Crazy Custys Demanding Services Unrelated to Anything the Company Does
From Triple Letter Receptionist:
I was inspired by MouthyMaven's tale of terror in a magazine clearing house to share my own stories of customer service hell in a corporate environment.
I'm a receptionist for a company that's basically synonymous with "My car broke down! I'd better call (insert company name here)."
Let me state right off the bat that I love my job. My coworkers are (mostly) awesome, the management actually cares about us, and I get crazy things like sick time and vacation time (what, you mean I can go on vacation? Seriously?)
My office is a combination of retail space selling travel-related products like suitcases and carry-on safe bottles, an insurance agency, and a travel agency.The whole space is open to the public, so even though we spend a certain amount of time hunkered down in our own cubicles, we constantly have customers coming through too.
My job is to greet people and give out free maps to members while also answering the switchboard for the office. My desk is adjacent to the travel store, so people constantly ask me to ring up their purchases even though I don't have a cash register or even a log-in code for the registers, which are all of five feet away, but we all know customers don't read signs.
Now I'll get into the meat of my story.
My office is sandwiched between a very wealthy suburb and an interstate, so we get a nice mix of mostly polite, intelligent customers and tourists who saw our logo from the freeway and need directions. 98% of customers are kind, and I really enjoy giving them lots of maps, guides, tourist magazines, and brochures to make them excited about their trip.
Nearly everyone is at least kind of happy when they come into our office (that's the great part about working in the travel industry), and I like to think they leave as happy or happier.
Except, of course, those special customers.
I realize that road service, insurance, and travel planning services maybe don't seem to to have a lot in common to the average consumer. (Hint: They all involve cars or other ways of getting from here to there.)
I also understand that a neighboring state's offices provide DMV-type services like car registration, which we can't do in our state. This seems to lead to a certain segment of our customer base thinking that we can do absolutely anything at any time simply because they pay their membership dues.
For example, an older couple with German accents blew up at me and a few of my coworkers because we wouldn't weigh and add postage to their package.
The wife kept saying, “I JUST want you to weigh it. We are your customers!”
WTF? How did she get the idea that we were the post office? Does she also go to the grocery store and ask them for upholstery?
The real award in this category goes to a lady I'll call Redhead Bitch.
Redhead Bitch was an attractive, well-dressed woman in her mid-thirties. She looked totally normal. She came to my desk and said calmly, “I'd like you to print my airline tickets.”
At first this seemed only kind of weird. We have a call center (only a call center, no walk-ins allowed, which pisses some people off) that handles domestic airline reservations. The call center is located more that eleven miles from our office and we don't have any access to the reservations they make.
“Do you remember the name of the agent who helped you?” I asked, thinking that maybe I could get one of our travel agents (who only handle international travel and cruises—I know, it's confusing) to call her airline agent and maybe our travel agents could access her reservation and print it.
“Oh, I booked it through Alaska,” Redhead Bitch said, not bitching yet.
Here, my natural desire to be as helpful as possible—I really take pride in holding up the company image, since they've treated me so well, especially coming straight from Old Slavery as I did—hit a wall with what I could imagine my boss saying if she found out I let someone behind my desk to access their personal booking, which they didn't book through us.
You know, a potential corporate security type of thing. I said, a little uncertainly, “I'm sorry, I don't think we can do that for you. If you'd like, I'd be happy to get you a local map and show you how to get to the library where you can use their printer.”
Redhead blew up. “I don't WANT to go to the library. I want you to print my tickets! Is that so hard? Can't you just print them?”
“I'm really sorry, I just don't think—”
“Fine, whatever,” she said, and changed track suddenly. “I need to renew my membership.”
“Straight back, under the 'membership/insurance' sign,” I said, pointing. She walked off.
From down at the other end of the office, I could hear her dinging the bell for service and then telling the agent who came up to meet her, “That girl at the front desk wouldn't let me print—”
I went over to the cashier desk to tell one of my buddy coworkers what just happened.
“She wants us to print her Alaska tickets that she booked through Alaska?” I whispered. “Isn't that like going into Gap and demanding that they print your Nordstrom receipt?”
We were whispering and giggling a little over it—well, what else can you do?
Then Redhead Bitch seemed to be done with the membership department and stopped at the travel agency. I could hear her saying, “I just need to print my tickets!” and one of the agents saying, “Did you book them through our Air Express line?”
“God!” Redhead Bitch yells. “I just want to print my tickets! Why is that so hard for you people? I JUST WANT TO PRINT THEM.”
I scuttle back to my desk. She storms by, leans on my desk, and snarls, “I heard you talking about me with your little friend. I'm not going to forget this.”
And she storms out. She said it so intensely I felt like she was putting a gypsy curse on me or something. It was kind of terrifying, the kind of thing that makes you wonder if she'll be back with a flamethrower to torch the building.
As soon as the door swung closed after her, the whole office erupted in howls of laughter. Coworkers came over to congratulate me on withstanding the brunt of her rage attack.
It's been over two months since then, and I haven't heard anything from her since then. I still want to know how she heard me talking about her, since we were out of her sight at the time and whispering more than thirty feet away while she was yelling at the membership agents.
