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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.

Totally useless employee at a well known orange DIY warehouse
He ran off eager enough when I asked for fork handles but guess what he brought back? A Two Ronnies DVD.
(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 16:27, 3 replies)
Lost phone
Many many years ago I lost my mobile. I was paying for insurance so I went to the shop to report it, they said I needed a reference from the police to be able to report it.

I wandered over to the local plod stop and explained, they wrote down a description of the phone on a clip board, gave me a 'Lost' reference number.

I toddled back to carphonewhorehouse or where ever it was and gave them the number. Some weeks later I got my phone back.


Different phone goes missing, remembering my past experience I wander to the cop shop and request a lost reference as I would need one to raise the insurance claim.

The cop looks at me. I look at him. He looks at me. He says "What are you reporting".

"A lost phone" I reply.

"If there's no crime committed you can't report it!" he claims

"I could last time" I retort

This level of debate has obviously strained him as he falls back to repeating the old "If there hasn't bee a crime" line to everything I say.

SO I pause... look him in the eye... and I say "I'd like to report a stolen phone please"

He rolls his eyes and gets out a crime report form and then stands there with a straight face whilst I, with an even straighter face, provide him with the obviously made up details of the obviously made up crime.

Found my phone down the back of the sofa that afternoon.
(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 15:52, 5 replies)
2, 1, 3, 4, 5...
I have literally just been told that 'to avoid confusion, please refer to this weeks part of the project as "project" 1 and last weeks part as "project" 2'. When I asked why we didn't refer to the first project as 1 and the second as 2 I was met with looks of bafflement and told that it would be 'too confusing now that we have agreed what to call them'...
(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 15:43, 5 replies)
Spunktoss Blunderbuss?

(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 15:40, 1 reply)
Clever boss.
Trading commodities, you use futures to protect yourself.

Put simply, when you buy physical stuff, you sell futures. When you sell physical stuff, you buy futures. If the price changes, you win on one, you lose on the other. They balance each other out. It's called hedging.

My old boss didn't quite get it. He would carefully analyse the results from one side or the other, but never both together.

He'd come storming into the office, shouting that we'd lost $4.5 million last year on trading activities. We'd point out that we made $4.5 million on the futures side.

His answer? "So why don't we just do futures??".

Just to clarify, we could just as easily have lost 4.5mm on futures, but made it on the physical stuff. Then if we'd only done the futures as he wanted, we really would have lost $4.5mm

In the complicted version, we (sometimes) make a profit doing all this.
(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 15:17, 23 replies)
Cupid stunt
This silly cow bordered on being so stupid it was illegal.

My phone had started playing up, occasionally dropping calls, resetting itself, crashing, or sometimes just disabling the microphone so whoever I called would hear nothing and think it was a dead line.

So, months overdue for an upgrade, I called up my mobile provider via the landline.

Me: "I'd like to upgrade my phone please."

Call Centre monkey (CCM): "Sorry sir, I'm afraid you need the account holder's permission."

Me: "I am the account holder."

CCM: "No, we have a female name listed as the account owner. You'll need to get the password from her."

At this point the Call Centre Monkey says that the account is in my sister's name, which is utter bollocks. But while I debate with the CCM I texted (the one function of the phone that still worked) my sister just to confirm, and I'm right, she has nothing to do with the account and there is no secret password.

Me: "No, this is my account, I've upgraded numerous times before and never had this problem."

CCM: "No sir, I'm afraid you can only upgrade if you give me your sister's password."

Me: "There is no password. My sister has nothing to do with this account. It's in my name. I pay the bill, and I have done for years using my own bank details. I've upgraded without any problem before. I have a broken phone and I want a replacement since I'm paying you every month anyway. My sister has nothing to do with this account. The details you hold on file about me and my account are wrong."

CCM: "Then I'm afraid you can only upgrade if you have your sister's password."

Me: "Then you've just lost a very longstanding customer. Close my account. I'm joining another network."

CCM: "Only your sister can close this account."

Me: "Fine, you can confirm that the payment details are mine, yes?

CCM: "Yes."

ME: "Good. Now remove me as the bill payer. If you're not giving me any service I'm not paying you."

CCM: "No sir you can't do that. Only the phone account holder can change the payment details. You need your sister to do this. The only way you can stop paying us is to tell your bank not to pay us anymore."

Me: "Fine. Then I'll do that."

CCM: "However, I should warn you that if you stop paying us we will have to take court action against you."

