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This is a question Corporate Idiocy

Comedian Al Murray recounts a run-in with industrial-scale stupidity: "Car insurance company rang, without having sent me a renewal letter, asking for money. Made them answer security questions." In the same vein, tell us your stories about pointless paperwork and corporate quarter-wits

(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 12:13)
Pages: Popular, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Similar to moon monkey's tale of broadband woe:
my internet access packed up. Having convinced the nice man at BT technical support that there was nothing wrong with my PC or my HomeHub, I was passed to a more senior engineer. After running some tests on my line, he comes back to inform me that there is nothing wrong with my broadband, but that my phoneline isn't working. The phoneline that is, at that very moment, enabling our conversation. Argh.
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 15:27, Reply)
Same as before
I am having a jolly fun ongoing situation regarding hours, I do some part time lecturing on a photographic course at Uni, our hours are released on a contract, this year there has been an increase in students so on this particular course I'm teaching two groups instead of the one class, however HR seem to think that because there were only 30 students on the course last year then the same can apply this year even though there are about 40 (when they show up).

Unless it is resolved I won't have time to finish teaching the course or mark the work, wonder how they'll sort that out.

The other issue is that they seem to insist on a simple matter of having more in the class, whilst I'm teaching photoshop or lightroom I try to point out there are only 28 machines in the room and every year have to tell students that they can't sit in on a class due to number. Ok so they are normally half an hour late for a lesson in the first place and after a couple of weeks stop showing up which actually negates the problem.
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 15:09, 1 reply)
Worth the hassle just for one moment
We moved house, and had some internets connected. But they weren't working very well, so after a couple of weeks of being on hold then trying to explain that we couldn't check the website for the service status in our area BECAUSE OUR INTERNET WASN'T WORKING, they finally agreed to send an engineer round.

So he turns up, and after testing and grudgingly admitting that it was, in fact, borked, went outside to prod around in the cable box. After a few minutes he returned, with a cheery "Blimey, it's a total mess in there. What idiot installed that, then?"

To which I gleefully answered "You did."

(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 15:08, 2 replies)
February 2010
Some clot drove into the side of my car on a roundabout. Not my fault, I couldn't have seen it coming and he admitted fault straight away.

For some reason, this significantly raises MY insurance premiums.

My insurance company were rather bemused that I would be unhappy about that.
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 15:00, 9 replies)
Regularly we will get calls from out bank/ISP/Energy suppliers ect
as I am sure you all do too. They always ask us to prove our identity despite them phoning us. When I point out the flaw in that as they could be anyone calling pretending to be my bank to steal my secret question, mothers maiden name, age I got my first blowjob, my level of Duke of Edinburgh's award and my DoB the best they can come up with is "Ummmmm I assure you I really am Dan from Halifax" I generally say that as they can't prove who they are, to call me back when they don't require me to prove who I am. Though I did once get one of them to give me my postcode, date of birth and the answer to my secret question to prove who they were and then pointed out how stupid and potentially dangerous it was to give people the answers to question without knowing who they were.
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 14:49, 8 replies)
Anglian Windows
I got Anglian to double-glaze my house last year - good product, good price, excellent credit scheme. So far so good.

Since then though I've been bombarded with calls from them - nearly always calling me "Mr Lee" - I bought the house off an old lady (now deceased) called Mrs Lee. Pointing out to them that after spending several thousand pounds with them the fact that they can't get my name right "makes me feel a little bit used/offended/upset" (I've tried all of these) makes no difference.

They're usually phoning to see if I'm pleased with the work and what else can they quote me for... occasionally though it's because they've got a special offer on windows. One guy even went through the "Because you're such a good customer we want to offer you extra discount on your windows" - my response of "Why do you think I'm a good customer, are you going to pay me some money back?" confused him completely.

tl;dr - Anglian Windows keep phoning me and getting my name wrong
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 14:30, 6 replies)
Once upon a time
There was a corporate system known as "banking". This system at its core involved lending money to people and then charging them a percentage of the value.

