Lying Customers

Always promised myself that I would never work with the public again, but here I am, working at this hotel.

We have an event coming up in September that brings thousands of people into town. Our hotel has been booked up since Janurary for that weekend, as has ever hotel in town.

A woman calls me up today, wanting to check on her reservation. She gives me her name, and confirmation number. I try pulling up the reservation both ways, but there is no record of her reservation, and the confirmation number is invalid.

I tell her this, suggesting that she might have the wrong hotel. She insists that yes, she has the right hotel, and she has this confirmation number. Again, I tell her that there is no way possible that she has, or has EVER had a reservation here. I try to explain that even if it had been cancelled, it would still be in the computer. She insists she made the reservations three months ago. I reply that we’ve been booked completely since Jan. 4th. Her husband gets on the phone and proceeds to cuss me, my mother, the hotel and my town. After they hang up on me, they call our 1-800-Pitch-a-Bitch complaint line and I spend twenty minutes trying to explain it to a very irate customer service representative. Ten minutes later, the woman’s husband calls me, asking for my manager. I recognised his voice, and told him that she wouldn’t be in until tomorrow. I asked who was calling. “Her boss.” he said, “Give me her home phone number.” I said that since he was her boss, he should know the number. He proceeded to start screaming that he would NEVER stay at our hotel again. “Good,” I said, and hung up.

A man comes in and says that he has reservations for one of our suites. He claims he has also been promised a 50% rate. I ask him who he spoke to. He just shrugs. “Some guy. I didn’t catch his name.” I tell him that we have no men working for us right now, and he explodes like an atom bomb.

We had reservations for two rooms for a woman last night. She never showed up, so I called her to inform her that she would be charged for the rooms. She claims she doesn’t know what I’m talking about. She never made any reservations. It must have been a stupid desk clerk’s mistake. I tell her that our general manager was the one who took the call and booked her reservation. So, I get the usual curses, and she informs me that she will dispute the charges with her credit card company.

A guest stops at the desk, and asks that all of his phone to be on do-not-disturb for the night. Twenty minutes later, a woman calls for him. I tell her that I can’t put her through, at the guests request. Five minutes later the phone rings. She says that she needs to be transferred to room 292, and it’s an emergency. I ask who she is, and she claims that she’s his mother. So I ask for the full name, and she doesn’t know it. Cue verbal assault. She ends by saying that she hopes that I still have a job tomorrow!

“Lost” reservations, promises made by non-existant employees . . . Are these people insane? Or just great actors? They act like they sincerely believe what they’re saying. I don’t know if I could get worked up to the point where my veins bulged over something that I made up on the drive to the hotel. I just don’t understand it.

