Tale #2: When Boxing Day Comes Early…

For backstory, see first tale: A Sucky Situation

TD/LR at the bottom

As with most jobs, the holidays bring out the worst in mankind. Callcenters really are no different. Especially for those of us that work the retail side of things. We all know what happens when you stand between a Karen and the money she has on reserve for her “precious babies’ Christmas presents”. And when you work at a job that processes automatic orders of expensive skincare sets, and Hunbots conveniently forget to delay the orders of all of their Debbie Downlines, you wind up being at the receiving end of a lot of screaming fits regarding “the $200 you charged to my card without my permission!”

We have your permission, DEBBIE. It’s in the fine print you didn’t bother to read when you signed up for the account!

In any case, this isn’t your classic ‘I want a refund!’ story. This is something different. Something…special.

It was the second week of December. Being at the first half of the month, with Christmas around the corner, and smack dab in the middle of our auto-processing schedule, it has not been a great day. I’ve been in verbal conflict with Karens and Suzies and Debbies all morning, and I just want to go to lunch and get away from these loonies for 30 miserable minutes.

With five minutes to go, I heave a sigh of frustration as my phone beeps–a sound that still resonates into my worst nightmares. I am a slave, and a woman’s robotic voice cheerfully belts out the name of masters.

It’s time, once more, to sell my soul.

ME: Thank you for calling Despair and Misery. My name is NomadicSeraph. How can I assist you today?

KAREN: Hello, NomadicSeraph. I need some help regarding an order that was recently delivered to a customer of mine.

ME: I can certainly assist you with your client’s order. May I please have your client’s first and last name, and her email address.

KAREN: Yes. It’s Suzie. Suzie Schmuck. And her email is suzieisasucker @ fake email. com.

ME: Ah! Here she is. Let me pull up her order history here…Oh! I see she is a new customer, and this was her first order, correct? For the “I’m Insecure About My Appearance Please Take $200 From Me” skincare set?

KAREN: That’s the one. She called me earlier stating that her package arrived damaged.

ME: Oh no! I’m so sorry about that.

KAREN: I know. I am, too. I’m wondering if we can send a replacement to her.

ME: Oh, absolutely. Were all of the products damaged or just a couple of them?

KAREN: Oh. No. All of the products are fine.

I blink. Surely…surely, that’s not correct. If the products are all good to go, why do you need a replacement?

ME:…Sorry. Did…Did you say the products aren’t damaged?

KAREN: Yes, the products are fine. But the box came in half crushed.

So, now I’m thinking, ‘Okay. Well, it’s near Christmas. Maybe it was meant as gift, and the packaging was ruined, they want it to look nice for the receiver. That makes sense, right? That has to be what it is, right?

Just to be certain…

ME:…By box, do you mean the product’s packaging? Or do you mean the box it was actually shipped in?

KAREN: The box it was shipped in. The product is fine.

No. Just…no, that’s…that’s not…this isn’t…that isn’t how this works!

ME: *still uncertain* So…the products, the bottles, the packaging, the pamphlets. All of that is fine? It’s just the cardboard box the items were transported in that was damaged?

KAREN: Yes. That’s correct.

I look up at the ceiling, wondering if I died and this actually is Hell. I just don’t know it, yet.

ME: Ma’am. I can’t replace $200 worth of product just because the shipping box was damaged in transit.

KAREN: *legitimately confused* What? But why not?!

ME: …Because she has the products she paid for, in the condition they were meant to be in, with nothing broken, creased, or missing.

KAREN: Really?! But it’s such a bad first impression! It makes the company look bad!

ME: I’m sorry if she feels that way. But the condition of the shipping box is not our responsibility. If she has an issue with that, she’ll need to take it up with the mail carrier. Not us.

KAREN: *scoffs* But it’s so unprofessional!

ME: I agree that receiving a shipping box in poor condition doesn’t look great. But again, that’s not a reflection of our company, but of the mail carrier.

KAREN: So you’re not willing to do anything?!

ME: Ma’am–

KAREN: No! Someone has to do something, or I want a manager!