Of course, "money" is simply an abstract concept used in lieu of bartering, so as there is a finite amount of any given resource there is also a finite amount of "money".

However, this "banking" system ignores this fact and pretends that money is a real thing in its own right.

Inevitably and hilariously the system began to collapse when there was more "money" owed than there were resources available in the world. Of course the "bankers" didn't care about this because as long as people continued to believe the lie that this "money" had some intrinsic value outside of the abstract, the bankers could spend this imaginary resource on real things like speedboats and cocaine.

Just like the Emperor and his new clothes, nobody wanted to come out and say that they could see the elephant in the room, and certainly nobody wanted to have to give back their speedboats and cocaine, so everybody carried on trying to prop up this worldwide Ponzi scheme to absurd degrees. Soon some countries owed eleventy basquillion dollars, but apart from alarmist headlines in newspapers, nothing really changed.

To be continued...
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 14:28, 31 replies)
Pea roast aboot banks, eh?
Brief background...bought a house in Canada and had various accounts to deal with money going back and forth. About a year after last using a dollar account held in London get statements telling me that banks charges of C$30 have been made against it despite it being empty (so on top of everything else I now have an overdraft charge due as well)! Why was the original charge taken....wait for it..."insufficient funds in the account". So I am being charged for not using an empty account. Suddenly I am C$60 in debt for doing nothing with nothing. My local branch (bend over backwards helpful) manage to sort it out with London and get funds refunded. 3 months later guess what, C$60 gone again for "insufficient funds etc. + unauthorised overdraft charge" Cancelled again and now have had to close the empty account which is a real pain but where is the logic???
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 14:25, 2 replies)
When I worked for Honeywell
the offices were typically pretty messy. A messy desk tends to be the sign of a busy worker, after all.

Apparently someone saw this as a problem, because they instituted the 5S campaign. The five S's stood for Sort, Shelve, Shine and two others I've since forgotten. Management got downright enthusiastic about this, and there were awards given to the most efficient groups and individuals, with charts to show how effective they were in each area. There were pictures posted of the winners, with their neat office spaces shown as well. Overall this went on for about two or three weeks.

All this hullabaloo over some basic housekeeping.

And the best part? In one building they threw out old binders and hanging folders by the box, while in a building three hundred feet away they had the secretary order a couple of cases of hanging folders and binders.

No wonder that plant got shut down.
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 14:18, 6 replies)
One of the senior members of a company I used to work for was corrupt to say the least
The company in question was pretty huge and as such had fingers in pretty much every pie going. They'd just managed to wangle a potentially lucrative military defence contract, which would also include supplying the over-stretched local police force with support.

One of this guy's colleagues was employed along similar lines and a great deal of animosity developed between them as to who would get overall control of the project.

In an attempt to secure his position, the guy in question secretly inserted some programming into his rival's product that would theoretically allow him to continue to act as he pleased; consorting with local criminal gangs, assisting in drug production and so on.

When his wrongdoing came to light he was convinced that he would get off scot-free, but due to a simple semantic error in the wording of his covert programming, the boss of the company was able to fire him, leading directly to him being shot to pieces and falling out of a top-floor window to his death.
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 14:12, 4 replies)
Management speak 2.0
Also - managers who use technical, scientific terms in a very loose, non-technical sense to make themselves sound clever. Real examples and translations:

Cumulative Frequency = Sum total
Peer Review = Checking your colleague's work
Distribution Curve = Line chart
Margin of error = Doesn't matter if it's wrong (i.e., it's OK, it has a margin of error!)
Data Cleansing: Correcting typos in an Excel spreadsheet

Also - a bonus example of euphamism creep:
Right-sizing = downsizing = layoffs
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 14:02, 3 replies)
Car Insurance
I always like to shop around to lower my premiums each year. Its a pain in the arse but I've usually managed to save about £50 year on year, 3 or 4 years now.

