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.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Out to Get Me

Today’s worst call came from a man who has something of a persecution complex. On the surface, his complaint was a simple dispute about a meter reading that his electric company had taken. He believed that the company misread his meter and overcharged him as a result. I get this complaint a lot, of course, but this particular caller insisted that his case was special.

“I have enemies,” he said in hushed, fearful tones. “There are people out there . . . relatives . . . neighbors . . . co-workers . . . who take great pleasure in causing me pain and suffering. I have no doubt that they are the ones behind this.” The caller spoke with such solemn earnestness that I involuntarily started choking with laughter.

After I stopped hacking up phlegm, I wheezily replied, “Um, okay . . . and do any of these people work for the electric company?”

“No, not that I’m aware of,” he confessed, “but it wouldn’t matter. My enemies have a great deal of influence in this town. They have ways of getting at me . . .”

I tried to reassure the caller that misreadings occur frequently, and suggested that he take a meter reading now and report it to the electric company. That way, the company could compare his reading with the one they took, and see how far apart the two are.

“I’m not going anywhere near that meter,” he wailed. “That’s probably just what my enemies want me to do. For all I know, they booby-trapped it, and I’d be blown to kingdom come!”

Fighting back more riotous, snorting laugher, I informed the caller in my most deadpan voice that this issue was well outside of my jurisdiction. I urged him to contact law enforcement if he felt that someone was trying to kill or maim him by tampering with his meter.

“I already have,” he hissed, “but they wouldn’t investigate either! It’s clear to me now that this conspiracy is even larger than I thought. All of you are in league with my enemies!”

And with that, he hung up, robbing me of my chance to reply, “Curses! Foiled again! But we’ll get you next time, mark my words . . . .moooahhbwahahaha . . . BWA-HA-HA-HA . . . BWA-HA- *ack, koff, hack* . . . damn . . . *wheeze* . . . fucking cigarettes . . ."

Monday, October 17, 2005

My Demands Are As Follows . . .

As you’ve perhaps noticed from my earlier posts, gentle reader, many of my callers possess an unwarranted sense of entitlement. As such, they foolishly subscribe to the following series of myths:

1) There will be no negative consequences for anything I’ve done.
2) It’s always someone else’s fault.
3) The world owes me something.

But even among these clearly delusional people, there is a group of callers that has moved beyond mere entitlement to nothing less than the diva-esque issuing of edicts and demands. And it is, of course, my tragic lot in life to deal with these petty dictators. For your reading pleasure, then, here are some of the recent demands that have been shouted at me, along with the replies I desperately wanted to make.

Demand: I want you to arrest the CEO of my electric company on charges of fraud!
Reply: I can’t actually arrest anyone since I’m not a police officer, although I do enjoy dressing up as one and dancing around the house to “YMCA.”

Demand: You need to call my boss and tell him I ain’t coming to work today on account of the emotional anguish I’ve suffered since my heat got turned off!
Reply: Sure, I’d be happy to, ma’am, but I might just replace the words “emotional anguish” with “a white-hot, pustule-popping case of chlamydia.” Do you still want me to make the call?

Demand: Come to my house and help me balance my checkbook—I can’t tell if my payment to the gas company has cleared.
Reply: I want a pretty pony!

Demand: You need to get your ass down here and read my fucking meter!
Reply: Is “read my fucking meter” some kind of code for a specific sex act? And if so, how much would you pay me to perform it?

Demand: I want your agency to be disbanded ‘cause you’re all useless, and in bed with the utility companies!
Reply: I AM NOT USELESS IN BED!!! . . . what? . . . oh, I see . . . “useless, AND in bed.” Oh yeah, that’s all true—we’re totally corrupt! Sorry, my mistake.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Attack of the Crones

If I believed in utter scams like astrology or feng shui, gentle reader, I’d be forced to conclude that Uranus was out of conjunction with my rising sign, or that my velvet painting of Richard Nixon was hung in an unfortuitous location. My callers today have been so horrible, and yet so similar, that the universe must be trying to send me a message of some kind. And the messenger in this case happens to be a phalanx of bitter old crones, each one more unpleasant and addled than the last.

The first aged emissary called me regarding the imminent disconnection of her electric service. I had a hard time understanding the woman at first, because her voice sounded like two balloons being rubbed together. Eventually, though, I managed to piece together her story. She was outraged because the electric company told her that her cat’s recent diagnosis of feline leukemia did not consititute a medical emergency, and would not affect the impending termination.

Unfortunately, I had to agree with what the company told her. As tragic as her pet’s condition was, only a human medical emergency can forestall a disconnection. In response, the caller squeaked that the electric company and I were in league with Satan, and she hoped we’d all freeze to death during the winter. The caller hung up before I could point out that it’s always nice and toasty in Hell.

My second old bat was a sprightly gal who hailed from one of the more, um, rural parts of my state. Apparently one day she was doing dishes and saw a squirrel climb up a utility pole in her backyard. Upset that a posse of the little critters had eaten some vegetables in her garden, and desirous of some sweet Old Testament-style vengeance, my caller reached for her shotgun and put the squirrel in her sights.

Alas, the caller’s aim was not what it used to be, and her shot missed the squirrel. It did, however, strike a transformer on the pole, showering the panicked rodent with sparks, and leaving her neighborhood without power for most of the day. Subsequently, she received a repair bill from the electric company for the sum of four-hundred dollars. She called my agency to demand that this amount be broken up into ten-dollar installments over forty months. I informed my addlepated Annie Oakley that I had no jurisdiction over this issue, but that she should thank her lucky stars the company didn’t have her rickety old ass tossed in jail. (I did actually use nicer words than this, so get that prissy look off your face.)

The last withered old crone made the most unusual request I’ve had in a while. She wanted me to call the optometrist and see if her glasses had come in yet. She said that she had been calling them every day until an employee told her to stop bothering them (I love this person), and that they would call her when the glasses were ready. I patiently explained to the woman that I worked for a government utility agency, not a messaging service, and would thus be unable to fulfill her request.

In response to this information, the caller suddenly morphed into a shieking, hissing squallcat, and launched into a rant about how no one cares if old people live or die, blah blah blah. I think her little tirade must have gone on for a few more minutes, but I can’t really say for sure since I took my headset off and went to gossip with some co-workers. By the time I came back a little while later, she had apparently hung up or died, either of which was a perfectly acceptable outcome in my eyes.