UHHHHG…Here we we go with this shit again.

ME: *wishing my phone would burst into flame* I understand, ma’am. Let me check in with my supervisor to see what we can do. Is it alright if I place you on hold?

KAREN: If it gets you to do something, then sure!

ME: Okie dokie. I’ll be right back.

I place Karen on hold and dial up good ole Super Awesome Manager (SAM). Honestly, I had already pestered her several times for irate calls that day, so I felt a little bad hitting her up, again.

SAM: *picks up* Uh oh. What did you get on your line now?

ME: Uhg…It’s just been one of those days, Sam. Swear it must be a full moon or something.

SAM: Tell me about it. What’s up?

ME: I have a lady on the line. She wants us to send a replacement “I’m Insecure About My Appearance Please Take $200 From Me” skincare set.

Pause for effect…

ME: …Because the shipping box was damaged…

Silence. Then…

SAM: …Wait? So the products are damaged?

ME: No.

SAM: …Then the product packaging is damaged?

ME: …No

SAM: So it’s–

ME: The cardboard box it’s shipped in. Yes.

SAM: Are you freaking serious?

ME: Unfortunately.

SAM: Well…Wow. That’s just…wow. That’s a new one. Why do you get all the crazies?

ME: *presses face into desk* I don’t know!

SAM: Well…I guess just call tag it and send out a new one.

ME: It won’t get there before Christmas. Deadline was two days ago for the free ship options. Not to mention, call tags are $50. We’re spending $50 to essentially replace a freaking cardboard box!

SAM: It’s definitely stupid. But it might get her off your phone. As for the deadline, that’s not our problem. She has the product. She can either keep it, or she can risk not having it before Christmas. We are not expediting shipping on top of the call tag for something like this.

ME: Works for me. I’ll relay the info.

SAM: Got it. Don’t let her get to you.

ME: Too late.

I switch back over to Karen.

ME: Hello, Karen. Thank you for holding and I apologize for the wait. My supervisor has informed me that we can request that the mail carrier pick up the current package. Then we can send out a new order in hopes that the box is in better condition this time. However we can’t guarantee she’ll get the new set before Christmas.

KAREN: No! That’s unacceptable! Why would you pick up the first order? And why can’t you expedite the shipping?!

ME: Well, we’re not going to let her keep $400 worth of product because the cardboard box it was shipped in was damaged ma’am. Since the first set is pristine, we would have to pick up that set and send out a new one. And we only waive expedited shipping in the event that the products are damaged. Not the box they came in.

KAREN: This is ridiculous! You should at least send her a container of $50 EyeCrack for free to make up for this!

I’m starting to get irritated. It is WAY passed my lunch, and I’m getting hangry AF.

ME: Make up for what, exactly*?* She got the product. On time. In perfectly usable condition. Again, if she has an issue with how the product was shipped, that’s something to take up with the service that delivered.

KAREN: But the box looks horrible!

ME: Ma’am. If the shipping box came in damaged, and the products are fine, then the shipping box did its job. What do you think the shipping box is for?

KAREN:…So you really can’t do anything?

ME: No. I’m sorry. The condition of the shipping box is not something we have any control over. She’ll need to file a complaint with the carrier. Not with us.

KAREN: …What about your manager? Could she do something?

ME: Ma’am. It’s a $4 cardboard box. Christmas is just a little over two weeks away. No solution we have is going to get her products to her, before Christmas, except for her to keep the perfectly acceptable product she has. We cannot send her replacement products for products that do not need to be replaced.

KAREN: I still don’t think this is right!

ME: I apologize, Ma’am. Is there anything else I can help you with today?

KAREN: No! *click*

Call disconnected, I punch out for lunch and slowly remove my headset.

Did I seriously just argue with someone for 45 minutes about a cardboard box? What is my life?

TD/LR: Hunbot calls in to demand we replace her customer’s $200 order because the package came in “damaged.” Turns out, only the shipping box was damaged and the product was fine.

…Needless to say…I didn’t replace the product.

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First strongly worded email sent to company about me.

When customers don’t pay their bill and expect you to keep providing a service