Last year I got my renewal quote from insurers, it had barely came down so I started filling in forms for quotes all over the place. Thought it was worth a try filling in a new customer form for the place I was currenltly with, came in £250 cheaper than my renewal quote!

Thought its worth a phonecall so I rings them up:

(after establishing who I am)
Me: I'd like to discuss my renewal quote, I got a cheaper quote by quite some distance and I wondered if you'd match it.

Phone Monkey: We can certainly look Sir, can I ask who the company is offering this quote?

Me: Well its yours....

Always shop around for car insurance, they're more interested in new customers than keeping the ones they have
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 13:58, 13 replies)
Anyone who works in the public sector will relate: Management Strategy Bullshit
Expensive, off-the-shelf management training/strategy/consultancy bullshit that anyone with half a brain could dissect and dismiss, but has somehow converted many of the highest earners in the country to total zealots. Things like:

Six Sigma
Success! in the workplace
Six Steps

Also, associated pseudo-science / defunct science bullshit that goes hand in hand with the above, including Myers-Briggs personality tests and Mumford & Honey learning styles.

Show me the fucking evidence you doofuses. This shit costs the taxpayer millions, and is the starkest and bleakest evidence of the decline in education standards in this country. David Hume would spin in his fucking grave.

//rant over
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 13:50, 8 replies)
I worked on a large construction project a long while ago
the building had pretty much finished, just a bit of snagging and tidying up. I had already left to move on to the next project.

Turned out the architects had made a major ballsup, and left the ventilation shafts unprotected.
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 13:50, 2 replies)
Insurers ftw or wtf.
Just what is "protected no claim bonus"?

If you have to claim they still calculate your next premium factoring in the claim. Oh, but if you've paid the extra protection money they'll figuratively hack some phlegm onto their throbbing veiny monster-cock before administering your vigorous financial bum rape.
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 13:49, 4 replies)
O2 call centre girl...
She didn't sound very old, and obviously didn't read my account info properly when I phoned. Hence I got (not for the first time) the stern "And can you confirm that you're authorised to speak on behalf of the account holder?" line that comes of having an obviously male voice but being called Kerry.

Usually after explaining that I am the account holder, I get profuse apologies followed by "I saw 'Kerry' and assumed you'd be a woman, hahaha". This time though, in an ever diminishing voice, I got:

"Oh, I'm ever so sorry, I saw 'Kerry' and assumed you... were a... woman...
...and now I'm really hoping... you're not... a woman...
...with a really deep voice..."

(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 13:46, 3 replies)
The job's yours!

(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 13:40, Reply)

I could moan all day about the idiocy of train companies. (How on earth it ends up costing the tax payer money to cover fare dodgers when the trains are privatised is beyond me for a start). But the one that bugs me is why is it cheaper to buy a return than a single? What sort of accounting trickery is going on? I assume it can't really be corporate stupidity, there must be a reason, surely? But what the fuck is it?
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 13:37, 19 replies)
Not sure if relevant, but here goes anyway.
I've been cursed (maybe blessed, not sure), with a fairly light voice; it's unmistakeably male, most of the time, but when I answer the phone, I tend to go into some sort of Hyacinth Bucket-style thing, and can end up sounding disturbingly like my sister might, if I had one. This is important.

Anyway, when I was living at home, and unemployed, I'd quite often be the only one in the house during the day, so I'd answer the phone every time it rang. Usually it'd be a relative or friend wanting to chat, but every so often, it'd be someone from some telesales company somewhere.
Every time it was, without fail, they'd assume I was a woman- or, to be precise, a girl. Sometimes, by the way they'd talk, they'd think I was at least legal, other times they'd talk to me like I was some obviously-rebellious lass skiving off school.
Usually I'd be ever-so-polite, and courteous, and tell them my parents would be home later, and they could call back later, thankyouverymuch. Sometimes, if I was particularly annoyed, I'd tell them in my gruffest (not very, really) voice that I was, in fact, the younger of the Misters of the household.

