Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Monkey Business - Greatest Hits
It has been over 6 months since I started my "new" job and of the 15 people who were in my training class, 6 of us remain. The latest casualty is pictured above. Sleeping. At work. Trying to take this picture without being noticed by anyone in the class was probably the hardest part of my whole training experience.
After so many months on the job, I've got into quite the groove/rut. It is extremely rare to encounter a customer call that deals with a topic I've never heard before. For the most part, call after call after call is the exact same; either a customer doesn't understand his bill, disagrees with his bill, can't pay his bill, or wants to change the programming on his account. But every now and then, I get a call that just makes my day due to sheer weirdness of the call. It is always on the same subject.
Here are some of the "Greatest Hits" of calls I've taken from customers since I started:
- A very nice gentleman who sounded somewhat elderly calls up and says that he had ordered a pay-per-view movie a little while ago and while he was watching it, the movie stopped working and he wasn't able to access it again. He had called in hopes of getting a credit for the movie since he wasn't able to watch the whole thing. I let him know that won't be a problem. I check his PPV history but don't see any charges for that day. I ask him what the title of the movie was, and he tries in vain to remember. I chalk it up to a fuzzy memory and assure him that I'll just check his account tomorrow and credit any new charges that appear for a movie that was ordered today. He thanks me for my kindness, and I'm about to hang up when he quickly interjects; "If you do credit the account, make sure its for the full $13.95!" $13.95. The telltale sign of a porno rental. No wonder the old milkshake couldn't "remember" the title of the movie he ordered. He didn't want to tell me he had ordered Hustler Amateurs Vol 6.
- A customer calls up and asks if he pays for his pay-per-view charges before the bill gets printed, would the charges still show up on the bill. I tell him that the charges would still show, as well as any payments he had made up to that point. He asks if there is anyway to remove the charges from the bill as he would rather not have his wife see what he had ordered. I let him know that I understood, but unfortunately that wasn't possible. He thanks me for my help and hangs up. I click on his PPV history and see a couple of porno titles on the account. But not just any porn. Gay pornos. But not the good kind, it was Male gay porno. Oopsy-daisy! Poor old man. Having to pull a Ralphie from Christmas Story and race home each day to check the mail so that he can hide the cable bill from his unsuspecting wife. Poor, old, bi-curious, closeted, impulsive man.
- A caller is interested in adding some channels to his account. He's interested in the premium movie channels, specifically Cinemax. Even more specifically, the "after hours" programming on Cinemax. I let him know that Cinemax does offer mature programming that isn't as readily available on other channels such as Starz or Showtime. He then asks whether I'd pick HBO or Cinemax if I were him. I approached the decision as rationally as possible. I informed the customer that HBO's mature content relied more heavily on documentaries while Cinemax offered the more traditional movies that we grew up on. The customer let me know that he "felt me" and that he just had a few more questions. He then brought up the Playboy Channel. I told him that the Playboy Channel was available for $19.99 a month. The customer asked if it was worth it. Again, being as rational as possible I pointed out that if he ordered adult PPV movies individually they would cost $13.95 a piece, so depending on how often he planned on "watching" the Playboy Channel, it could be the more economical choice. The customer wondered if the Playboy Channel was "as hardcore" as the individual movies. A valid concern. Doing my best to avoid the risk of being overheard by any female co-workers and getting slapped with a sexual harassment suit, I explained that from "what I'd heard" the Playboy Channel showed "a lot' but didn't show "absolutely everything." Thankfully, the customer was picking up what I was laying down, and didn't ask for any further clarification. Apparently he was feeling saucy that day, because he ended up ordering HBO, Cinemax, and the Playboy Channel.
