I work for a company that services elevators. This includes calls from our clients as well as answering the emergency phones inside the elevators if people become stuck.
95% of the time that we get a call from inside an elevator, it’s just kids or someone who hit the button by accident. 4% of the time we actually have someone stuck, and the other 1% of the time…
My phone rings, so I glance over to check which language I need to answer in and I see that it’s actually from inside an elevator. I pick it up, thinking it’s another prank call, Find the address in my system, and prepare to say “Hello? Is there anyone there?” for about 30 seconds then go back to playing Stardew Valley on my phone.
Not today. Today Karen had other plans.
I quickly get out the standard intro and to my surprise; there is actually someone on the other end of the line.
Karen: “Hi. I need to speak to a manager?” (Yes she actually said it like it was a question)
Now there is so much stupid packed into that one statement that I am almost speechless. Let’s unpack the stupid shall we?
Stupid point 1- She is using an emergency elevator phone and wasting an emergency response line’s time to try to make a complaint. (I know I said I was playing Stardew Valley, but you’re on Reddit at work. Don’t judge me.)
Stupid point 2 – Her question doesn’t make sense. Does she want my manager? We have thousands of employees and dozens of offices. Does she want the account rep for her building? Does she want the supervisor of the technician who handles her building? Does she want the manager of her local branch? Is this about a bill? I don’t know what Karen wants and I am pretty sure I left my Nintendo switch at home, so it can’t be that.
Stupid Point 3 – We cannot give or share ANY information to anyone who is not with building management. In fact, anyone who is not with building management should not even know our phone number. (At the time, I had no idea, but Karen has already been told this by building management, and does not know our number, which is why she is calling from the emergency phone)
Me: Can I ask what this is regarding?
Karen: No. Give me a manager.
Me: Well, Karen. The problem is, we have hundreds of managers who manage different things. I need to know what type of thing you’re having trouble with so I know which manager to transfer you too.
Karen: Uhhh….the manager in charge of elevators?
By now my spider-sense in tingling and I am opening up the building history. Something stinks and it’s the all too familiar smell of Karen’s Bullshit.
Me: Please hold while I get the manager of Elevators.
I place Karen on hold to get her good and wound up before I make her feel stupid.
Me: Hi Karen, Thank you for holding. Before I put you through to the manager of elevators I just need to confirm, did you call us this morning to request a technician come to retrieve a phone dropped down the crack beneath the elevator door on the 9th floor?
Karen: No? (She knows she’s busted)
Me: And at the time were you told to contact building management as we cannot dispatch a technician unless building management requests it, or we have someone trapped in an elevator?
Karen: No?? (She knows what’s coming next)
Me: And after that did you call again pretending to be trapped in the elevator with a baby in an effort to bypass building maintenance and get us to send a technician to the site?
Karen: I can hear her starting to tear up. I was trapped in the elevator, and there was no ventilation and my baby was getting very hot, and I needed to get him to the doctor-
Me: I understand. Did you try dialing 911 while you were trapped?
Karen: No, because I drop- (She was about to say she dropped her phone down the elevator, and was realizing she was about to get caught in a lie) -my phone was out of batteries.
Me: Please Hold.
(I put her on mute, to get her even more wound up, go to the bathroom and come back)
Me: Hi Karen, Thanks for holding.
Me: Hi Karen, Are you still there?
Karen: I’m Here.
Me: Okay great. I was worried I’d lost you. Now, when the technician arrived he found that the elevator was still working and diagnostic showed no errors. In fact in the 35 minutes between your call and the technician arriving the elevator was used 8 times, and that there is no record of anyone being trapped.
Karen: Yes. That’s what he said, but he wasn’t there. I was trapped for over an hour, with my baby who has a fever-
Me: Please hold.
(Eat my sandwich. Chicken salad. I love my life)
Me: Hi Karen, Thanks for holding. I just need to confirm, when our technician arrived to have you released from the elevator, were you waiting in the lobby and did you demand he retrieve your phone from the elevator shaft.
Me: And when he told you to contact building management to get the 900$ elevator pit retrieval fee approved, did you begin screaming at him to retrieve your phone immediately or you would get him fired?
Karen: Well, I wasn’t screaming…
Me: And when this happened, who was watching the baby?
Karen : What baby?
Me: The one you were stuck in the elevator with that had a fever?
Karen: Oh, she was upstairs. I put her down.
Me: So you left an infant alone so you could yell at the technician?
Karen: Are you telling me how to parent my-
Me: Please hold.
(Water my Blueberries in Stardew Valley)
Me: Okay Karen, What I am doing right now I am putting a note in the system to have your phone retrieved free of charge from the elevator shaft…
Karen: Oh thank you. Thank you so much.
Me: You’re very welcome. We will be retrieving it for you on the next scheduled maintenance day which will be within the next 3-6 weeks.
Karen: 3-6 weeks?!?!? You can’t send someone today?
Me: Sure, but first, you need to contact building management to call us and approve the 900$ elevator shaft retrieval fee, in addition to the 500$ fine for faking an emergency that you’ll be receiving from your landlord.
Karen Hung up before I was able to transfer her to the Manager of Elevators.
I later spoke with building management, who was livid. Karen had originally spoken to them about the phone, however she refused to be billed for it, so management refused to make the call. Her baby wasn’t sick. In fact it didn’t exist, unless her baby is 4 cats.
I hope she isn’t too surprised in 3-6 weeks when she gets the shattered pieces of her phone back.