Me: "So what you're saying is, I must continue to pay you despite the fact that my contract ran out months ago. I can not stop paying you or I face legal action, and in return you will give me service that I can't use due to a broken phone. I am legally powerless to either get a new handset, or to stop paying you every month. You can just continue to take money from me for nothing from now until the end of time?"

CCM: "Yes sir, that's correct."

Me: " . . . . ."

I was actually speechless. I mean what the fuck do you say to that? The phone company are basically saying openly that intend to continue shafting me while sticking a grubby hand in my pocket and helping themselves to whatever they liked for the rest of my life. To say I was absolutely fucking livid would be a vast understatement.

Eventually I found my voice again

Me: "You do know it's illegal to take money from someone against their will, right?"

CCM: "What makes you say that?"

We went round in circles a couple of times. Each time she couldn't see why I was angry. All I could do was hang up before I got abusive.

The next morning I regained my composure, walked into the phone company's nearest branch. It went like this:

Me: "Hi, my phone's fucked, I need to upgrade."

Shop guy: "Certainly Subchimp, here's your new phone."

Five minutes later I'm out the door, problem solved.

Piece of piss! I even checked my own details on the guy's computer and yes, the account is in my name.

I know not all call centre monkeys are bad. I've got mates who've had to do some rotten jobs in some seriously overworked callcentre sweatshops and they could tell you some stories. You get some bright sparks, and some dumb cunts.

But some people really aren't even qualified to answer the fucking phone.
(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 15:12, 2 replies)
My neighbour
had interactive digital TV, but after a few months decided he didn't think it was worthwhile, so phoned the cable company to downgrade to ordinary digital TV. This saves a few euros a month. The company immediately reduced his monthly payments. 2 years later, he's still got interactive TV. Four months ago I signed up with the same company for interactive digital TV. I got the connection within a matter of days, but they haven't changed my billing rate by a single cent. I don't know how companies like this can survive, unless their profit margins are so huge that they can absorb mistakes like these.
(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 15:03, Reply)
Short version of a story I've probably told before.
CEO of a company I used to work for that I won't name (even though it's very tempting) stood in front of her assembled workforce and, after a turbulent time that left us fearing for our jobs, tried to reassure us by proudly announcing that, "Yes, we have reached the edge of a cliff, but I stand here before you and promise you that I am the person who is going to turn this round three hundred and sixty degrees and take that next step forward'.
(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 15:00, 2 replies)
The biggest cases
of corporate stupidiy I can see are how the hell some of you have jobs. Who employed the person that thinks it's spelt 'famouse'? And as for the guy who can't spell the make of his own fucking car...

Also, it's actually Twattish Ballsicom.

(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 14:54, 5 replies)
Child Tax Benefits
A few years back when i lived with my Ex and my Son, we were eligble for Child Tax credits. I was on low income at the time and the only income for the family, so we filled in the forms, and a few weeks later received the benefits.

4 months later, I receive a document pack to fill in. Saying the Tax Credits I was recieving was incorrect, so please fill in the form to be properly calculated. Filled in sent off within the day.

1 month or so later we receive another document pack to fill in, so we ring the department of Benefits (or what ever their name was) up. Aparantly our initial form was correct and a subsequent form was uneccesary.

(gets confusing here)

I then start a newer better paid job, so we fill in the form to update my new salary and situation. send off form.

2 weeks later I am told to fill in a new form for my new job (which i already did)

Phoned up the Department again, to be told the initial - initial form was wrong. and to fill in a brand new form detailing the past 12 months of employment. Which i did in ernest.

Recived a letter shortly after thanking us, and telling us the matter was settled.

4 months later, we had a new form request sent to us.

Filled in, to be told again, the original was fine.

This was a document about 20 pages a pop.

We ignored the rest of the requests. I only ended up claiming for one year.

3 years later I receive a letter saying i owed £2500 as I was overpaid. Which was pretty much how much money i received over the year.

They stopped chasing me about 4 years ago as it turned out I wasnt the only one in this situation. They must have wrote off the debt. Or realised I was actually elible for that money in the first place.
(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 14:42, 3 replies)
Companies who seem to love advertising the fact that their customer service is so good.
Why can't they just make a prodcut that works, so we wouldn't have to contact customer services?
(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 14:35, 2 replies)
Try and wrap your head around this as I'm still having problems with it.

While trying to find a driver for a Canon camcorder I discover that the Canon support website only supply driver updates and not the original drivers. (ie you have to install the driver that came with the device then download and install the driver update) If you have lost the cd that came with the device you have to go to a different company's website and order the manual for the device to be posted to you, if you're lucky then the driver cd comes with the manual. Not only that, if they don't have a copy of the manual they can print one out for you and send it. Oh yeah they charge for this service.