budding misanthrope

Man, aren’t people the worst? I thought it was bad when I worked at the theater but they ain’t got nothin’ on those losers! One of the worst ones, though was some guy who came out like 50 times to tell us that our Dolby surround speakers weren’t working, bitched out the current manager, came over and started bitching to me (where I started giving him the exact same explanation) and demanded to speak to the manager. I told him he WAS just speaking to the manager and he blurted out “THAT’S the MANAGER!!! Unbelievable!” Like you need a doctorate to run a movie theater or something. By the way, this guy was seeing “The English Patient” which has pretty much exactly 2 parts where you’ll hear the surround speakers kick in: during the sandstorm and when the plane crashes. Recently with the advent of digital soundtracks and THX certified soundsystems (neither of which we had, of course) people have become accostomed to being blown out of their seats by every sound and bit of dialogue. Many people assume that what’s coming out of the surround speakers is supposed to be what’s coming out of the main speakers behind the screen, which is not the case. The surround track on films contains mostly ambient sounds like rustling leaves or in rare cases something like a phone ringing in another room which is expecially noticible because the sound seems to come from nowhere behind you. Many theaters just get tired of explaining it and either crank up their surrounds to an absurd level or rewire them entirely. I know this sounds like a line of bull: “Those speakers are only for sounds you aren’t supposed to hear” but we had a memo from Dolby stating pretty much everything I’ve told you. So when I go to hand a copy of it to the guy, he wads it up without even looking at it, throws it on the floor and says “I don’t need to look at that! I know all about Dolby because I have it at home!” This of course reduces us to gales of side-splitting laughter (oh, yeah! Movie theater/home stereo – same thing!) This guy continues to throw his tantrum and insist his home system is so much better than ours, to which we finally replied “Then why don’t you go home and watch a movie!” He countered with my absolutely FAVORITE line: “I’m never coming back here again!” to which I replied: “I wish you hadn’t come THIS TIME!” The manager added: “Tell your friends not to come either!” I could go on and on. I quit when the company decided that I would be easier to kiss people’s butts by giving them free crap every time something was wrong rather than do anything to correct the problem. (Leaking roof, antique heating system, etc.) Their policy was pretty much to give people passes essentially for the asking, regardless of how realistic a request it was. (i.e. Watches entire movie and wants refund/passes because they went into wrong theater and that wasn’t the movie they wanted to see.) People were starting to wise up to this and would just go from theater to theater watching movies and getting passes, never paying for any of them, and giving me a hard time when I wouldn’t buy into their line of crap. “I’m terribly sorry you weren’t aware this was going to be a violent war movie, especially since the title is ‘Kill, Death, Slaughter,’ it’s rated ‘NC-17,’ and the posters out front show a man in Army fatigues charging up a pile of dead bodies with a bloody bayonet. However, we do not guarantee you will enjoy the movie’s content, and only give refunds for that reason during the first 20 minutes of the show, which is more than ample time to figure out you don’t like it.” “What? You’re not gonna give us anything? What kind of customer service is that? Give me the name of your manager!” Guess what people, this is a for-profit business, not a charity! I had some woman bitch me out because she had a pass that wasn’t valid for the movie she wanted to see and couldn’t understand why I didn’t just let her in free anyway. Sorry! All the seats that we reserve for people who request to be let in free just for the hell of it are full! The thing that really tore me up was that they’d eventually go on to complain to the district office where someone would go “oops, sorry…here’s a big stack of passes!” so I mean, what’s the point? Oops! I guess I did end up going on and on. :wink: Sorry, but I’ll never have a customer service job as long as I live, and I vow to be nothing less than the best customer I can be to salespeople, counterpeople, waitpeople and anyone else who is sure to know more about their own job than I do, dammit! Phew! Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

Lying customers? Oh boy, I could tell you a million of 'em. I work for my local government. In the water department. When I first started, my boss told me, and I quote “You’d be surprised just how many people have babies, were in the hospital, or out of town when they get turnoff notices.” I laughed. Then I started working the phones, the day after a batch of shutoffs had been sent. I stopped laughing, fast. I distinctly remember getting 14–count them–14 calls from women who had just had babies, 7 calls from people who were in the hospital, and 17 from people who had been out of town. I wrote those numbers down because I was so surprised.

My personal favorite, though, was from a man who had had water service in his name for about 6 years at this particular address. He got an unusually high bill, and we sent him a notice informing him that this high bill was coming (we’re polite like that). Anyway, he comes tearing in to the office, screaming that the water should NOT be in his name, he doesn’t live there, blah blah blah. I pull up his account, and ask him if his ID is correct–we require picture ID & a social security number to get water service. Yes, it’s his ID, but still, someone must have stolen it. But the service has been on for 6 years, sir, with nary a problem until now. Shall I go get the application, with a signature on it, so you can check and see if it was forged? We do keep those for about 10 years. Forged? he says. Yes sir, I reply. If that was a forgery, and someone stole your ID, we do have a procedure for you to press charges, and absolve you of all responsibility for this bill. You can do that? He says. Yes sir, in a heartbeat. Well, he says, that won’t be necessary. I sold the house to my brother four years ago. I’ll just tell him there’s a problem. He left much more quietly than he came in. And after he left, I laughed so hard that I nearly fell out of my chair.

Before I say anything, I want you guys to know that I do not look down on people who have difficulty with alcoholism, other drug addictions, or obesity. Many members of my family are afflicted with one or more of these. It’s when these people come into the hospital and lie to me about it… argh! [warning: rant to follow]

I had a patient recently who was admitted to the coronary care unit because he swallowed two baggies full of cocaine (under police escort). Incidentally, when I started his IV I noted that he had track marks all up and down his arms. I proceeded to take his history, you know: do you have any allergies? Have you ever had a blood transfusion? I asked, “Do you ever use alcohol or drugs?” He said “No”. I’m like, I CAN SEE THE COCAINE ON YOUR X-RAY!