- A customer called to complain that the cable service that had been installed the day before wasn't working properly anymore. He went on to say that it worked fine on the day that it was installed, but when he woke up today nothing was working. I began standard troubleshooting procedure. In the customer history screen in a customer's account there is a time line of any and all changes that are made to the account. Any time a new cable box is added, or a pay-per-view is added, a service is removed, it shows up under the history screen with the date and time of the transaction. So I began looking into the customer history to make sure that everything on the order from yesterday had been entered in correctly, that the right program codes were on the correct outlets, and that the install order had been closed out correctly. While I was reading the customer history something odd caught my eye. The time that the technician completed the install was at 2:00 p.m. The next transaction on the account was at 2:03 p.m. And it was a porno. What kind of person is jonesing to J.O. so badly that he puts on porn two minutes after getting cable installed. I mean the technician had to still be in the driveway at that point. What would've happened if had forgotten a tool or some paperwork and had to go back into the home? This customer is the reason they sell nudie mags in airport bookstores.
- A woman calls in to check her balance. I quote her a balance that is somewhere in the neighborhood of $400. She laughs and tells me that that has to be a mistake. I inform her that I'm seeing over $300 in PPV charges and that's why the balance is so high. Silence. I ask if she's still on the phone. "I'm 'a kill him." I beg her pardon. "I'm 'a kill him, Jim. I'm going to kill him. My son, this is his. And I'm 'a kill him." I try to console her by letting her know the PPV portion of the balance isn't actually due for another three weeks. "Oh, I'm not worried about that. He IS gonna pay me for that. But how does a boy rack up a three hundred dollar bill. I mean how much can he watch?" Uh oh. At this point I can see where this is going, and I've been down this road before with other customers. It never turns out well. "Well," I say, "the majority of the charges are $13.99 per movie, so they can add up pretty quickly." Here it comes. The customer asks me to read the titles of the movies her son ordered. I barrel through the first few and don't hear anything on the other end. She starts crying when she hears the title "Black Dat Ass Up." I tell her I don't have to go on and that I don't want to upset her. She tells me it's okay and tells me she needs to hear the rest and begins to laugh at her self. "Help me, Jim. Because I'm gonna kill him." I laugh with her and ask if she's ready to go on. She says she's ready. While continuing down the list, I repeat a title. "Again? That must've been a good one." The customer is surprising me, she's starting to take this really well. I keep going. (It's a long list.) She interrupts again after I tell her that WILFS vs GILFS was ordered on March 4th at 9:33 p.m. "What the fuck is a gilf?" I have a pretty good idea what it is, but now isn't the time to take a shot in the dark, so I profess my ignorance on the matter. Then the wheels start to come off. The time and date that I mentioned strikes her as funny. She asks me to repeat it, so I do. She asks for a moment so she can find a calendar. "Hmm, 9:30 at night, I'm usually home that night. I can't believe he's ordering these when I'm at home..." I can hear her flipping the pages of her datebook and talking to herself: "Okay...March...fourth - ON A SUNDAY! HE'S ORDERING THIS SHIT ON A SUNDAY? Oh Jesus, help me. I'm 'a kill him. Lord, lord, lord, I'm 'a kill him. Jim, how can he be doing this on a Sunday, with me in the room next to him? I wish you could see how small our apartment is. I don't how he did it.." Then, in an unparallelled instance of bad timing, the caller's son comes home. And she begins to unleash on him: "You think I'm stupid? Ordering all these pornos! You're a pervert. Can't get your own pussy. Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about. Because I know I didn't order this shit, I can get it when I want it. Unlike you! Ooh, I can't wait 'til you sign over your paycheck to me. All that work on your car can wait now, because you had to spend it all on a one person orgy. How stupid do you have to be? Like I wasn't going to notice three hundred fucking dollars on a bill. Get the fuck out of my face, you fucking loser. Get a girlfriend. Now get out of here before I beat your ass. What? Oh you mother..." And then a click and that was it. I was stunned. To use another Christmas Story reference, it was like when Ralphie's mother was on the phone listening to Flick "get his" on the other end of the line. Only a hundred times more awesome.