So it loks like Canon has created a company soley to sell a service that almost every other electronics company provides for free.


(post note. I have related this to the Finances department and requested that all further purchases of Cannon electronic goods be barred, being the sole IT guy in this school my word carries a little weight)

*fcuk I can't spell for sith.
(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 14:05, 3 replies)
My housemate
Had a flat of his own and tried to get BT broadband a few years ago. To cut a short story shorter they wired it to the above address and after 6 weeks of it still not being sorted blamed him and basically 'obliged' him to pay it. They received a post dated cheque for six weeks later. He said, "I had to wait six weeks for your service, you're going to have to wait six weeks for your money".
(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 13:28, Reply)
Do you see? It's like British Telecom, except that I just mashed my phone's keypad with my thumbs.
(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 12:02, 15 replies)
Zangelbert Slapdeback?

(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 12:02, 4 replies)
Trashcan Wellybroam?

(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 11:57, Reply)
Virgin (on the ridiculous!) Broadband
haha haha. oh no!
(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 11:41, 3 replies)
Shitcunt Tellywank.

(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 11:35, 2 replies)
Want to borrow some money, sir?
A few years back I was having a pretty tough time - not as tough as some (I'm always aware that my troubles are not the worst in the world), but still pretty poo. I'd separated from my fiancee and she had moved back in with her folks leaving me struggling with the bills etc for the large flat we had bought together. We were in the process of selling the flat so there was light at the end of the tunnel, but cash was seriously fucking tight for me at the time - walking 3 miles to work and 3 miles back whatever the weather because I couldn't afford to catch a bus, eating only Tesco Value food, never going out or seeing friends - hell, even feigning injuries towards the end of the month to avoid paying £4 or £5 to play football because I didn't want my friends to know how skint I was. Even though the flat was on the market, it could have been months until it was sold and I was already at financial breaking point - I couldn't slip any more into debt.

And then, one glorious sunny sunday afternoon, the phone rang. It was the AA financial services. One of my 'debts' that I was servicing was a £200 a month loan repayment, which I had taken out to do up the flat. The shiny, happy person at the AA had called me to ask if I would like to extend the loan amount at all?


Trying not to spaff in my pants at the prospect, I talked through my options with lovely, lovely lady on the phone. I could basically borrow a couple of grand more, increase my outgoing by only £20 a month AND you get a three month holiday at the start of the loan so I'd be freeing up £600 over the next three months IMMEDIATELY. I'm no mug - I was aware I was increasing my debt but over the dismal nature of the short term, it was an absolute god send - I could actually do something crazy like order a takeaway or GO FOR A PINT. And once I sold the flat and downsized I could either pay off the loan or manage the repayments easier - the choice would be mine.

I'm sure other people here have had worse money problems, but they are always horrible. I had been surviving like this for months - nothing to look forward to, no little luxuries, desperately eking out around £60 disposable income per month to keep myself going. all in the immediate aftermath of a breakup which is hard enough to deal with mentally anyway. It really was grim, a horrid time, a shadow hanging over me the whole time.

But not today! Today I was going to have some extra money in my pocket, a bounce in my step for the first time, the security that I had at least a little extra behind me to lighten my load. A-MAZ-ING.

My reverie was interrupted by the phone centre lady. "I'm terribly sorry sir, but you've failed our credit check and we will be unable to offer you an extension on your loan.'


I took it like a man - hung up, cried, then blew my last tenner on three bottles of wine and went without food for three days.

All better now, in case you are wondering. But I'll never forgive the fuckers for raising my hopes when I was at such a low ebb, only to shatter them in the next breath. Bastards.
(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 10:59, 12 replies)
Wengelbert Humptyback?

(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 10:39, 1 reply)
Titrash Smellicom?
(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 10:27, 3 replies)
Birch Mistletoe
The problems they've given me...
(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 9:53, Reply)
Tit Belm
too far, too far
(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 9:39, 3 replies)
My girlfriend's dad (GFD) worked for a well known high street jewelers
they were in the process of closing one of two stores in Perth, Scotland (this bit is important). He has been called in as manager of the other store to help pack up and take note of all the stock as it would be getting moved to his store.

There was still a fair amount there so they called in a courier to take all of the jewelry to the other store in the same town, Perth. It all gets collected by the courier who's name escapes me but might have been DHL, and everything's fine. it'll take a day or two to be processed by the warehouse and sent out says the guy from the courier.

