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This is a question Call Centres

Dreadful pits of hellish torture for both customer and the people who work there. Press 1 to leave an amusing story, press 2 for us to send you a lunchbox full of turds.

(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 12:20)
Pages: Latest, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, ... 1

This question is now closed.

Sometimes, it pays to listen.
First of all, everything written below is true and is virtually word-for-word a transcript of the conversation. I have changed names for obvious reasons. Apologies in advance for the lack of funneh.

Picture the scene: It's a snowy December's night somewhere north of the Watford Gap. Thanks to a small fuckup involving a patient the size of a whale and my back, I am now on light duties in the ambulance control room. It's coming up to 1am, there's a force 8 gale and blizzard battering the control room.


UCC: "Ambulance Service"

Operator: "Blackburn connecting phone number 01234567890"

UCC: "Thank you operator. Go ahead caller. What's the address please?"

Caller: "Um..I'm at the junction of Any Street and Thingy Road in Arsetown (insert name of quite scroaty town here.)"

UCC: "OK, I've got that address. What's the problem tonight?"

Caller (sounds like a young lad) "I'm really sorry to bother you, but I didn't know who else to call."

U: That's OK, just tell us what the problem is and we'll get something sorted.

Caller: I'm really really cold. I've been out on the street all day and I'm freezing. I've tried the police and they gave me a number for a hostel but I've got no cash on me and I can't feel my feet now.

U: (clicking through questions) OK, what's your name?

C: It's Luke

U: OK Luke, my name's Carrot. I'm just going to ask a few questions. They're not going to delay us getting any help to you.

C: (starts crying) I'm really sorry. I'm so sorry.

U: Hey, that's OK. Don't worry.

C: I'm just wasting your time, I'm just wasting everyone's time...

U: (I stop typing). Listen Luke, you're not wasting anyone's time. I'm here until 7 in the morning, so you can take as long as you want.

C: Well, I dunno who to talk to or anything.

U: Well you can talk to me.

C: Well....I told my mum at lunch that I'm gay. I've got this boyfriend and he's great and everything so I thought I should tell her because I love him, and I love her.

U: Right...

C: So I told her, and she told me to get out of the house, that she didn't want to know me if I was a fucking fag, and she wasn't having me in her house. So she shoved me out the front door. I got my coat but my wallet and my mobile is still at home.

U: OK...

C: I had a few coins in my pocket so I phoned my boyfriend to hope he'd take me in.

U: Does he live with his parents too?

C: No, he's 32.

U: Right, and how old are you?

C: I'm 17. I'll be 18 next month.

U: OK, so what happened?

C: He just laughed and said I was a stupid cunt, and hung up on me.

U: He hung up on you?

C: Yeah.

U: I see.

C: So then I just wandered town. A nice lady bought me a cup of tea in the cafe, but now everything's closed and I've got nowhere to go. It's my fault. It's my fault for being gay. I shouldn't be gay...(breaks down in tears.)

U: Right Luke, stop right there. There is NOTHING wrong with being gay. Don't let two silly people make you feel otherwise. I'm gay too, and I know exactly how it feels to be on the receiving end of stupid idiots like that. But it worked out for me and it'll work out for you. Now we need to get you sorted out first of all. Do you have any relatives or friends nearby?

C: No, we just moved here from (another town about 20 miles away) so I know nobody apart from my boyfriend.

U: Right, this is what I am going to do. I am going to send an ambulance to you, not on blue lights but they will be with you shortly, OK? They will look after you and get you warmed up.

C: Oh God, what about college? I'm doing my A-levels....

U: Let's not worry about that at the moment. Let's get you sorted first. Can you give me the number of the hostel?

C: Yeah, it's 019876543321

U: OK, I'll get onto them and get that sorted. I'm going to give you my direct number when you get sorted at hospital, so ring me as soon as possible from the hospital, or if that fails, call 999 and ask to speak to Carrot.

C: Thank you. Thank you so much.

U: The ambulance crew should be with you now.

C: Yeah I can see them.

U: OK, I'm going to terminate the call now. Let me know how you get on.

C: Thanks so much. Bye.

U: Bye.

So I went and got the hostel sorted (despite an argument with a stroppy warden about him being under 18). At 6am, I get a phonecall on my direct phone.

U: Ambulance control, Carrot speaking.

C: Hi Carrot, it's Luke.

U: Hi Luke. How are you doing?

C: I'm much better thanks. I've got the nurse with me who wants to have a word.

Nurse: Hello, is that the calltaker?

U: Yes it is.

N: I thought you might like to know - Luke was so cold when we got him here that he was clinically hypothermic. 20 minutes more outside and he would be dead. He's fine now he's dried out and warmed up.

U: Well, that's great news. I've managed to get a hostel sorted.

N: Well, what's the address? We will pay the taxi fare for him.

So Luke got into the hostel, where he stayed over Christmas. He then moved back to where he used to live where he moved in with his Dad.

Luke is now 21 years old. He finished college with 2 A's and a C at A level and went to university. He has just finished his final year and looks set to get a 1st in his degree. He is one of the nicest, most well rounded young men I have ever had the fortune to meet...and I was lucky enough to meet him. He's had a few relationships, some good, some shite, but now he seems to be with a lovely, and quite frankly barking, bloke who clearly loves him to bits.

So I should feel proud and warm inside? Well I should, but I was very close to telling him to fuck off and stop wasting our time within the first 30 seconds of the call because I was tired and busy.

Sometimes it really does pay to listen.
(, Fri 4 Sep 2009, 19:07, 56 replies)
Have a phone suppprt related pea whilst I gather my thoughts

I have little day to day contact with children
but one instance that does stick in the mind happened a few months ago.

I was at my desk wading through technical inquiries when my desk phone rang. I picked it up and answered it. I was greeted with a small querulous voice of a boy or about 11 or 12 years of age.

BOY "Err, my father owns a pair of your *********** loudspeakers (name removed to protect my anonymity) (£3500) and the tweeter has been dinged, is a replacement available and how much is it?

ME "Could you define *dinged*?"

BOY "Well it had a football hit it and crumple the front quite badly."

ME (imagining the limb numbing panic that is likely coursing through his veins) "I see. Looking at the parts list here, I have them in stock- its £260 plus shipping. The chances are that the dealer will need to fit it however."

BOY- in tiny voice. "Oh."

And with that he starts to cry.

ME- "Am I to assume that your father isn't aware of the damage and probably had some strong views about footballs in the vicinity of his hifi?"

BOY- "He's back tomorrow- oh God he's going to kill me."

ME- "Generally parents don't kill their offspring."

BOY- "You don't understand, he loves those speakers. There must be something you can do."

ME- "Do you have any money at all?"

BOY- "I have £40 as an allowance for the holidays."

ME "And where are you?"

BOY "I'm in *****" (As it turned out, not a million miles from a dealer friend of mine).


ME "OK- This is what I am going to do as I have been in this position myself. I am going to ship the part free. I am going to contact a friend of mine where I suspect the speakers came from and he will come and fit the part. You are going to have to give him the £40. This will mean it is a very expensive game of football but you may escape with your life. There is one other thing you will have to do though."

BOY- *sniffs* What is it?

ME- "You're going to have to tell your Dad what happened."

BOY- "But, but he doesn't have to find out."

ME- "But then however there would be no repercussions and no lesson learned. In telling him, you can show that through creative thinking- and crying, you got the problem sorted at your expense."

BOY- "How would you know if I don't?"

