This Is A Discourteousy Call

| USA | Ignoring & Inattentive, Time

(I had just gotten off a twelve hour midnight shift, but I went in to pay my hospital bill before heading home to bed. Not even an hour later, I get a phone call from them; however, it is automated so I have to call them back. Note: there are only three women that work in that department and, while there is someone assigned to my account, I normally don’t bother asking for her when I call in because she also runs the front desk. Finally, after an hour and multiple attempts…)

Representative: “Hello. Thanks for calling [Hospital]’s billing department. Please note that this call will be monitored. How may I help you?”

Me: “Hi! My name is [My Name], and I got a call from you guys a few minutes ago, telling me to call back.”

Representative: “All right, [My Name], did you have a reference number?”

Me: “Yes.” *rattles off number*

Representative: “All right. I just need to verify the account. Address?”

Me: *rattles off address*

(There is a moment of silence on the other end…)

Representative: *mumbling*

Me: “I’m sorry, what was that?”

(Another moment of silence…)

Representative: *mumbling* “…balance…”

Me: “I’m sorry, what was that?”

Representative: “Oh! I need your zip code!”

Me: *gives zip code*

Representative: “It says here that this is a courtesy call, making sure all the information is correct. It says here you have signed up for a payment plan of [amount a month]. Is that correct?”

Me: “Yes…”

Representative: “Have you sent in your payment, or would you like to make a payment over the phone?”

(At this point, I am beyond tired and pissed off. I know only one of the three ladies who works there, and she is really sweet. She always updates my file as soon as I pay, and shows me everything as I have had issues with billing in the past. She has also put in my file on what times to call because of my late work schedule, and this has never been a problem in the two years since she took over my account.)

Me: “If you actually looked at my file, it would say I was in there not even two hours ago to pay my bill – I even have a receipt here to confirm. There is also a note in my file to please call while I am at work or after four pm if there are any problems. You can confirm with [Coworker], as she is running the front desk and took my payment.”

Representative: “All right, everything looks good! So you can disregard that phone call! Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Me: “Yeah, an hour of my sleep time I will never get back.”


Not The Light-Bulb Moment You Were Looking For

| Germany | Bad Behavior, Employees

(While in Germany the customer is not always right, it is generally a rule of thumb to be at least nice to people that make mistakes. I am returning to a particular family-owned small hardware shop, because I bought light bulbs that are the wrong size. I have my kids with me, ages 10 and 11, both of them actually pretty calm, and just looking at the display of decorations behind me.)

Me: “I’m sorry, I wanted to exchange those bulbs for another size and—“

Clerk: “We don’t take stuff back if it has been opened!”

Me: “It hasn’t; it is still wrapped in the original foil and—“

Clerk: “We don’t take stuff back without a receipt!”

Me: *sighing internally* “I have the receipt here. I bought those yesterday, and just yesterday afternoon realized I got the wrong size.”

Clerk: “Put them here; I’ll give you your cash back!”

(The clerk proceeds to enter the light bulbs into the till per hand, and I notice that she put in the wrong price.)

Me: “Excuse me, those bulbs rang up as 7.69 Euros, and you put them in as 3.99 Euros.”

Clerk: “I’m putting them in as they are on the receipt!”

Me: “Yes, but the receipt shows them as 7.69 Euros, without any discount…”

(I turn to look at the kids in the background, then turn back to see 7.98 Euros being placed on the counter, plus (and this is important) a receipt for the cash return.)

Clerk: “Your cash return! Now leave!”

(I turn to leave, with my original receipt still firm in hands, and the cash return receipt, too. Finding the fitting bulbs, with the right light, I go to a check out. Asking the cashier if she could get me the shop owner, showing her the original receipt, the cash return receipt, and the new bulbs I wanted to buy. The owner comes, sees those, walks back to the shelf to make sure that I paid the real price, and that the cash return receipt is wrong. Returning with the clerk in tow, the owner asks me what happened. I give him a short summary, and he turns to the clerk.)

Owner: “Did you give this woman the wrong amount of money back?”

Clerk: “Yes, but—“

Owner: “And you entered the amount by hand?”

Clerk: “Yes, but—“

Owner: “That is the third time today you made a customer complain about you being rude, putting in things wrong, and generally being unhelpful! We are a small family company; I can’t afford making customers unhappy!”


(The clerk was told to pack all of her things right away; the owner fired her on the spot. He offered me the bulbs for free, but I was too confused to accept… I was busy explaining to my kids that what happened certainly wasn’t normal!)


They Won’t Let You Finnish A Sentence

| FL, USA | Employees, Family & Kids, Health & Body, Ignoring & Inattentive, Language & Words

(We are a Finnish family on a holiday in Florida. In the middle of the night my mom comes out of her bedroom saying that she can not breathe. We call 911 and explain the situation. The ambulance arrives after a while. Note: my mother does not speak any English.)

Paramedic: “So where’s the patient?”

Me: “Over there, but she doesn’t…”

Paramedic: “We’ll take over from here!”

Me: “Sure, but she doesn’t speak…”

Paramedic: “Please, sir, we’ve got this.”

Me: “Sure, but she won’t understand…”

(The paramedics completely ignore us from this moment on. We try to tell them that they can not communicate with my mother, because they simply have no common language, but nobody seems to listen.)

Paramedic: “Please, ma’am, we’re here to help you. What is the problem?”

Mom: *speaking in Finnish*

Me: “She’s saying—“

Paramedic: “Please, sir, step back. We’ve got this.”

Me: “But…”

Paramedic: “Back off, sir. We are professionals. Ma’am what’s the problem you’re having?”

Mom: *speaking Finnish to us, saying that she doesn’t understand*

Me: *getting frustrated* “Do you not understand that she does not speak English? She only speaks Finnish! Let me translate!”

Paramedic: “We can’t do anything if the patient is not cooperating with us.” *speaking in his walkie-talkie* “The patient is being uncooperative.”

Me: *getting super-frustrated* “What the f*** are you talking about? I have just explained to you that she does not speak any English, and have offered to interpret for you but you refused! She only speaks Finnish! That is the language of Finland!”

(My family members are having this same discussion with several paramedics trying to explain that she needs one of us to translate. Nobody seems to take us seriously and one paramedic is actually laughing at the situation before my brother confronts him. Finally one of them realizes that they are not getting anywhere, calls a number on his cell phone, and hands the phone to my mom.)

Mom: *in Finnish* “Hello?”

Voice On The Phone: *speaking Spanish*

Mom: *in Finnish* “I don’t understand anything. There’s someone speaking in another language I don’t understand.”

Paramedic: “The patient is still unwilling to cooperate.”

Me: *completely losing my temper* “What the f***? Did I not tell you that she only speaks Finnish? She can not breathe! She’s f***ing dying right in front of us! You will take her to a f***ing hospital right now!”

(Eventually they took us to a hospital and I was allowed to go along to translate. The doctors and nurses at the hospital were much nicer and my mother got the care that she needed and was eventually released.)

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