screen as I receive his call.)

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

    (As the customer asks questions about his bill and I answer, my obnoxious coworker looks over at the name on my screen.)

    Coworker: “How can we help you today, Mr. Gay? You want to pay? What do you say? Yay or nay?”

    (I give coworker a sign to shut up and continue the conversation until the caller is clear about his bill.)

    Me: “Is there anything else we can do for you today, sir?”

    Caller: “Fire that guy with the big mouth!”

    Me: “Uh… Yes, sir.”

    (When I told my coworker that Mr. Gay heard him his face turned red and he made it a point to keep his mouth in check from then on. It was the only time that day a customer WAS right.)

    No Room For Error

    | Helsingborg, Sweden | Coworkers, Extra Stupid, Technology

    (I work in a call center handling technical issues for a rather large international PC manufacturer. One of my coworkers is new and has gotten a call he can’t handle. I am listening in on my coworker sitting next to me, who offers to take the call. The company policy is that we don’t handle software issues, only hardware issues.)

    Coworker: “Hello and welcome to [Company]. My name is [Name]. How can I help you?”

    Customer: “Hi. I think my PC has gotten a virus. Could you please help me?”

    Coworker: “No problem. What I need you to do is place your PC directly at the center of the room it is located in, unplug all cables and leave it for 24 hours. Then the virus will go away.”

    (At this point, I can’t believe my ears.)

    Customer: “Okay, I will do that. Thanks!”

    Coworker: “If you have any further questions, please call back. My name is [Name]. Just ask for me.”

    Customer: “Thank you!”

    (The call ends. Two days later, my coworker gets a callback from the same customer.)

    Coworker: “Hello and welcome to [Company]. My name is [Name]. How can I help you?”

    Customer: “Hi. We spoke two days ago. My PC had a virus. You asked me to place it in the middle of the room, unplug it and wait 24 hours. I did, and the virus is still there.”

    Coworker: “Did you place it in the middle of the room?”

    Customer: “Yes!”

    Coworker: “Did you measure?”

    Customer: “Er… no?”

    Coworker: “It needs to be exactly in the middle of the room. Please measure and try again.”

    Customer: “Okay…”

    (The call ends. The customer never calls back.)

    Creeping Into Your Bad Books And Facebooks

    | ON, Canada | Employees

    (I pick up a call from what is supposedly a city-run call centre. The employee is looking for my mother, who is the head of household. It’s about 2 pm and she is at work, which I tell him, but he wants to give me his spiel anyway. It’s to do with carbon monoxide emissions from furnaces, and I am awkwardly ‘uh-huh’-ing through the whole thing. Finally:)

    Employee: “Do you think you can relay that information to your mother? I also need a date to call back and reach her.”

    Me: “Yes, I’ll tell her you called. Saturday around noon would probably be best.”

    Employee: “Okay. Do you mind if I ask your name? We’ve been talking for like seven minutes and I don’t even know your name.”

    (This strikes me as odd. I begin to get a bit uncomfortable because I’m not exactly having a casual conversation with my best friend, but see no harm in giving out my first name.)

    Me: “It’s [first name].”

    Employee: “That’s a nice name. My [relative] has the same name. Um… Looking at the time you picked up this call… How old are you?”

    Me: *getting defensive* “I’m 18. How is this relevant to the call?”

    Employee: “Sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. But, do you go to college? It’s 2 pm.”

    Me: *lying out of suspicion* “No. I work part time.”

    Employee: “Oh… I’m working here, too, for the city. Yeah, I’m not much older than you. I’m 22. I have one last question for you. Do you want to be my friend?”

    Me: *speechless*

    Employee: “I mean, do you have Facebook? I want to be friends.”

    (Realizing how creepy this is getting, I want to just get off the phone without slamming it down.)

    Me: “No.”

    Employee: “What about Twitter? Any other social media sites or anything?”

    Me: “No. I deleted them all.”

    (By this point, he sounded almost as uncomfortable as I was, and as soon as I established that I was hanging up he went right back to a very scripted ‘have a nice day’ speech. We’re still awaiting the ‘call back’ on Saturday, and I hope it doesn’t happen.)

    How Telemarketers Win The War Against You

    | Ottawa, ON, Canada | Awesome Customers, Employees

    (I work at a call center doing business to business market research surveys. I’ve been doing one about contact lenses. We are trained to be vague, initially, until we can find the person we are looking for who can do the survey, as gatekeepers often block us and respondents tend to come up with excuses. Some people are cross, some people take it in stride.)

    Me: *following script* “Hi. I’m calling about contact lenses. Do you fit contact lenses at this location?”

    Person On Phone: “Yes, we do.”

    Me: *skipping a part of the intro* “Is the contact lens fitter available for two quick questions?”

    Person On Phone: “That is me.”

    Me: *launches into full intro* “Hi. I’m calling from [Market Research Company] for a quick two question survey. Can you help me out with this today?”

    Person On Phone: “AHHHHH! You got me! I thought you were a customer. Oh well, might as well. D*** you.”

    Me: *holding back laughter* “Thank you very much, sir.”


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