ME- "I have your name and house address. I can check. Besides your Dad will ask where the £40 went."

BOY- "Oh."

Details were confirmed and my friend went and fitted the tweeter the following morning. Some days later a package with letter arrived from the boy's father.

Dear Mr Hatred,
Just a quick note to say I received ****'s blubbing confession as per your instructions on my return. I was sufficiently impressed at his ingenuity to spare his life although he is unlikely to see daylight again in 2008.

Enclosed is further proof of a satisfactory resolution to this unfortunate event.


It was a popped football.
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 16:09, 14 replies)
The other way around, but...
I had a phone call from an Indian guy called 'Steve'. He works for a market surveying company and would spend his day in an office full of other Indians with English names asking anybody that didn't hang up questions about their lifestyle and spending habits. Anyway, I hate cold callers and especially those that keep pushing so they get their commission after I've agreed to take the survey.

Steve : Hello, mynameissteve. howareyoutoday? [that's how he sounded - all the words in one long drawl]
Downhill : Bit busy. Got kids to see to.
Steve : Thatisverynice. Now I ask you some questions. Do you own your home?
Downhill : Sorry, what's this about??

[bloke starts to talk about marketing offers, discounts and prize draw.]

Downhill: Go on then.
Steve : Do you own your own home?
Downhill : Yes
Steve : Are you considering replacing any windows in the near future?
Downhill : No point. I'm blind
Steve : What?
Downhill : I've had them all bricked up as I can't see through them anyway. Keeps the house warmer, too.
Steve : Oh, sorry to hear that. Are there any cars in the household?


Downhill : I'm not allowed to drive.
Steve : Sorry to hear that sir.
Downhill : because I'm blind. I'd crash.
Steve : Sorry to hear that sir.
Downhill : I have a motorbike
Steve : And is the insurance due for renewal in the next few months?
DOwnhill : I can't ride it - I'm blind.
Steve : Sorry to hear that sir.

[awkward pause as Steve skips through that chapter of his text]

Steve : do you read any of the following publications - Daily Mail, The Sun, The....
Downhill : I would love to be able to read all off them, but I can't
Steve : Oh, sorry to...
Downhill : ...because I'm blind
Steve : Oh, sorry to hear that sir


Steve : Do you have a television in the house?
Downhill : Yes. Somewhere.
Steve : Hmm?
Downhill : I can't find it. I'm blind.
Steve : SO you don't watch it?
Downhill : Of course, not. I'm blind.
Steve : Do you know where your tv is?
Downhill : Yes. It;s in the lounge
Steve : Ok....Do you have any pets?
Downhill : ... I have a dog.
Steve : [relieved that he found something I have in the house] what food does the dog normally have?
Downhill : He doesn't have a regular thing to eat. It varies every day.
Steve : Oh. Is that a medical reason?
Downhill : No. I'm blind and can't read the labels. He's had baked beans 3 times this week.
Steve : Sorry to hear that sir.

[pause as Steve looks for the next section of questions]

Downhill : Is this going to take long?
Steve : Er. no just one more section. What sports do you play?
Downhill : Downhill cycle racing
Steve : And do you do this once a day, once a week or once a month, for example
Downhill : Only done it once.
Steve : You've only started recently?
Downhill : No - but the only time i tried it I hit a tree because I'm blind


Steve : You're not really blind are you?
Downhill : And you're not really called Steve are you?

Honestly, the conversation went on a lot longer than you took to read it AND I've spared you some of the sections. Honestly, when they have a script to read and they get paid to read it, they pull out all the stops to get it done!

I never apologise for length. I'm lucky to have any.
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 17:41, 11 replies)
My auntie used to answer 999 calls
Auntie: Which service do you require?
Small boy: Fire engine.
Auntie: Is there a fire?
Small boy: No.
Auntie: Why do you want the fire engine?
Small boy: I want to see the big red truck!
Auntie: Is your mummy there?
Small boy: Yes.
Auntie: Can I speak to her please?

(Auntie explains to small boy's mum that he's been calling 999. She hears a *thwack* down the phone as the boy cops it from his mum)

Five minutes later...

Auntie: Which service do you require?
Small boy: Fire engine.
Auntie: Is there a fire?
Small boy: No, I want to see the big red truck.
Auntie: Is your mummy there?
Small boy: Yes.
Auntie: Can I speak to her please?
Small boy: No.
Auntie: Why not?
Small boy: Cos if you do, she'll hit me again...
(, Fri 4 Sep 2009, 12:02, 2 replies)
the system
I didn’t bother learning to drive till I was 26. I had a Vauxhall Nova for the first year or so after I passed my test until it was pointed out to me that at my age I could probably get something with a bit more poke and not have to sell one of my kidneys to afford the insurance.

So I bought a bright red MK11 Toyota MR2, some say ‘girls car’ some say it’s 'a bit wanky' but as far as I was concerned it was great fun. Decent amount of power, rear wheel drive mid-engined two seater. Cool.

The insurance however was not as hassle free as I had hoped. I called a number of companies and was getting well pissed off after a while. One company took absolutely ages taking all manner of pedantic details only to drop my call after placing me on hold. A complete bloody waste of my time.

So I called them back.

“Hello RipOff BloodyRacket Insurance, Vapid Bint speaking how can I help you?”
“Yeah I’d like a quote please”
“Certainly can you tell me the make and model sir”
“Toyota MR2”
“Engine capacity sir”
“2 litre”
“Is that a two door sir?”
“Erm no, it’s got four”
“Sorry sir our system tells me that is a two door car sir”

(Why they bother asking you these questions when they already have the bloody details in ‘the system’ was one of the things that had been bugging me)

“No, it’s got four doors”
“And it’s definitely a Toyota MR2 sir? Are you sure it’s not a Celica”
“It’s an MR2 it’s got 4 doors. Anyway a Celica is a girl’s car”
“My husband drives a Celica sir”
“Is he a girl?”
“Sorry sir”
“Your husband – is he a girl?”
“Certainly not”
“Well he drives a girl’s car, anyway its definitely got four doors – my door, the other door, the boot door and the glove box door”


“…erm we would regard that as a two door car sir”
“Fair enough, so do I get a discount for having less doors?”
“No, I doesn’t work that way. Have you made any modifications to the vehicle sir?”
“Yeah I put new mats in it”
“That’s not really a modification is it sir”
“Yes it is. The other ones were crap, they kept catching on my shoes”
“(sigh) have you made any modifications to the engine, exhaust, wheels or suspension sir?”
“Ok sir so...”
“Hang on, there’s that thing in the middle bit”
“The middle bit sir?”
“Yeah you know between the seats – next to the stick thing that’s not the gears”
“You mean the handbrake sir”
“Can you describe the modification please sir”
“Well it’s got these lights on it”
“Yes sir…”
“And some dials”
“What’s it called sir?”
“It’s a flux capacitor”
“Can you spell that please?
“Sure – f l u x c a p a c i t o r”
“Sorry sir I’m not getting that on my system is it an in car entertainment device”
“Not really”
“What does it actually do sir?”
“It creates a temporary disruption in the space time continuum by exerting quantum effects on semi classical gravity thus subverting the chronological protection conjecture to permit non linear motion through time”
“It’s a time machine”
(, Sat 5 Sep 2009, 18:49, 8 replies)
At least I think it is.

My old flatmate enjoyed winding up call centre staff so much he decided to let them keep on calling. Now, I did work in a call centre, but that was inbound customer service, and as a result I have no sympathy whatsoever for the sales or outbound staff as I was on the receiving end of complaints when they had lied their arses off to get a sale.

