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This is a question Customers from Hell

The customer is always right. And yet, as 'listentomyopinion' writes, this is utter bollocks.

Tell us of the customers who were wrong, wrong, wrong but you still had to smile at (if only to take their money.)

(, Thu 4 Sep 2008, 16:42)
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The only time I've ever told a customer what I was thinking... or, The Day I Told a Punter to Fuck Off.
I posted the edited version of this on ‘off topic’ a short while back; here’s the extended special edition version.

Some background: as many people now know, and are no doubt sick of hearing about, I worked for the DSS (or Benefits Agency as it was then, or Department for Work and Pensions as it is now) for pretty much all of the nineties. For the most part it was a shitty job, but compensated by working with some good people. However, one stint I had to do was working in a satellite office attached to a Jobcentre, on my own. This ‘caller office’, as it was known, had limited facilities and was essentially a waiting room on one side, and my space on the other, with a private interview room. The staff side of the office was an inverted L shape, and I had a work desk tucked away around the corner, out of sight of the information desk. With the only telephone on it – there wasn’t one on the information desk at all.

The office was basically somewhere that scrounging mongers benefit recipients could come in and have queries answered, pick up forms, or just piss on the seats, and it was my job to help them, point them in the right direction, or put ‘please do not use this seat as it is covered in piss’ signs up in the waiting area. Most of the time it was a lonely job; I think the most human traffic I had in one day was 15 people. Usually it averaged about 10. The days were often long…

Anyway, the situation of having the only telephone situated away from the information desk meant that on the occasions when I had to go back to the main office for further advice, it often entailed a very difficult three way conversation. Not ideal when you’ve got Mr or Mrs Fuckwit in the waiting room wondering why their giro hasn’t turned up, and Mr or Mrs Couldn’t Really Give a Toss back in the office half heartedly punching a few numbers into their computer and trying to cover up the fact that the giro hadn’t been sent because they forgot to press a button when inputting a change in details.

And so it went, until a change in job mean that I would thankfully no longer be manning the caller office. Woo and Yay!

On my last day, which was unusually quiet, I was looking forward to closing the doors at 3 and buggering off. At 2:40 I heard the door, went to the helpdesk and was confronted by a woman.

“Can I help you”? I asked her.

She said nothing, but thrust a letter under the counter. I looked at it. It was from the Contributions Agency and seemed to be some indecipherable nonsense about her pension forecast. Not my bag, really, in fact, absolutely nothing to do with the Benefits Agency at all.

I looked at her again and asked her, perfectly politely “And how can I help you with this”?

“I want you to ring them for me”, came the snotty reply. I sighed. It was bad enough holding three way conversations about stuff I was familiar with; this was way over my head and would be a nightmare. OK, tactics – try and find out some additional information first, like has she spoken to them herself at all?

“Have you tried speaking to them yourself”?


I repeated my question.

“No, I want you to do it for me”.

Christ. “Is there any reason why you can’t talk to them yourself”? I began, “it’s just that…”

“Oh, I can see you just don’t want to help”, she snapped, snatching the letter from the gap under the screen.

“No, it’s not that, I’m just trying to find out some more information, and the phone is round the corner which makes having…” She stormed out. …”a conversation a bit difficult…” I trailed off.

Five minutes later a man burst in. “You’ve upset my wife”! he roared at me. “You refused to help her”.

Sigh. “Sir, no I didn’t. I was trying to find out some more information, and merely asked she had already rang the Contributions Agency herself before coming in here. It’s not really my area of knowledge, see, and the phone is round the corner making a conversation a bit difficult; she would probably be better off speaking to them herself was all I was suggesting”, I explained, confident that he would see the rationale to this logic and go outside and slap his wife for being so dim.

Except, what happened was he went off on a rant. “I know all about your sort”, he yelled.

“Excuse me? What do you mean by ‘my sort”?

“Your sort! You don’t give a toss about other people”.

“I can assure you that I do”, said I. “As I was saying, I was merely trying to…”

“You see? You refused to help my wife, and you’re refusing to help me now”.

“No, I’m not”

“I’m going to report you for this”.

“Sir, you can do what you want; I don’t really care”.

“Oh, so you’re admitting it now then”?

“No, I mean that I don’t really care as today is my last day so it doesn’t matter if you report me or not”.

“Ah, now I see. I bet you’ve been like this all day have you? Think you can get away with it”?

Dear God. “No, if you would listen to what I’m trying to say to you instead of ranting at me…” but it was no good, he wasn’t listening by this stage. Somewhat dramatically, I swung my right index finger towards the door and yelled at him, “GET OUT”!


“You heard me. I’ve been trying to be helpful to you and your wife, and explain a few things to you but neither of you have had the politeness to actually listen to what I’ve been trying to say. If you can’t be bothered to be courteous to me, I’m not going to be courteous back. You’ve been rude to me, insulted me and threatened to report me, so I don’t want you in this office any more. Go on, get out. Fuck. Off. Please”. And put my head down to count how many A6 forms were left in case I had to order some more.

Stunned silence. I looked up again, aware of a presence. “You still here, then”?

He left. Quietly.
(, Fri 5 Sep 2008, 12:01, 11 replies)
Good for you.

*clicks in protest at ridiculous twats everywhere*
(, Fri 5 Sep 2008, 12:15, closed)
I wish I could have been in that room, I would have pointed and laughed so hard I would surely have had a coronary.
(, Fri 5 Sep 2008, 12:26, closed)
Yay for swearage! I have a last day tale too I may put up.
(, Fri 5 Sep 2008, 12:31, closed)
You have just attained...
'Hero' status. Absolutely brilliantly told!

*clicks until finger is sore*

hehe, 'finger'
(, Fri 5 Sep 2008, 12:35, closed)
Fuck off. Please.
I like the "please".

(, Fri 5 Sep 2008, 12:55, closed)
You absolute star.
Oh, the number of times I wished to do that over the years...
(, Fri 5 Sep 2008, 13:19, closed)
Perfect. I worked for Tower Hamlets council in their "advice shops" (read: houseing and council tax benefit) and dealt with so many cunts who would throw letters at me. You can't believe the memories of utter horror this brings back.
(, Fri 5 Sep 2008, 15:16, closed)
You Sir, are a hero
to all downtrodden customer service mugs.


*bows down in worship*
(, Fri 5 Sep 2008, 17:03, closed)
(, Fri 5 Sep 2008, 22:49, closed)
"Last day at work"
It needs to be a new topic!
(, Sat 6 Sep 2008, 14:24, closed)
Thanks for the kind comments
As it goes, I am the epitome of courtesy and good manners even when being confronted by fuckwits. It's just this one occassion I had to let go...
(, Sat 6 Sep 2008, 15:51, closed)

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