Once in a blue moon, I'd have some fun.

This particular day, for one reason or another, I was in a foul mood. The phone rang, I answered, and immediately this guy said 'hello, darling. Are you the lady of the house?'.
I said that yes, I was.
what proceeded was about fifteen minutes of him half-telling me about his wunderproduct, and half-flirting. Badly.
I played along with it, until, just as he said 'alright, thanks for listening' or something like that, I told him my name was Dave, and that he really needed to work on his pickup lines.
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 13:23, 4 replies)
I was standing next to my work station,
when this ruddy great green laser shot down a tunnel behind me. Bleedin' well near pooped my pants. The health and safety regs. in this place are a joke and it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if some other stupid design flaw led to some sort of serious explosion.
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 13:18, 6 replies)
Letting Agency Stupidity
Before my wife and I bought our first home we, like many others, rented a nice little two bedroomed house close to the town centre but on a nice quiet street. Our landlady was very young and inexperienced and it transpired that she had been given the house as a gift from an elderly relative and have decided to rent it out. It became quite clear, quite quickly that she had no idea what she was doing. When we phoned her to tell her that there was a water leak and water was coming through her kitchen ceiling, we thought we were doing the right thing. She thought we were difficult tenants. Eventually she realised she couldn't cope and hired the services of a letting agency. Which leads me on to the corporate stupidity part.

You see our landlady had forgotten to tell us that she had hired a letting agency. Normally you would expect an official looking letter informing you that they were taking over the property and how and where to pay the rent in future. We received a hand written note pushed through the door saying "I am AngryScottishGuy from your new letting agency" with his phone number and bank details to pay the rent. At first we thought it was just some scam as the note was written on a scrap of torn paper and written like a spider had crawled over the page. This was until two days later when my heavily pregnant wife opened the door to an angry, red faced Scottish man, who told her he had come to do an inspection. My wife stood her ground and told him she had no idea who he was and he had not given notice. He threatened to have us evicted, we slammed the door in his face. We then caught him in the back garden and he had climbed over the back gate. I went out and politely asked him what the fuck he thought he was doing. "Inspecting the garden" was his reply. I threatened to call the police and he left. We wrote to our landlady informing her of all this and heard nothing back. When rent day came we paid our rent as normal directly in to our landlady's account. a week later we had a visit from an even angrier, even more red faced but also Scottish, man demanding to know why we hadn't paid our rent. We told him we had paid our rent to our landlady and would continue to do so until she told us otherwise. Cue more threats of eviction and another hand scrawled note through the letter box saying he would be back in 24 hours to do the inspection. He returned the next day and we again refused to let him in saying we had A. No idea who he was and B. 24 hours notice was for emergency access. More threats of eviction made worse by the fact I laughed at him. He told me to contact my landlady and ask her if his agency was managing the property and I told him that it wasn't up to me to do anything and that we would continue to pay our rent on time in the way specified in our contract until our landlady tells us otherwise. He could not understand why we would not just take his word and a hand written note from himself as proof. We were in fact contacting our landlady after every occasion to inform her that a group of Scottish men with anger management issues and a faces of rouge, kept coming over and demanding money and access to the property. As we were not getting any replies it just reinforced our belief that he was trying it on.

It turns out that they had told our landlady to forward all correspondence from us directly to them to deal with and despite my wife at times writing letters pointing out that she was a heavily pregnant woman alone in the house, being bullied by men who would appear in the garden on more than one occasion trying to get in to the house, she would still just forward the letters to them. Eventually after three months and rent payments directly in to our landlady's account and the guy coming over several times a week our landlady finally got in touch. She came over and confirmed that they were in fact from the letting agency and to pay our rent to them. We informed her that they were bullies, who did not care about the law and were using threats of eviction to try and get their way. We handed our notice in and left after the next rent cycle.