A selection of the Andy's best follows:

1. The surreal tangent

Caller: Hello sir, can I ask you about your mobile phone?
Andy: You may.
Caller: Did you know you can trade in your old phone etc. etc.?
Andy: Why no, I did not.
caller: would you be interested in doing so?
Andy: No, I do not own a phone.
Caller: You do not own a mobile phone sir?
Andy: Nope, no phones at all.
Caller: Sir, do not be funny sir, you must be speaking to me on a phone of some sort.
Andy: No I'm not.
Caller: Sir, please do not make funny with me sir.
Andy: I'm not honestly. It's just that the fridge started ringing and your voice came out of it.
Caller: The fridge sir?
Andy: Refridgerator, yes. Your voice is coming out of it from just behind the mince.
Caller: ...
Andy: Do you get this often?

2. The 'Actually making that person's day' call
Andy came through to the living room talking on the phone, muted the telly and put the woman on speakerphone.
Woman: ...and apparently one half of your house isn't on a conservation area so that half would be suitable for double glazing...
Andy: Oh, would you remove the bricks?
Woman: I'm sorry?
Andy: They got bricked up after the council levied a tax on windows. We couldn't afford more than 3.
Woman: I didn't know they still did that...
Andy: Well, you know, it's just part of the learning curve.
Woman: Yes.
Andy: I never wanted to be a homeowner...
Woman: No?
Andy: No...I wanted to be a lumberjack, Leaping from tree to tree as they float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia. The giant larch, the redwood, the mighty scots pine. With my best girl by my side, we'd sing...sing... sing...

And we did. The whole song.

She seemed to enjoy it.

3. Convince them you're a psycho

Caller: And the best thing is that you can take 10 friends' numbers and get a reduced tariff on calls and texts to them.
Andy: Oh dear.
Caller: Do you have that on your current phone?
Andy: I don't think so. I don't know if I need that feature.
Caller: I assure you sir it's very useful, most people only call the same few numbers with any frequency.
Andy: But...I don't know if I have ten friends.
Caller: Well, you don't have to use all of them.
Andy: There's mother...
Caller: Right, family as well.
Andy: Um...
Caller: Does your dad have a phone?
Andy: Who? There's Aunty Sarah - I used to fancy her when I was six - but she's in a retirement home now and doesn't like noise.
(, Tue 8 Sep 2009, 11:11, 8 replies)
Utility companies
My mum recently moved house and struggled to get the electricity connected.
She'd called the utility company prior to the move and organised for it to be switched on a couple of days before she planned to move in - the switch box was located on the front verandah, so there'd be no issues with accessibility while she wasn't there.

Moving day, and she arrives to find that the electricity hadn't been connected. She calls the utility company again, gets a bit of a run around as to why it hadn't been connected already, and a promise that an electrician will be out between 6pm and midnight that night to connect it.

Midnight comes and with it a remarkable lack of electricians.

The next morning, she makes another call to the utility company to find out what the hell's going on. Eventually through to a real person, she tells them that the electrician didn't turn up the night before to switch on the power, and asks if they can tell her quickly when he will be out, as after a couple of calls and a lot of time on hold with the utility company, her mobile battery is almost dead.
"You should have charged your phone before you called."
The phone monkey places her on hold briefly to call the electrician to see why they didn't turn up the previous night and when he'll be able to come out.
"He did go out there last night, but the lights were off, so he assumed nobody was home".
(, Sun 6 Sep 2009, 4:46, 3 replies)
Ha! Who's the dick now?
Dealing with call centres

I have literally wept with frustration at dealing with these people. I am not angry with the actual people themselves, I am angry with the companies for making me jump through hoops to speak to the right people.


My internet goes down. I know it must be the exchange, because I just know. Nothing has changed in my hardware from when it worked fine the night before.

So I call up my ISP.

Me: hi, I think my exchange is down do you have a timescale for having it fixed please?

CSR: Is your computer turned or switched to the on position please?

Me: Uh, yeah it’s on. Look, I am in IT can we dispense with the pleasantries and you do a line test and then liase with your tech dept and give me a time scale?

CSR: Could you please turn off your computer and wait 30 seconds and then turn it back on please? Then tell me if you see the Windows Vista™ logo please?

Me: Look I assure you it is not the computer, the computer works fine, the router works fine, it’s the exchange.

CSR: Could you please turn off your computer and wait 30 seconds and then turn it back on please? Then tell me if you see the Windows Vista™ logo please?

Me : ok, I have turned it on and off, but I don’t run windows I have a Mac and it runs Leopard.

CSR: What is a leopard?

Me: It’s a type of wild cat but that’s not the point, it’s an operating system for Macs.

CSR: I am only trained to support Windows based computers. Are you running Windows XP ™?

Me: It’s not a computer issue I assure you…

CSR: Are you running Windows 98SE ™?

Me: Please put me through to the technical department.

CSR: Does your router have flashing lights?

Me : Yes of course it has flashing lights, it’s a router!

CSR: There is no need to raise your voice sir. I am trying to help you.

Me: No, I think you are exacerbating the situation.

Pause. Not sure if they know what ‘exacerbate’ means.

CSR: Does your router have flashing lights?

Me : Yes. Yes it does.

CSR: Is the router plugged in?

Me: Yes! Yes!

I actually look down. It is unplugged slightly. The missus was vacuuming this morning. I plug it back in. The INTERNET works.

CSR: Are the light flashing green or yellow?

Me: Uh…I think the exchange has been fixed. Bye.
(, Fri 4 Sep 2009, 18:13, 4 replies)
First Class Idiot
I once worked on the phones for Royal Mail customer complaints department.

One grumpy old man called up to complain about an over-flowing post-box he was standing next to on St. Alban's high street. He ranted for three minutes, getting increasingly nasty.. So.. Hungry for lunch, I told the man about 'our procedure for these situations'...

I told him that I would alert the delivery office and get a van dispatched to collect the mail within the next 20 minutes. I then kindly asked for his assistance in ensuring that the mail remained safe by reaching inside the box and removing as much mail as he could, then placing it out of sight - such as in a coat pocket or in a bag, and waiting for the delivery van to come and collect it.

Eager to help play his part in putting the world back to rights, the man confirmed he would do as I had instructed, thanked me for my professionalism and hung up.

I then picked up the phone and did my civic duty by alerting the police to a suspicious looking man lurking around St. Alban's high-street removing mail from a postbox.

Then I went to lunch.
(, Fri 4 Sep 2009, 18:26, 2 replies)
I used to work for BT as a '100' operator.
Because we took the bulk of our calls from one area (South and West London) we would get the occasional 'regular'. One such 'regular' was obviously an old lonely guy, in his 70's I guess, we'll call him Frank.

Frank had a bit of a liking for tall young men as I would discover on one of my first days working there. With a senior operator sitting beside me, listening in on my calls, giving advice, yada-yada, he called.

"Operator services, how may I help?" my polite pre-recorded salutation enquired, "Oh!" Frank excitedly exclaimed "...you sound like a tall young man!". I sat there briefly, bemused and confused... I 'SOUNDED' like I was 'TALL'!? How did that work exactly? what the fuck was he on about? had I misheard him? Was it just his unconventional way of starting the conversation politely? I looked over to my helper with eyes full of 'HELP!'... But, he was doing his best to not piss himself laughing. Anyway, that was the first of many of my encounters with Frank. Over the many months I worked there I became more at ease with his uncomfortable blend of telecommunication based homosexual lechery, as it came as a welcome break from the usual monotony of reverse charge and "Sorry ta bovva yoo but I put a paand in da pay fown and it wont let me call, can i have a 1 minute free call please" calls.