More common is the guy who claims he never drinks, then goes into full-blown DT’s a couple days after admission, has seizures, throws up on me, and tries to snap my neck like a twig. Hey! DTs can kill you (and innocent bystanders)! And they can be treated if you give the nurse a little warning! Go ahead and tell her you’ve been drinking a gallon of cheap vodka every day since you were twelve. She really wants to know.

And the diabetic man who weighed 430 pounds and was admitted for extremely high blood sugar compounded by an asthma attack brought on by smoking several packs of cigarettes in one day. He was in his room smoking and eating Snickers bars his mom brought him, lied to me when I asked him about it, and got furious with me. You know, you can at least wait until you’re OUT OF THE ICU and off the insulin drip before you wolf down the Snickers, and it’s really not cool to smoke by sticking your cigarette through the hole in the side of your oxygen face mask.
Whew! I feel better now!

I have dealt with very similar people, but I just wanted to give a counter-example to the hotel.

My wife and I took a short vacation for our first anniversary. We went to a hotel for which we happened to have a $5 coupon (it was in a travel book), which it said applies to whatever rate we get. Well, I’m a member of a group that gets a special low rate (probably the lowest available). I specifically ask the clerk who is checking me in if the coupon applies. She looks at it, checks with somebody else, and agrees that there is no reason it shouldn’t apply. Great! We stay there several nights and go to check out. The Ass. Manager (abbreviation on purpose, as you’ll see) is the one on duty. She says we cannot use the coupon. Obviously, I’m a bit annoyed. I explain calmly that we were told by two people when we checked in that it was fine, and there is nothing on the coupon itself that prevents it. She says it doesn’t apply to my rate. She says it should have been printed to say that. I explain that it’s really not my fault that somebody in their company screwed up the coupon, and again explain that two people who work there said it was okay. She says they were not authorized to say it was okay (again, as if this is my fault). Oh, did I mention she was wearing a button with a quaint quote about customer service? She stands there and argues with me and absolutely will not give any ground. So I pay it (it was only five bucks, after all) and tell her I’ll be calling the manager (he conveniently wasn’t around at the time). I call and leave a message. He calls back and I quickly relate the story. He is incredulous and says, “This is all about five dollars?” I say yes. He says no problem, it will be taken off the credit card bill. And it was.

So what the hell was this idiot Ass. Manager thinking? I don’t think I’ll ever figure that one out. And unlike those folks who lie for personal gain, she would have gotten nothing out of this. The hotel would have gotten 5 extra dollars. Whoopee. And they would have (in fact, did) lost my business forever. All while wearing a button claiming they think customer service is the #1 issue.

Well, here’s one non-lying customer, who has had bad experiences with hotels. Not many, mind you, but when they occur, they’re real doozies.

Best example is the one that happened to us (me, my wife, 3 kids) this past July 4th weekend. We drove down to Williamsburg, VA for Sunday and we had made a reservation in Mann’s Harbor, NC (just west of Roanoke Island) for that night. We told them we’d be getting in around 1 AM and the guy said, “No problem, I’ll have them leave the key for you by the office door.”

We get there and find almost every room taken (this hotel had about 12 cabins/rooms, with a parking spot outside each, and the parking spot of each was occupied) except for # 1, which looked like a full-fledged bungalow. We had found a ring of keys by the office door and assumed they were for us, but they didn’t have any room numbers on them. So we went to # 1, tried every key in the door, and sure enough, one of them opened it. We found the place to be apparently occupied, clothes and food strewn everywhere, beds unmade, no clean towels, etc. We were creeped out, but since we had found the key, what else were we to think?

In the morning, we went to the office and told them what had happened the previous night. Apparently, the guy who took our reservation neglected to write down or tell the girl on duty to leave the key for us, so when we didn’t show by 11 PM, she gave our room (# 6) away. (# 1 was apparently the residence of a construction worker who had the holiday weekend off. If he had stayed the weekend, we would have been forced to sleep in our car!) They apologized and gave us some clean towels and little soaps so we could wash up before leaving…but still charged us full price for the whole experience.