It never did occur to either of them why we were "being difficult"

tl:dr - Letting agencies are run by cunts.
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 13:15, 6 replies)
Worked nights at Royal Mail over the Christmas period.
Did so the year before, employed/paid by RM, and it was fine.

This year the recruitment and payroll process was
done through Angard, an agency set up by RM and
staffed by people from Reed. Pay rate was £1.13/hr less.

None of us were paid on time, it was over three weeks
before some of us got any money at all. This was
happening all over the country, forcing them to send
Royal Mail execs to appease us (no-one from Angard, who
were completely unaccountable from the get-go). RM
eventually had to dish out cashable vouchers to those
who'd received nothing by week 3.

One girl I worked with had no money to cover bills, food, her
dad's 50th or Christmas, and had to wait until the contract
ended (24th) before she could start to sort things out. She
was reduced to tears at points - by the last week, of twenty
or so of us recruited for that shift, only four or five were left.
Everyone else had walked.

Another colleague got this payslip after three weeks. The
account details weren't even his. Tomorrow, it's the NHS.

(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 13:12, 6 replies)
The Rules
I slouch up to the counter, to sort out some kind of confusion with my utility bill. The counter person says "I'm sorry, we can't deal with that unless you call by phone."

No doubt I boggled at him. "It's OK," he says, "You can use that phone over there."

So a minute or two later, I'm talking to the same service drone, over the phone, from about ten metres away.
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 13:12, 2 replies)
The old increase-your-insurance-premium-behind-your-back trick
I make a phone call to a national purveyor of insurance services, who have provided reasonable-to-good cover over the last year, but are now - to use the official Cockney - having a giraffe:

Me: "Yes, it's about the renewal quote you sent me for my home insurance."

Direct Fucking Line, the bastards: "Yeeeess...."

Me: "Last year it was 240 of the Queen's Pounds, and now you want over three hundred. What's up?"

DFL, tb: "We've increased our premiums in line with inflation,sir."

Me: "What? Inflation? Jesus, I live in Brazil now?"

DFL, tb: "Ha ha, no sir, we've increased your level of cover as well, sir."

Me: "Yes, I noticed. I get 10p more if my house is hit by a meteor piloted by a half-human-half leopard hybrid, and you've introduced Penguin Attack Insurance because of my proximity to a fishing port."

DFL, tb: "Company policy, sir. Do you want to take up our excellent cover?"

(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 13:11, 5 replies)
Cold Calls
Cold Caller: Hello Mr Booth?
Me: No, they don't live here anymore sorry.
Cold Caller: I... Er.. Oh.. Mr Booth?
Cold Caller: Ok, when will he be available?
Me: I don't know, he dosn't live here.
Cold Caller: Ah, Ok, I'll call back tomorrow then, thank you.
Me: (after having put the phone down) ..twat...
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 12:53, Reply)
Robbed overseas... shafted by the UK.
Banks that won't let you cancel your cards because you're in shock and can't remember the name of your first pet tortoise.

Travel insurers with freephone 0800 emergency numbers that you CAN'T DIAL FROM ABROAD.

The UK Embassy consular division (open 10am-11am Tues-Thurs only) which requires applicants for emergency replacement passports to attend a pre-arranged interview INSIDE the building. Which you can only access by presenting VALID ID.

Airlines who bump your booking because you can't present the credit card it was booked with.

UK Border Agency staff who single you out for an invasive search because you've been flagged as suspicious for travelling without any baggage (uh yeah, IT WAS STOLEN).

Tesco who humiliate you with two hundred pounds of groceries on the checkout and then cut up your new bank card in front of your face BECAUSE THE COMPUTER SAYS IT WAS REQUESTED TO BE CANCELLED.

Boss who says: Nice holiday?
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 12:41, 16 replies)
They let you on the internets.

(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 12:23, 5 replies)

(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 12:21, Reply)
Double 1st?
(, Thu 23 Feb 2012, 12:17, 1 reply)

This question is now closed.

Pages: Popular, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1