Over time I realised that if you acted professionally towards Frank, politely ignoring his perverse enquiries, he would bid you farewell asap... Whereas, If you said the right thing, what you knew he wanted to hear - then... well then fun could be had. Then one day about an hour before the end of my shift - he called. My decision was swift - I would lead him on like the man-whore I had always wanted to be... although not towards old men. I would do it in the most polite, most unsackable and, most importantly, least OMG-I-feel-dirtier-than-a-festival-portaloo way I possibly could.

Me - Operator services, how may I help?
Frank - Oh hello, you sound like a tall young man!
Me - Well yes, I'm actually 7'4".
Frank - I bet you've got big hands. (another of his typical pervy enquiries)
Me - Heh, yeah I do actually... And because I'm so tall I used to play a lot of basketball, I was quite good.
Frank - Hmmm, I bet you could pick me up.
Me - Yeah, I suppose I could... I'm pretty strong being my size.

At this point I knew I had him, I'd won his trust. Also, some of my fellow operators nearby had overheard my replies (7'4", big hands, pretty strong) and so knew who I was talking to. They offered smiles and nods of encouragement - which worked. Any thought of pulling out in a mind-bleach induced moment of cowardliness melted away in an instant. Frank continued:

Frank - ......... Have you ever had your bottom spanked?
Me - Yeah, you know... If i was naughty when I was a kid my dad would give me a smack on the bum, I guess I deserved it.
Frank - ........ Have you ever been spanked on your bare bottom?
Me - I guess so. If I had been naughty in the bath, you know, I would've got a smack on the bare bum.

For me, now, this was uncharted territory. The nods and smiles of my fellow operators had turned to grins of WTFLOL-ishness. The conversation continued:

Frank - I bet you could lift me out of the bath!
Me - Sure I could, I think it's important to help fellow members of your community, like you, get in and out of the bath.
Frank - Would you spank me on my bare bottom?
Me - Haha, sure I'd spank your bum, I'm game for a laugh... Its just a bit of innocent fun isn't it.
Frank - You sound like you have a big penis!

At this point, my nerve broke. I "couldnae take it any more cap'n" and decided to cash in my winnings from the telephonic fruit machine of the pervy old man. My voice this time was curt:

Me - How can you tell I have a large penis just from the sound of my voice?
Frank - Erm... I have to go now, bye. [click]

The smiles and nods which had surrounded me, which had turned to grins, had now transformed into sniggers and pfffff's. I had sailed the seas of homoerotic perversion, travelled over the horizons of decency, and had come back unscathed with tales of the most sickening beast imaginable. Ultimately, I had also gone as close as I would ever hope to wanking off a 70 year old bloke.

Maybe you think this is a bit of an anti-climax to the story - but that was the whole point. I didn't want to be there to hear the guttural moans of his vinegar stroke! ...or did I?

(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 17:58, 5 replies)
Never miss out on a good pearoast opportunity...
    I no longer work at this call centre, and don't believe I'll ever work in one again - it's given me a sort of Pavlov's dog-like aversion to the sound of a phone ringing. As you read, you will undoubtably think I am somewhat of a cretin (you are absolutely correct of course), but believe me I was small-fry compared to some of the uber olympic-level wasters on the other end of the line.
   Since it's a bit of an epic pea, I've "re-imagined" some parts, like what shite bands do when they wanna re-release an album, with the added bonus of some heroically wank b-side.
   So here it is, a little window on the world of a Stan James telephone gamble monkey. If you have had a lovely day, all kittens and fwuffies, I would make like a tree and fuck off, it'll only get you down. If you are into your bitter hate-filled diatribes, you're onto a winner...

1. Opening the Call

a) OK, best not to start with the opening gambits of "Would you like my account number?" - no, I'd like to fucking guess it sir - or "Can I have a bet?" - You've. Rung. A. Betline. See, the answers I really want to give to both questions are invariably "no", so just give me your account number and let's get this over with.

b) About that account number. It is six digits long, there is no need to pause after each one. I'm a big boy, I can take it all.

c) Shockingly enough, I need the account information before I can place the bet. If your race is going off, and you are angry that I must ask for said information, there is a simple remedy, RING 20 SECONDS EARLIER YOU LAZY CUNT.

d) Think about the events that are about to transpire, your best course of action. Trackside at the Moto GP? Don't call. Eating food? Don't call. Actually taking an actual shit while we're ACTUALLY talking? What sort of man are you!? Don't call. When all the above criteria are met, and you are somewhere quiet and free from interruption, I can just barely tolerate you. This is as good as it gets.

Sometimes this happens - "You want the account number? *sigh* Hang on I'll just get my card" - this will make my heart hurt. Preparation is the buzzword here, more on this later.

2. Right, We're In

a) Oh, where to start. This is where things begin to go seriously wrong. For starters, don't cut me off during my "Hello Mr Shroodgambler, what can I do for you?" spiel - can't you see I'm being courteous, you fucker.

b) At this point, don't wander off for a conversation with your friend/partner/child. It's crucial we talk, so the important business of betting happens.

c) Now I can't stress this one enough - have some idea of what your bet is before you ring up.

I am not here to hold your hand. I am not here to slip into a dress with you and listen to George Michael. I am not, as the saying goes, a beautiful blonde with big tits and an ass that tastes like vanilla ice cream. So stop trying to fuck me. Trawling through the Botswanan 2nd Division lacrosse prices to find you a filthy 1/3 shot makes me cry actual blood tears.

d) Shouty calls are great. If there's one thing I love, it's repeating every word I say simply because you can't be arsed to leave the pub. Similarly it's brilliant fun when you whisper, due to fear of reprisal from wife/boss/Allah.

e) There are a select band of miscreants who are only allowed to get a bet on when confirmed by the card holder. You know, the type of guy who isn't allowed his own bank account. It is generally "the missus" who does the deed, but there is at least one individual who needs the confirmation of his mum. However, even he was trumped by the chap who needed his prison officer to open the call to explain the legalities of what was about to occur.

3. Bad Bets

a) Too many years gambling, and too long working here, has made me quite snobbish about certain bets. There are a few specifics which I will mention later, but for now, a quick rundown on some of my favourite crap bets. Oooh it's like the chart show isn't it:

- Betting less than a fiver on an odds on shot. Get away from me you gypo, quite frankly.
- Placepots in which you pick every bloody horse running, for 5p stakes.
- Through-the-card forecasts on the dogs. I mean, what leads you to believe trap 1 will beat trap 2 in every. single. race? If you hate money that much, give it to charity.

b) Each way betting is a type of bet used to back long odds. There are two parts to the bet - the win, and the place. Without boring you with too much detail, if you back short odds, you lose money on the place. Anything below 5/1 is a bit silly. So when you go e/w on even money shots and less, my face looks something akin to a bulldog licking piss off a nettle.

c) But we make it hard to just go all out for the win. Myriad bets on a plethora of sports, it can be confusing. But sometimes you just wonder at the thought process of someone putting their cold hard sterling on the assumption there will be over five first half corners in a Belgian League 2 match. Just WHY?

d) I'll lump the rest all in together, as they all tend to come from a very distinct type of customer - the ones we make all the money off.