4 days later it's still not arrived, so he phones the courier and gets their central call centre. the woman pulls up the delivery on the screen and says that they tried to deliver it that day but the street didnt exist in Perth. It clearly does replies GFD, I'm standing in it. Oh says call centre monkey you dont sound australian...

Yep that's right, they'd sent it to Perth, australia 9119 miles from its intended destination
(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 9:08, 18 replies)
British Bellacom
oh shit I did it wrong
(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 9:01, 7 replies)
Internal Retard Service
My wife works in the accounting field, and she has handled our tax paperwork for many years without incident.

Several months ago, I received a letter from the IRS stating that they could not find a copy of my tax return from 2009. I checked with the missus, who confirmed that she had indeed submitted my 2009 return. I filled out the appropriate forms, and mailed them back.

Four months later, I got another letter from the IRS, demanding that I submit my 2009 tax return immediately, or risk an audit. Understandably confused, I once again consulted my wife, who was as puzzled as I.

One week later, I got a third letter from the IRS. "We have processed your 2009 return. Attached is a check for $2000." And indeed, there was a check.

I guess it doesn't sound so bad now, but at the time we were really wondering how the IRS lost our tax return, then tried to blame us.
(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 6:31, 7 replies)
Passport replacements
In much of continental Europe everyone has to carry ID cards at all times, which for non-citizens means a combination of passport, residency permit and government registration certificate. All the time. German passports are built with this in mind, they're built like a brick shit-house, but our British ones seem to be impossible to keep in one piece.

After flying through Schiphol one day I was told off for it being too tatty, so I decided to get a replacement. Back home I'd just send it off to newport and wait 5 days, as cosmetic damage is special cased, but it Germany I had to get hold of 2 generations of my family's birth certificates and send them over to the consulate in Düsseldorf, along with the old passport, and wait 6 weeks. Now, six weeks is a long time to go breaking the law, so I went over to the local government's residency offices and asked them if I should use a photocopy of my passport instead, they said that I wasn't allowed to and that it's not their fault that my government doesn't issue ID cards, I'm responsible for having valid govt photo ID at all times.


So, I thought, I need to just try my luck, and send it off. 3 days later there's a note for a missed parcel from Düsseldorf, asking me to come into the post office to pick it up. Sure enough, it's a new passport, 5 weeks early. And, yes, they've sent it recorded delivery, meaning I need government photo ID to pick it up.

(, Wed 29 Feb 2012, 5:54, 10 replies)
This is actually real. I just got this letter.
"You are required to phone Centrelink [Australian social security] by 02 March 2012 for this review to be completed. If you cannot contact us by 02 March 2012, please call 132850 immediately to make alternative arrangements."

132850 is the number for Centrelink. There's no other number on the letter.
(, Tue 28 Feb 2012, 23:30, 10 replies)
A good few years ago I worked for IBM.
Mostly what I did was what amounts to 2nd line tech support for EPOS equipment - people in shops would ring up their helpdesk, who would ask them to check it was plugged in and that there was paper in the receipt printer, and then on discovering it was actually on fire would raise a ticket with us (yes, someone really did call the helpdesk who raised a ticket with us for a till that was *actually on fire* at the time, instead of maybe ringing the Fire Brigade). You could often tell when a store had just got a new manager, because you'd get a rush of tickets for "silly" things, like cracked little plastic brackets for the customer display. Or, in this case, little flappy plastic covers.

Anyone else here old enough to remember video recorders? Right, well, you know the little flappy plastic cover over the buttons you didn't use very much, like the tuning controls and clock setting buttons? Well the tills that WH Smith use have a flappy plastic cover like that over the disk drive on the PC part of the till. These get broken off, because they're mounted at knee height and constantly get battered until the little plastic flimsy clips break.

So, this new manager decided he wanted all the little plastic flappy covers replaced, all eight of them. There was a bit of discussion, and it was decided that since this was customer damage, they weren't covered by the maintenance contract so they'd have to pay. In the end I rang him up, gave him the price per little flappy cover and asked if he wanted them posted out?

No, send an engineer.

Right, okay, but that's going to be an engineer callout *per ticket*, to fit a little flappy plastic cover that just clips on.

Don't care, want an engineer.

So that is how a WH Smith manager managed to talk himself into paying £1.50 for parts and £500 for labour, for each of eight tills, to replace a little flappy plastic cover that covers a blanking plate for a disk drive that isn't fitted.
(, Tue 28 Feb 2012, 23:08, Reply)
Shouldn't it be
Tritish Bellicom?

Hiya Janet!
(, Tue 28 Feb 2012, 23:02, 6 replies)

This question is now closed.

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