My Worst Call of the Day

From the dozens of idiotic calls I take each day as a customer service representative, I humbly submit the winner.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Death of Diplomacy

Not too long ago, gentle reader, I wrote about how I endeavor to treat my callers with some degree of diplomacy. This is an admirable approach, and certainly one that all customer service reps should emulate. However, the intervening months since I wrote those words have been . . . well, challenging at best. The vast sea of idiots and assholes crashes mightily upon me each day, and, as a result, my rock of diplomacy is now somewhat eroded.

All of this, I hope, will serve to explain why the following sentences escaped my mouth when speaking to various recent callers:

“Let’s see if I can reconstruct the assorted, um, chunks of information you’ve given me, and try to arrange them into something approaching coherence.”

“I’m sorry your electricity was disconnected today, sir, but the last time I checked, the electric company wasn’t providing service out of the goodness of its heart. You might want to consider actually sending them a payment now and then. Call me crazy, but this seems to work okay for the rest of us.”

“Yes, ma’am, I understand that you don’t agree with our state’s utility laws, but you see, I wasn’t really asking for your opinion.”

“While I am personally thrilled to know that you’re a taxpayer, a member of the AARP, and a veteran of the Korean conflict, sir, I was supposed to go home five minutes ago, so if there's a point to this conversation, I recommend that you get to it right now."

And finally:

“Ma’am . . (squeaky, high-pitched babbling) . . . ma’am . . . (still babbling) . . . MA’AM!!! My ears are bleeding! I need you to slow your mouth down from that chipmunk chatter to a level that humans can comprehend. And please bear in mind that I’m also taking notes, and that I only type fifty words per minute, not five-hundred.”

Given these lapses in customer service etiquette, all I can say is, thank God my job's protected by the union, or I would be so fucking fired.


  • At 9/30/2005 9:05 AM, Blogger arboon! said…



  • At 9/30/2005 3:51 PM, Anonymous dyslexicdaisy said…

    LMFAO hey, some days that shit slips out...hehe

  • At 10/01/2005 2:09 PM, Blogger mr_g said…

    God, I've wanted to say stuff like that. Thank you for letting me know someone got the satisfaction I was lacking!

  • At 10/02/2005 1:13 PM, Blogger peanutbutterfilthy said…


  • At 10/03/2005 10:51 AM, Blogger Doug said…

    Anonymous for Senate! The time is now!

  • At 10/03/2005 10:51 AM, Blogger Doug said…

    Anonymous for Senate! The time is now!

  • At 10/03/2005 7:59 PM, Anonymous Ruri Tamanaka said…

    Anonymous Me:

    I love your blog! It make me laugh so hard! You ever come to Tokyo, I buy you sushi, yes?


  • At 10/04/2005 5:22 PM, Blogger The Big Cheese said…

    Yes, I really hope that what you wrote here is true. I just left a job that was a phone job and know exactly what you are saying...

  • At 10/04/2005 7:48 PM, Blogger Bobby said…

    I may have to work in a call center, and your post wasn't inspirational to me.

    Oh well, stupid people are everywhere I guess.

  • At 10/04/2005 10:39 PM, Blogger Running Guy said…

    I am glad you are back posting. We all want to be honest with people who are assholes, most of us just too nice or timid to give them the harsh truth.

  • At 10/12/2005 4:33 AM, Blogger Bunny ~N~ Early said…

    I find most people messed up. I have learned to have fun with it though I would be fired if I had your job.

  • At 10/18/2005 6:03 AM, Blogger Anastasia said…

    Love them all (lol), they're great and every rep needs to include them in their bag of tricks.

    It's amazing isn't it? Upper management (any form or kind) try to condition customer service reps about the importance of diplomacy, and it all translates to, 'you have to be perfect, think that you're perfect and you can BE perfect, even if the caller uses you to wipe the floor..'

    One time at publishing company from Hell, I had this customer slash 'wannabe' 'auteur!' go on and on, demanding to speak to one of our publishers after talking to me about the price of a book and so on, he just went off on this, 'I can write better than the authors you have', tangent. Ten minutes of phone diplomacy went by when out came, 'Look, I don't have all day, I've got other calls from people that don't fancy themselves as NY Times Best Selling authors!', and he was bereft of words.

    I freakin' loved it.

    Those moments, where you can get away with that, are golden moments. Surgeons have 'I am God' moments, so why not customer service reps?



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