If you do any of the following -

Back the next fav off without even knowing what it is, when it's off, what sport it's even in.
Ask for what's "in-running" due to the urgent need of betting on something RIGHT NOW.
Ask for the score, get told to ring the results line, then go "Ahh sod it, I'll just have £500 on the short price".
Are unable to pronounce the name of whatever filth you are backing - this one is always a sure sign of the amount of in depth study that has gone into a selection. And don't worry if you can't quite get it, we accept anything from words that sound a bit like the one you're trying to say, to mild racism ("gimme a hundred on that chinky bird")

- any of these, and I will instantly want to ritually slaughter your first born.

4. Things I Don't Need To Know

a) I just need the name of the horse. Dear God. We have this cracking little index thing that means I can just type the fucker in, and everything magically happens. I don't need to know where it's running, who the jockey is, the trainer, what price it was this morning, how it did when it ran out last saturday, what ground it prefers - you might as well tell me its birth mother and date of conception.

b) Personal facts. I don't wanna hear about your life as an accountant for the largest Kellog import/export depot in Europe, about your theory on gay people, whether you've recently shagged a prostitute, the death of all your close family, or how that recent trip to the hospital went.

I'll be blunt, having to hack your voice for one second longer than necessary has me reaching for the staplegun, its destination, MY FACE. I HATE YOU. This is maybe a point I should've raised earlier.

c) Anything else but the bet really. When I give you a price, and you say "but Ladbrokes are doing 3/1!!", what exactly d'you want me to say? Good for them sir!? Just have a bet, or fuck off, is the rule I'm implying.

Also, our company perhaps works differently from those you have encountered previously. Your opinions on our prices/markets/anything else? Quite useless. Utterly without value. I mean that sincerely. If I say something, it's right. If you don't agree, you're wrong. In todays crazy world of asbos and credit crunches, it's nice to see a pure black and white fact.

d) The jokes. Oh the jokes.
"What can I do for you sir?"..."Well, you could find me a winner! hohoho chortle chortle!"
"Would you like 3/1?"..."I'd prefer 20s! hohoho guffaw!"
"D'you do prices for the marathon?"..."Why of course, who were you..."..."Wassa price of the bloke in the diving suit AHAHAHAH CHORTLE LOLZ!!one"

5. Almost Home

a) OK, almost there, but not quite. One of the most crucial parts of the call is about to happen - reading the bet back, and calling "Bet's on". I have to do this. I don't wanna, but I must. So don't talk over the top of me. Don't talk to someone else as I do this, then ask what the bet was again. Don't allow me to go all the way through, dial for the money, strike the bet, then go "Errr, actually I wanted it like this". Just be cool.

b) When I say "Anything else Sir?" that's your cue to get involved, should you want anymore gamble. When you wait until I finish the bet and go "Oh there was something else", my teeth actually curl back on themselves, and reroot into my gums, and blood froths from my mouth. It's a terrible sight.

(, Mon 7 Sep 2009, 18:17, 14 replies)
Not me but well worth mentioning
The subject of Cold Callers was brought up on another site I frequent (The one I usually link in my sig). The bloke who owns the site (Hi Wilson) came up with an idea of creating a points based system to amuse yourself during the calls. Heres an edited version of the original:

Below are listed a number of challenges for you to have a go at next time you get one of these calls. One word of advice though- make sure it’s a call you don’t want before you follow any of these suggestions. You wouldn’t believe the amount of trouble you’d get into for telling your girlfriends bank she’s dead…

Answer the first two questions normally. Then loudly sing a national anthem. It doesn’t have to be your own, and it’s even better if it’s in another language (the French version of “Oh! Canada” is quite effective).
(1 point for every verse you manage before they hang up.)

Answer the first question correctly, then make an animal noise when they ask you a second. Do this every alternate question until they give up. If they ask why you are making the noise, claim you don’t understand what they’re on about.
(1 point per animal)

If they’re foreign, answer the questions use the most complicated words with the most syllables you can think of. Alternately, insert random words into the answers. Dinosaur names are good here as there’s very little chance their English course will have covered them.
(1 point per question answered nonsensically)

Following the classic Two Ronnies Mastermind sketch, answer the question before the one they last asked.
(1 point per question before they give up)

Ask them if McDonalds wasn’t hiring when they went job hunting.
(2 points)

Ask them to hang on. Then tell them the number they want is 0845 6060 234.
(1 point)
Explaining when they ask that it’s the number for Job Centre direct.
(Bonus 1 point)
Saying you just thought they might want a job that doesn’t involve pissing people off in their own homes.
(Bonus 2 points)
(Extra 10 points if you make them swear, as they’re probably being recorded and will no doubt be sacked.)

If it’s someone trying to get you to allow them to send a sales rep round to your house (hello Kitchens Direct!), say you’ll agree if the caller can beat you at a game of I Spy.
(3 points. Bonus point for every time they actually guess)

If it’s some charity, and they ask if they can take a few minutes to talk to you about their cause, let them. Then ask them if you can take a few minutes to talk to them about our lord Jesus.
(1 point for every minute you can keep it up. 4 bonus points if you can convince them to make a donation to your church)

Tell them you’ll only answer the questions if they’ll tell you who they think would win in a knife fight between Portland Bill and Fireman Sam. If they answer, demand to know their reasoning.
(2 points. 4 if they give reasons)

If it’s a woman, answer the questions while lightly slapping any piece of exposed skin and grunting occasionally.
(1 point for every minute until she hangs up)

If they ask for you by name, tell them that person is dead. Pretend you don’t know it’s a sales call, then become angry when you “realise”. Accuse them of being disrespectful.
(4 points if you get a full apology. Bonus points for calling them “Jackals”)

If they ask if you’re the homeowner say no. If they ask if they’re available, explain they’re a bit tied up- literally. Explain you’re a burglar and ask if they could please hang up so you can nick the phone.
(3 points)

If they’re trying to get you to switch one of your utility bills, and ask how much you pay for it. Ask them to guess. Tell them it’s a number between 1 and 100.
(1 point for every guess)

If it’s double glazing, and they’re trying to quote you over the phone, go through the whole malarkey, then ask if they really think you’ll need this many windows for a caravan.
(3 points)
Ask their favourite colour. If they tell you, sound disappointed. Then carry on, but about 2 minutes later ask again. Then tell them sorry, but you can’t go on.
(1 point)

Knock on the table, tell them it’s someone at the door and ask tem to hang on. Walk a slight distance away then say ‘Oh it’s you. What do you want?’ Then scream loudly, but don’t hang up.
(2 points. bonus 4 if they call the police)
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 12:46, 4 replies)
Selling Advertising Again...
When I was on local papers, taking public calls, the most sensitive type you could get was people placing Death Announcements and Obituaries. There's nothing worse than an angry bereaved relative ringing to say you've spelt their dear departed's name wrong, or mangled the meaningful bit of verse they wanted to include.

As a result, there was a general rule that you eliminate all doubt before the thing runs: read it through back to them, check any spelling, even email or fax a copy to them to check through.

Sometimes, there's things you don't notice until the ad's ready to run though, and you have to make a last minute call back to the family to check.

One day, we had just such a situation when there were a few people clustered round a screen as I wandered back from the coffee machine, and I joined them and asked what was up.

'Read this' I was told.

I was looking at a fairly lengthy Obit for a young guy who'd died in a car crash the week before. The family had included a poem which had obviously been written by them, and which whilst terrible from any sort of technical or artistic viewpoint, was quite touching in that it clearly meant a lot to them, however, the last stanza read:

'You really loved your car,
It was your little toy,
You used to clean it all the time,
And drove it every day'

'The rhyme doesn't work...' I muttered.

