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    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.”

    Causing, Not Curing Mental Distress

    | USA | Coworkers, Health & Body, Ignoring/Inattentive

    (I work for a phone line that sets up aftercare appointments for people who were just in psychiatric hospitals. A lot of times, medical hospitals will call because they think we can help with physical ailments or medical supplies.)

    Me: “Good afternoon. [Company Name].”

    Caller: “Diabetes. And. Strips.”

    Me: “I’m sorry?”

    Caller: “Diabetes. And. Strips.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, we’re part of the mental health department.”

    Caller: “DIA. BETES. AND. STRIPS.”

    Me: “Ma’am, we’re the mental health department. We have nothing to do with supplies or medical diagnoses.”

    Caller: “So why am I calling your number? I’m with [Hospital].”

    Me: “I couldn’t tell you. Did someone at the hospital tell you to call us?”

    Caller: “GOD, you’re impossible! This patient just needs his test strips. I got your number off of this paper.”

    Me: “Read it aloud to me.”

    Caller: “UGH, fine! ‘For all mental health concerns, or to redirect patients who need a mental health appointment, have them call [My Company].’”

    Me: “Okay.”

    Caller: “It’s on a sheet that is labeled [our county's mental health agency].”

    Me: “That means that that entire sheet of paper is in regards to mental health. So we have nothing to do with diabetes supplies, diagnosis, or treatment. You called the wrong number because that’s not the right flier to look at.”

    Caller: “Well, what if I told you diabetes is depressing? Could you help my patient then?”

    Makes You Want To Disown Them

    | Manhattan, KS, USA | Coworkers, Extra Stupid, New Hires

    (A coworker has just started her training at my call center.)

    Coworker: “Hey, [My Name]. Did you know that [Cell Phone Company] owns Taco Bell?”

    Me: “What?”

    Coworker: “They showed us today in training.”

    Me: “That was a list of big companies that have accounts with [Company]. [Company] doesn’t own them. They just sell them phones.”

    Coworker: “…”

    Me: “Did you think they owned all of the companies on that list?”

    Coworker: “…”

    Me: “Disney?”

    Coworker: “…”

    Me: “Microsoft?”

    Coworker: “…”

    Me: “The US Army?!”

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