Chaim Mattis Keller

“Sherlock Holmes once said that once you have eliminated the
impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be
the answer. I, however, do not like to eliminate the impossible.
The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it that the merely improbable lacks.”
– Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently, Holistic Detective

Now don’t get me wrong, I completely sympathize with anyone who has legitimate bad service experiences (I’m sure I’ve been the cause of a few on my worst days,)but I think the point of this thread is when it’s the customer who is being completely evil and in the wrong. Someone should start a thread about “worst service experience ever.” Not me because I can’t think of one right now…

I waited tables and tended bar while going to school, so I got a lot of them. One of my favorite examples of a jackass is the woman who complained about not being able to use her coupon. The restaurant had a coupon that offered “buy an entrée and receive a second entrée (of equal or lesser value) for free. We also had an all-you-can-eat buffet, which was pretty expensive. The coupon itself stated that it wasn’t valid for the buffet, the sign at the hostess stand announcing the evening’s specials also stated no coupons for the buffet, so when she asked if she her table could buy a buffet dinner and get one for free–I said “No, ma’am.” “Do you know how to read” she asked, pointing to the menu. Apparently, the fact that the buffet was listed at the bottom of the page that contained the header “Entrees” (the all-you-can-eat buffet “header”/footer? at the bottom of the page was in the same type size as the entrees header) had confused her (and, believe me, I’m pretty sure I was more familiar with the menu than she was). Maybe the menu should have used two pages that had a lot of blank space, I dunno. But she thought she was entitled to anything on the page that had the entrees listed, whether or not they were listed under “Entrees”. So as she got rude, I just said you can’t use your coupon for a buffet, period; buy a regular entrée if you what to use it. " I want to see your manager, what’s your name, I’ll never come back here again, blah blah blah…” The manager came over and eventually gave her a free second entrée, which was what the coupon was for anyway. She was eating with her brother-in-law, who was a semi-regular. After she left, he stayed at the bar and later told me she pulls this shit EVERY time she eats at a restaurant. If she complains loudly enough, she usually gets something for free. The kicker: her coupon had expired the month before.

This happened a few weeks ago:

My co-worker (who is no longer with us) was working the late shift. A guest came in from the pool, and said that two teenage boys were tossing a soft-drink bottle filled with water back and forth and it almost pegged the gues in the head.

Jack went out and told the boys to cease and dissist, or they would be kicked out of the pool. The boys claimed the guest was lying, and that they weren’t doing anything wrong. One of the boys was holding the bottle. Jack asked him for it, and threw it away.

About ten minutes later, another guest came out and reported that she had been struck by the flying bottle. They had retrieved it from the trash as soon as Jack left the pool room. Jack told the boys to leave. They did. Jack told me later that he was a little worried. They just went too quietly.

It wasn’t too much longer before a guest came up to the desk, and said that Jack had better check out the men’s room. He went in there to find an inch of water on the floor from the overflowing toilet, which was covered in about three rolls of toilet paper. And on top, like a cherry on a sundae, someone had defecated.

Jack, gagging and retching, cleaned up the mess, and prayed to whatever gods may be that this was the last he’d hear of the two boys. But this was not to be. At 3:30 a.m, a guest called down to say that the boys were staning outside of his room, beating on the door and hollering for him to send out his 10 year old daughter. When he refused, they continued to beat on his door.

Jack called the parents, who claimed that their two angels were sleeping innocently in their room, and that they were pretty upset about the way Jack had treated them at the pool.

Jack went up, grabbed both boys (who were still outside of the little girl’s room) by the arm, and dragged them down to their parent’s room, and kicked the door until the father answered. He shoved the boys inside without saying a word, and went back down to the desk.

The father came down, ranting about how his sons merely wanted to talk to the girl, and he didn’t see what all of the fuss was about.

“Get,” Jack said, “out.”

“What!!! I paid for this room and–”

“I’m calling the police.”

The man left before the police arrived, waking the entire floor with his shouting and cursing.