'That's what everyone thinks. I'm going to have to call them back.'

So she gets on the phone and dials the mother. We don't cluster round as we all have to get back to our desk and back on the phones, but we're curious about the outcome and are all listening to the call from our end.

To our surprise, our operative calls up, says hello to the mother, then just says 'I just wanted to let you know for sure the ad will run tomorrow... OK Mrs. ______... Yes, we'll send you a copy... Goodbye.'

'You didn't check it?' we ask.
'No need.'
'They're from Dudley.'

Now read it again in a Black Country accent and see how the rhyme works...
(, Sun 6 Sep 2009, 14:34, 13 replies)
Yet Another Pearoast
Sorry. But it is about a call centre. Next post will be a newby. Promise.

As a techy I've had to deal with the problems that have since become Urban Legends. The woman who photocopied her floppy disks when asked to make a copy. A guy who managed to jam *3* 5 1/4 inch floppies into his drive at the same time, the exec who was trying to fax a document by holding it to the screen and hitting the fax button in Word. Yup - I've had those and many, many more. The next tale happened at my last place of work.

I was working on 2nd/3rd line in a service desk and every once in a while the firstliners would put a call through to me that they couldn't deal with or if they didn't know which team it was supposed to go to. So one day a call was put through to me from the Headmistress of a local school.

"Hi - you're speaking to Legless, what seems to be the problem" I said

"It's the children’s computers" this incredibly posh, female, voice bleated "They're riddled with pornography and it keeps popping up all over the screen"

"OK - exactly what kind of pornography?" I asked

"COCKS!!! BIG BLACK COCKS!!!" screamed the head excitedly.

I corpsed. Hit the mute button and wet myself...

(, Sat 5 Sep 2009, 11:41, 6 replies)
What's in a name?
Many years ago I used to work in a call centre for a leading insurance company.*

As team leader of the I.S.T (International Sales Team), I'd have to meet up with the other S.T.L's (Sales Team Leaders) and C.S.T.L's (Customer Support Team Leaders) for a weekly M.M (Management Meeting). It was utter, utter, tedious painful bollocks. During these meetings suicide seemed like a perfectly reasonable course of action. I swear these sycophantic wankers had all been lobotomized. If you dished out two rubicks cubes, one to this lot and the other to a bucketful of pigshit, I'd have staked my house, life and knackers on the steamy pig crap to solving the puzzle first. It really was that bad.

All we'd talk about was names. They were big on names and snappy-sounding acronyms in this place. One of the particularly nasty tosspots who worked there, a middle aged lady named Tracy who scared the living shit out of me, was running one of the customer support teams: she decided her team needed a new name. And who best to come up with this name than the shower of mutated, disease-ridden pissflaps sat round the table in the team leader meeting.

After ten minutes or so doodling and trying not to fall asleep I got asked if I had a suggestion. I was never really cut out for the job, the people I had working for me said I was human and just didn't fit in. So I seemed to spend most of my time squirming and trying to blend into the scenery. Anyway, I put down my pencil, had a little think about it and - as I tend to do when I'm nervous - thought I'd play the clown:

Ho! Ho! This'll get a bit of a laugh!

So I said: "How about customer understanding and negotiation team?" And then I sat back with a shit-eating grin on my face.

The only problem was that Tracy fucking loved the name. Oh, shit...

So, a few days later when one of my team ambled up to me and said, "Err, Spanky... You see that battleaxe, Tracy..." I nodded. "Couldn't help but notice her team name's changed..." I nodded again. "And she's making a sign to hang from the ceiling above her desk..." Again, I nodded, frantically sipping at my coffee cup. "And, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure the sign says-"

You see, from a distance - and thankfully my team was based right on the other side of the large open plan office away from Tracy's team - you couldn't quite make out the '&' she'd written in smaller lettering on the sign.

So Tracy sat there, for about three or four hours before someone pointed it out to her, directly underneath a sign which had stencilled on it in big black letters:


Technically, the sign was absolutely correct - Tracy was a cunt. Oh, how we laughed about it in our next management meeting!

Thinking about it though, I didn't last too long in that job...

*Named after a Swiss city.
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 14:20, 10 replies)
How BT ruined my friend's marriage
Back in the days of yore, circa the mid-nineties before mobile phones became ubiquitous, my friend got married like the child bride that she was. Fast forward a few months to the lovely country cottage that her and her new husband were renovating. He went off to work and she was busy peeling wallpaper or the suchlike, when the phone rang. It was the BT call centre.

"Hello," they said. "We're phoning about your billing. We'd like to offer you the chance to put together a Friends and Family list for discounts on your calls."
"Great idea," replied my friend.
"Based on frequency of calls we suggest this number as part of your list," responded BT, giving details.
"Yes, that's my mate's number, but I never call her that much," replied my friend.

No. But it turns out that her husband did. And that's how she found out he was having an affair. And that's how she kicked him out and got a divorce. And that's how BT ruined her marriage (which, she concedes, was a good thing in the long run).
(, Mon 7 Sep 2009, 12:18, 4 replies)
Fucking with zee workforce
Customer: “Gut-en-taag, you sell zee bespoke indemnity insurance, yes? I vud like a quote for zee cover, pleeze.”

Dave: “No problem, Sir. What are you looking to insure?”

Customer: “Aie am making zee documen-tarry feelm.”

Dave: “OK, I think we can sort that out for you. I’ll need to take some details first and will have to run it past an underwriter. Can I take your name, please, Sir?”

Customer: “Hitler.”

Dave: “...........”

Customer: “Clarence Hitler – no relation. I get zat all zee time. Ho! Ho!”

Dave: “And what’s the documentary about, Sir?” (Best professional voice)

Customer: “It is zee science. I am attempting to breed zee gorilla with zee homo sapien.”

Dave: “......................... I’m sorry, could you repeat that, please?”

Customer: “I have found zee lady named Sarah Shields, she is letting me film her az she makes the love with zee gorilla. It is dangerous, but she iz very willing. And zee camera crew have zee extream close up lenz for zee shot of zee money.”

Dave: “Sarah Shields? What....? Who is this?”

- CLICK!!! -

I knew Dave was by himself in the call centre and would answer the call because I’d left him there on his sweeny about half an hour earlier when my shift finished. I always enjoyed messing with his head on account of him being far too handsome and witty for his own good. And his girlfriend, Sarah Shields, was a real hotty, the lucky, jammy bastard.

As I turned away from the payphone in the boozer next to work I noticed a bloke stood behind me waiting to use the phone. He was looking a little aghast.

“Don’t worry, mate – I’m not really German.” I said.
(, Mon 7 Sep 2009, 10:09, 4 replies)
They're human too, y'know!
In my profession I call folks in call centres every day. As these folks speak with ungrateful shopkeepers and tradesmen all day, I like to try and liven their lives up a bit. Just yesterday I had to call some folks to place a very large order. The ordering took ages as the poor guy was obviously new, so I decided to spice things up a little.

Halfway through the call I asked:

Me: "Who would win the following battle: A shark on wheels or a polar bear with a lightsabre?"
Him: "Hmm. The polar bear, I think."

Ordering plumbing supplies resumed until ten minutes later:

Me: "What about this one? HMS Ark Royal or Katie Price's vag?"
Him: "Katie Price's vag. Definitely. It's unstoppable."

Class act, that man.
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 19:33, 5 replies)
Not funny...but useful..
Having trouble getting through to someone on an 0845 / 0870 number (these are known as non-geographical numbers in the trade)?