RHUers, have you had custys demand services that not only you can't provide, but which have nothing to do with your entire company?
--Triple Letter Receptionist
i worked at a pizza stand in our park, and i often got people getting mad when i told them i couldn't rent tubes to them. XD
Posted by: Damien | Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 03:34 PM
She probably just saw you and jumped to that conclusion. But definitely congratulations on handling that as well as you did :)
Posted by: Craft Bitch | Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 04:27 PM
Watch out; you might be the subject of Drag Me To Hell 2.
Posted by: Aunty | Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 04:33 PM
I have had answered the work phone and had people ask me for directions to get to our biggest competitor.
Posted by: Ado | Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 05:04 PM
I once had a woman ask me to call her hair salon and tell them she'd be late for her appointment. She was livid when I refused.
Posted by: kerryqueen | Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 06:47 PM
I had a woman ask for a credit for a return that she was going to do but didn't have the item with her at that time.
Posted by: Little Mall Worker | Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 07:07 PM
People ask me when we have our artificial trees for sale if I would go with them and put it up. They're half-joking though, and take it quite well when I tell them that I can't. I just know though, that ONE customer will ask, and when we refuse because we can't, will probably throw a tantrum and might start breaking things on purpose (our store is full of fragile items).
Posted by: Craft Grunt | Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 07:25 PM
"Now I'll get into the meat of my story.
My office is sandwiched..."
I saw what you did there! :P
Posted by: Kelly | Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 07:36 PM
I worked phone support for a network services company that had the same initials as a well-known gaming software firm. This fool calls OUR support line and starts ranting about the problems he's having playing the then-popular number one game of the other company. When he starts yelling for a supervisor after I tell him I can't help him, one of my co-workers motions to me to take the caller off speaker and put him on hold. My co-worker is a gamer, so he gets on the line and proceeds to give the fool completely wrong directions on how to find key weapons and gives him hints that are guaranteed to get his character killed. He apologizes and also promises a heap of in-game credits for his "inconvenience" and a free copy of the game sequel, with an invitation to call a "special" phone number with a "special" customer ID for future support, which is actually the front desk number of the gaming company he looked up on Google.
Grins all around afterwards.
Posted by: Noah | Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 10:39 PM
I think I used to live in the town you work in and DH grew up there! It wouldn't be in Oregon and the office near a large temple, would it?
If so, I also worked in this town for years. Ahhh, nothing like the smell of entitlement early in the morning. I dealt with these folks on a daily basis.
Posted by: Lori | Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 11:32 PM
I used to work at a radio station (as the DJ) and one morning I had a woman call up and ask me to look in the phone book for the studio phone number of our biggest competitor... and I had to do it quickly too, as she needed to be the 9th caller to win :)
Posted by: Tanz | Friday, November 19, 2010 at 12:53 AM
The company I work for is half owned by a very big company that also has grocery stores and electrical stores among other things. We are right next door to one of the grocery stores. Anyway, a woman called our store looking for the grocery store. NO idea how because our names are completely different. when my boss told her that she had the wrong number she insisted we transfer her call because "it's the same damn company!"no matter how much my boss tried to explain to her that we are completely separate except for the big men at the top, she didn't get it and eventually got annoyed and hung up.
Posted by: Bottle-O-Bitch | Friday, November 19, 2010 at 06:12 AM
I would constantly get people at my old job calling me about a certain product, and if I didn't have it, they would ask, "Well, does [competitor] have it?" No clue. Don't work for 'em. "Couldn't you call and find out?" No. I will not shop for you at our competitor.
Posted by: evie | Friday, November 19, 2010 at 07:30 AM
Yay! I was inspiration! I feel special :) I totally get where you are coming from though. When I worked the the clearing house people would call in and try to cancel the catalogs they were getting.... :|
I realize to the uninitiated that they seem the same, but those typically come from the store...not us for sure. I would tell them to call the appropriate store (maybe even look the number up if we were slow) but I swear - the second they hear "...I can't help you..." or some other iteration - they blow a head gasket. I don't get it...:(
Posted by: MouthyMaven of Ravenloft - just beyond the forgotten realms | Friday, November 19, 2010 at 09:09 AM
@MM D&D is awesome
Posted by: OMNION | Friday, November 19, 2010 at 04:52 PM
Man... You want stories of crusties demanding services/products that are not sold/supported/offered? Work some form, ANY form, of tech support for ANY product and/or service!
Dingbat Support Services. How may I assist you today? "My Dingbat PC/phone isn't doing ! MAKE IT WORK!!! RRRAAAGGGEEE!!"
**In a nut shell anyways...***
Posted by: Bitch Boy | Sunday, November 21, 2010 at 04:37 PM
@Damien I'm intrigued - what kind of tubes are we talking about here? and have you, at some point, given off any signal that you have ever or will ever sell tubes of any sort? :P
Posted by: Ria | Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 12:58 PM
OMG, I've had that kind of thing happen to me so often where I work. I'd love to say "this isn't a friggin hotel".
Posted by: Govy bitch | Sunday, April 08, 2012 at 06:30 PM