I recently posted my favorite call from my days in the call center over in r/MaliciousCompliance, so I figured I would post one of the worst here.
I used to work in a customer service call center for a bank on the east coast of the US. They’re not an investment bank, so the interest rates they paid out were not very good. I honestly thought everyone knew that; you don’t go to a commercial bank to invest money if you want a significant return. Well, I got a caller who somehow didn’t know that despite the fact that she apparently had no other source of income besides investing. We’ll call her C, for a couple of reasons, but mostly because it stands for caller. And we’ll call me Me, because I like to keep things simple. I don’t remember most of the actual numbers at this point, so I’ll just insert appropriately-named variables.
Me: Thank you for calling ! My name is h-protagon, how may I help you today?
C: Hello, I’d just like to check your interest rates for one-year CDs.
(CD in this case stands for Certificate of Deposit. It’s a very safe form of investment, in that it’s insured by the FDIC for up to $250,000 per account and the interest rate is fixed for the duration. The only thing you’re giving up is access to that money for the term of the certificate, and then you get your money back plus the interest you’ve earned. Consequently, the interest rates are very low.)
Me: *looks up the current rate sheet* It looks like we’re offering an annual percentage yield of on 12-month certificates of deposit right now.
C: Oh, that’s disgusting. Isn’t that disGUSting?
C: So you’re telling me that if I put a MILLION DOLLARS into a CD with you, after a year I would only have earned ?
Me: That’s correct. Certificates of deposit are not a very high-yield investment because there’s essentially no risk involved.
C: That’s disGUSting. Don’t you think that’s disGUSting?
Me: That’s a pretty standard rate right now, I believe. If you invest for a longer period of time, the rate generally increases. There are other ways you can invest your money, however they tend to carry a higher risk than a CD.
C: No, no, I can’t invest for longer than a year. I can’t live on nothing!
Me: I’m sorry, I don’t understand.
C: I need to be able to withdraw the interest I’ve earned so I can pay my bills for the year!
Me: Well, you’re right, you aren’t able to withdraw from a CD before the maturity date without paying a penalty, so…
Me: Is there anything else I can help you with today ma’am.
C: NO! Oh my God no, I’m not interested in your services at all.
Me: Have a nice day.
Yep, I think that’s disgusting. It’s disgusting that you rely on interest earned to support yourself, but somehow don’t know the first thing about how the simplest and most basic kinds of investments work–and yet you inexplicably have that much money to throw around. And it’s especially disgusting that you’re so detached from reality that you think a call center employee is going to join you in mocking the five-figure sum you’d make by sitting on your ass for a year while I’m dealing with people like you for over 2,000 hours and earning less. Hell, calls like this aren’t even the ACTUAL worst. I have to tell people who are openly sobbing because they can’t afford to buy groceries for their family that there is nothing I can do to help them, even though their account balance is far more in the negative than it should be because of our scummy policies. Then on payday I get to figure out which of my own bills need to be paid first because my check certainly doesn’t cover all of them. That’s disGUSting.
Worst job I ever had. The only saving grace was that the call center got shut down not long after that, we were all let go with severance packages, and I had been there just long enough to qualify for unemployment.