Go to www.saynoto0870.com and get the 'geographical' number. When you call the genuine number you'll still be presented with all the 'press one for...' bullshit. To bypass this and really piss the company off - simply change one or two of the digits at the end of the geographical number. This will undoubtedly connect you with someone's DDI (direct dial number)...anyone from the MD to the cleaning department. Keep experimenting until you find someone useful.

Adopting this approach with Carphone Warehouse (non-geo number: 0208 896 5000 - I hit the jackpot on 0208 896 5080), giving me direct access to a senior manager, who's immediate response was, 'how the hell did you get this number?' - to which I replied, 'my complaint was escalated to your department and I was transferred to speak to you.'

My £85 refund cheque arrived in three days time and my contract with Carphone Whorehouse was cancelled with immediate effect. Result.
(, Fri 4 Sep 2009, 10:20, 21 replies)
Spying Fish
I used to work for Screwfix Direct on the inbound ordering line. It was a nice easy job and I cannot remember a bad customer. All I had to do was to enter the reference number, confirm what the item was and ask for the quantity. Good job for a burnt-out engineering student.

The company used an electoral-roll style of address lookup, all you had to do was enter the address and it would populate the name of the owner/voters registered at the place. One day, a very pleasant sounding lady rang up and asked to register as a customer. I asked for her address first and said "Oh is that Catherine?". She sounded very shocked and asked me how i knew. I was feeling rather cheeky (and a bit strange) and said

"Well, I am not really supposed to tell you. However, I do have a magical flying fish that travels down phonelines. He looked over your shoulder and saw a letter with your name on."

About 1 minute passed by in silence then the customer laughed her head off.

She asked for his name and said that she wanted to speak to him. To which I broke out in laughter and said that it was Bob and that he was hiding behind the monitor in a bad mood due to his secret being let out.

Such a nice lady and she wished Bob a nice day at the end of the call.
(, Tue 8 Sep 2009, 21:29, 1 reply)
Press 1
My mate once called the Guinness helpline number on the back of the can, the conversation went roughly as follows:

Mate: Hi I'm wondering if it's OK to drink my Guinness now?
Guinness: Sorry Sir, I don't get you.
Mate: Well it says on the can to chill for an hour before drinking.
Guinness: Yes sir that's correct.
Mate: Well, I've been in the garden chilling for 45mins and am a bit bored so want to know if that's long enough or not?

(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 18:50, 2 replies)
I used to work in a call centre,
phoning the great British public to see if they were interested in the goods my company sold. A lot like Yo Sushi, a conveyor belt ran through the office, where a variety of products were placed, and they would slowly go past you. Oh we had everything in stock, from leather walking stick covers, and bottles of tea tree oil, to tins of Stagg Chilli and tubs of stickle bricks.

We were each given a phonebook, and when you had dialled a number at random, the product going past your face as you pressed the last digit was the item you tried to sell.

“Rhubarb Rhubarb” you would have to say once you heard a dialling tone.

When the customer answered, the flaps on the small hole on the base of your chair opened and slowly a metal spike worked its way up. At around 10 seconds you could feel the cold sharp metal probing at the fabric of your Bermuda shorts. If you had not closed a sale within a minute, the spike would have inserted the full length of its sharp glistening metal love length into your rusty sheriff’s badge, and then it would withdraw slowly. Then a buzzer would go off, and a Vietnamese supervisor would come over, throw you a towel, and slap you in the face once shouting “MOW!”

Now I’m not much of a salesman, but there is nothing like the motivation gained when you have a metal spike trying to find a way into your rectum, a Vietnamese man slapping you shouting “MOW!” and, if you failed to get a sale for the entire shift, you had the indignity of wearing the ‘fish hat’ the next day. The fish hat was merely a fish draped over the head. Not much fun when you have to lower your head to read phone numbers – it always fell off. Plus there was always a supervisor on hand to grass you up if your fish hat fell off.

“Fish hat fall off error” He would say into a radio, and within minutes one of the Vietnamese supervisors would be over, and he would place it back on your head whilst quoting from the film ‘Airplane’ presumably to try to make you laugh and perform another fish hat fall off error. If that didn’t work, he always had a red nose and a car horn in his pocket. Everyone knows that nobody can fail to raise a smile at the parp of a car horn, Then when the eyes turn to the source of the sound, and there is a small Asian fellow with a red nose striking a ‘Tadaaaaa!’ pose, well that’s it, your laughing your arse off.

A second fish hat fall off error would incur a loss of a day’s pay, and if you had children, if you ever bought them an ice cream, a ninja would appear from nowhere and slap it out of their hand. You never knew when it was coming, but somewhere along the line, you would be about a quid down, and have a crying child to deal with.

You get used to anything. When I started the job, I was rubbish, hardly shifted a thing, and had a right sore arse and fishy hair to boot.

I tried allsorts to get my act together and make a sale. I tried softly softly, the Morphy Richards, and the Canadian method of pressure selling, but nothing worked. Until I stumbled upon the book.

‘Chris Eyebrow’s guide to high pressure sales and rectal trauma avoidance’

It was like this book was written just for me. I pored over its contents. It spewed forth wise words of wisely worded wisdoms from someone who is worldly wise and full of wisdom. It told me how to draw the punter in, make him an offer he thought was too good to turn down, and close the sale before he changed his mind. Also, the chapter about lining your pants with a steel plate was pretty good too.

I managed to get a pretty good sales record. My best day was when I shifted 5 pallets of peg holders – which were used cracked and split Walls Ice cream tubs – to a senile old bint in Bradford. I wore the Badger hat that day and I was very proud. It fell off once and was gently placed back on my head by a white cottoned gloved Vietnamese supervisor who bowed before returning to his corner.

I had to leave recently though, to pursue a lifelong dream of working in 100w light bulb sales. Things are looking up!
(, Mon 7 Sep 2009, 11:15, 8 replies)
Cold call, but
...not on a phone.

Seeing as the QoTW seems to have been extended beyond it's scope....

I once had a window salesman turn up after a cold-call to my ex girlfriend. She was useless at getting rid of them. I'm usually polite and to the point and that seems good enough; she, however could be talked into buying snow if she lived in Alaska.

Anyway, this bloke turns up - of course, she's out. I told the bloke I knew nothing of it and he looked decidedly put out, and then said,

"look, if you just sign this form to say I gave you my speil, then I get ten quid and everyone's happy."

I replied, "yes, of course. Why not." (he was driving a Honda Accord)

...then, "do you want to come in for a beer...?"

Of course, he jumped at the offer. Whilst drinking the aforementioned beer he noticed my guitars (they were, after all, spread about the living room as they always are) and asked if I played.

I replied in the affirmative and started to play. He asked if he could grab one of the others and join in, and he did. He was a bloody decent guitarist by all accounts and we had a jam for a good couple of hours along with a good few beers.

We got to talking about guitars and it turned out he was a roadie in the 60's (aren't they all), he said despite it being low paid - it wasn't for the Hendrix Experience or anything (that's for another QoTW), it was the best time of his life, and the time of his life where he got laid the most etc...

Anyway, when it got dark, the misses returned. He handed me 20 quid to cover the drinks - which I refused, gave me his number and said if I ever wanted to jam again, to give him a ring.

I never did, sadly, but it was quite possibly the most enjoyable cold-call I've ever had.
(, Tue 8 Sep 2009, 15:21, 2 replies)
When I started up my business from home, my colleague and I played a game
when call centres asked who to speak with, we'd tell them that the person they needed to speak to was Dom Fellini - my cat Domino (who sat curled on a chair with 'Operations Director' pinned to it). We would award points for ;
a) subsequent phone calls for Dom
b) letters addressed to Dom
c) callers insisting they've spoken with Dom previously.
(, Fri 4 Sep 2009, 15:31, 5 replies)
Illegal Music
I answered the phone at work at some point last year, to a man telling me that I needed to buy a radio broadcast license if I wanted to allow my employees to listen to music.

I was bored, and this prick was annoying me, so I decided to go along with it. I told him we did in fact have some music, but that it was the BT "on hold" music provided with our BT Switchboard.

The moron said "you will need a license for that then, it broadcasts"...at which point I told him I didn't believe the music was protected. He asked me for the name of all the tracks, and instead I told him to take a listen for himself, and proceeded to put him on hold on a phone in the IT room (unstaffed).

I thought nothing more of it and expected him to give up. Except....about an hour later our automated holding system took him off hold and back to my phone....he will still there, and claimed he had listened to each piece and was happy it was all unprotected. He then thanked me for my time.

He lost an hour of his life...and I felt great!
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 18:46, 5 replies)
How to WIN at Teatime Cold Calling
Ring-ring! Ring-ring!

The caller display reads 'withheld', and it being six of the evening, it can only mean one thing.


"Good evening," says a distant voice, "Is Mr Duck available?"

Yup, it's Sanjay again.

"It's Sanjay from Debt Advice Direct and..."

"I'm terribly sorry. I'm afraid he's dead."


"...very tragic..."

"I'm very sorry to hear that."

"...bizarre spacehopper accident..."

"Our utmost condolences ...what?"

"...complete rectal prolapse..."


The next day:

Ring-ring! Ring-ring!

"Alright Sanj, didn't I tell you I was already dead?"

"You are?"

"Yes. Yes I am."

"I'm terribly sorry to hear that..."

"Very sad. Bizarre spacehopper accident."

"Oh GOD! Not you again!"

"This call is being recorded for your convenience and training purposes."
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 14:43, Reply)
I get cold-called at my girl's house every so often
The conversation usually runs something like this:
(imagine that the cold caller has an impenetrably thick Indian accent)

"Hello, I have information here that your computer is running slowly."
"I'm sorry?"
"I have information that your computer is running slowly, would you like me to fix this problem?"
"What problem?"
"Your computer is running slowly, but we have the solution."
"How do you know my computer's running slowly?"
"We got this information from your ISP."
"How do they know?"
"How do they know what?"
"How do they know that my computer is running slowly?"
"They passed the information on to us."
"So...who are they?"
"Who are who?"
"Who's my ISP?"
"ISPs are companies like Virgin, Aol, Bulldog broadband that supply you internet."
"Yes, I know that. You said my ISP passed information onto you about my computer."
"Yes, they said it was running slowly."
"So who is my ISP? If they are passing you information, you must know who they are."
"We have that information, yes."
"So...who are they?"
"Who are who?"
"My ISP."
"We don't have that information."
"Wait, you're telling me that my ISP sent you information about my computer without identifying themselves to you?"
"We don't have any information about who your ISP is, no."
"So someone, potentially my ISP, potentially someone pretending to be them - or not, since you don't even know which company this information is coming from, told you that my computer was running slowly."
"Yes sir."
"And your solution is...?"
"We have special software that will speed up Windows."
"Yes sir, Windows is running slowly on your computer."
"Is this the information you got from my ISP?"
"Yes sir."
"Which you can't tell me the name of."
"Yes sir."
"I think there's going to be a bit of a problem here, you see I'm a network engineer, and all the computers in this house run perfectly fine. Windows isn't slowing down at all because my server runs Linux Apache, my laptop has Ubuntu and the Mac...is a Mac."
"So your computer isn't running slowly then?"
"Wait, let me get this straight, someone claiming to be my ISP told you that I had a computer running Windows that's too slow?"
"That is the information I have here yes."
"Yet I don't have a computer running Windows in the house."
"No sir."
"So someone has been feeding you misinformation about me, wouldn't you agree?"
"Yes sir."
"Could I speak to your manager, please?"

*repeat conversation from top of post until they get so exasperated with me they hang up*
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 14:38, 5 replies)
IT Helpdesk
It's me job. Can be very frustrating and very amusing.

I can fix most problems that don;t require physical tech support over the phone. It's just a matter of finding the level of understanding of the customer without crossing the line into becoming a condacending techy.

The big problem arises from trying to work out what the problem is. No matter what the user says the problem is probably something else.

Some classic ones are:

"I can't access the internet" (monitor turned off)

"I can't print this document" (user has forgotton password to log on)

"My PC is on but the server is off" (The monitor is on but the PC is off)

"I can't send any emails" (the wireless mouse's battery has run out)

"My mouse doesn't work" (The office has been moved round. The users old PC has been disconencted and put to the side to be collected for disposal. The user is sitting at her old desk, infront of her old CRT monitor with a "To Be Disposed" sticker on it's screen, flailing around with an unconnected mouse and keyboard she'd picked up from the rubbish bin. Behind her, her new PC has been connected, powered on and is sitting on her new desk that has her nameplate on)
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 13:29, 5 replies)
Bomb the buggers
In the early 1990s I worked in a directory enquiry centre that was located in the northwest of England, in a town famed for its rail connections and heritage, even though we exclusively handled calls from London.

Aside from dealing with the lowlife scum that exclusively populate the capital, the job was OK, and made even more amusing when some tit tried to make a bomb threat to our building.

Remember, this was before the public was familiar with their calls being answered in faraway places, so the numbnuts who made the threats were invariably convinced that you were in their local exchange and got most miffed when you pointed out that you were 150 fucking miles away from whatever piss-fragranced phone box they were in. Nonetheless, we too had a bomb threat form to fill in and report, but our procedure was to not evacuate the building because you could be walking towards the bomb - never mind that the fucking building could fall down around our ears.

Our other entertainments came from the sheer stupidity of some of the callers and their requests.

Some of my colleagues in other sites collected their favourite enquiries and sent them out in newsletters. Among the ones I remember are:

Punter: “Argoed Fish Bar, Cardiff, please.”
Operator: “I have nothing for the Argoed Fish Bar, could it be under another name?”
Punter: “Well it used to be called the Bargoed Fish Bar until the B fell off the sign.”

Punter: “I’m flying to Germany, could I have the flight enquiry number for Luftwaffe please?"
Operator: “I think you might mean Lufthansa?”
Punter: (click)

Punter: "I want a number for (company name) in Woven, please."
Operator: "I don't have any record of a place called Woven, where is it near?"
Punter: "All I know is it's in Scotland. The label on my sweater says 'Woven in Scotland'"
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 11:13, 2 replies)
Time wasting
So I was unemployed for a while. If you are home a lot during the day, you get a lot of cold callers. I was bored a lot so would find more interesting ways of getting them to hang up on me. I would do stuff like eating crisps loudly, pretending to be unable to understand English ("Sorry mate, I don't speak English. No, no-one else here does, at least, not last time I checked. No, I really haven't got a clue what you're saying. Seriously, I can't speak English") and the like.

But my absolute favourite was, upon being asked if I had ten minutes to participate in a survey, replied "Depends, would I have to stop masturbating while I do it?" Remarkably, the bloke hung up straight away.
(, Mon 7 Sep 2009, 15:51, 3 replies)

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