Jack handed in his resignation when the manager came in that morning. “This is not in my job description,” was all he would say.

A friend of mine owns a bar and I occasionally help him out, carding people at the door. One night this (obviously under 21) kid comes up to the door. I ask him for his ID. He says something like “Oh, it’s OK. I know Todd, the owner.” Todd, standing right next to me at the time, says “I don’t f—ing know you.”

You know what the WORST thing about these customers is? When you spend 15 minutes arguing with them, they finally ask to speak to your manager, and immediately the manager gives them whatever they want. Even if it’s 250% against company policy. It makes you feel like an asshole.

Thank GOD I don’t deal with the public anymore.

Never regret what seemed like a good idea at the time.

Dang right, ruadh! I worked in retail all the time I was in college, and they hammer you with “policy, this is store policy!” all the time. Then the moment you try to enforce it, the customer complains and you’re overruled – often right in front of your face. And of course the nice honest people who take your word for it never get free stuff; just the abusive creeps.

I had a customer in my days selling silverware insist that she had bought a cheap silverplate vase at our store. We’d never carried anything like it, and it wasn’t worth more than ten bucks anyway. She pitched the usual hissy fit, and got twenty bucks out of the management for the piece of crap. So just pick something off the shelf, go into any store, and have a fit when they won’t buy it from you (under the guise of a “refund”). You’ll most likely get what you want.

ruadh–all too true; at last, we agree.

I have kind of a different version of customer crankiness. I worked for a homebuilder (national company, great people) and we offered an incredibly detailed and voluminous warranty that I oversaw. Sometimes in the sales/building process of a persons home, they would start to get all pissy about some item that they claimed the salesagent promised them (for instance, upgrading the standard garden tub to a Jacuzzi tub) and threatening to walk out on the sale etc etc. Our sales manager was the best. He would try to let the sales agents handle it but if the customer demanded to talk to him, he would sit and listen and make sure there really wasn’t any legitimate complaint and then, if there wasn’t, point out to the people that they signed a binding, legal contract which we were willing to let them out of but that they weren’t going to get back their $1000 deposit. There was a couple times where he told the customer that we would give them back their deposit and cancel the contract because we obviously weren’t the homebuilder for them. Thank God! These were the people that would’ve been a nightmare to deal with in a warranty situation. My favorite story is as follows:
Guy, a lawyer, buys a house from us in our most expensive neighborhood. After house is built, proceeds to whine and cry over every supposed “defect”, eventhough some items were not warranted. To make customer happy, our warranty tech goes above and beyond and does some stuff to try to placate homeowner. Finally, starts complaining about all the weeds in his sod (which we offer NO warranty whatsoever for). I tell him clearly that we do not warrant sod and we will do nothing about it. Period. About one week later, he calls back, demanding to speak to manager, saying now that his sod is dying and it’s complete crap yadda yadda yadda. So manager makes appointment and goes out to meet with homeowner. Hmmm, grass is dying in an unusual round pattern. Manager says, “Gee, it looks like the same kind of pattern you get when you spray Round-Up on weeds” (he really says this) and homeowner doesn’t says anything, just that his grass is dying. Manager says “sorry, we don’t warrant grass”. After talking with warranty tech (who is in the neighborhood every day), turns out the guy HAD sprayed with some type of weed killer and then tried to get us to pay for it. Whatta chump!

I do yard work, housework, and such. I used to work with a carpenter who was from Kiel, Germany. (By his recoking, I would be his apprentice, but I reported my earnings from him as self-employment so as not to open a can of worms with the IRS.)
Anyway, I received a lump sum, from Social Security. We wrote up a personal note–that I would lend him $850 (the sum I had received was well over $6000). He signed the note, which was to mature in six months. I planned to take a trip to San Francisco (I live in Los Angeles County) about a week after he was to pay me back.
Came the date of maturity. He said he didn’t have the $850–he had recently taken his car in for transmission repairs, and he could only give me $230.
Notwithstanding his signature on the note, the carpenter–who had a condescending attitude towards Americans in general and me in particular–* later * said he didn’t give me the $850, plus interest, because he decided that I might squander it!!!
Is that lying or what??

Customers that lie. Next thing you know there will be blacks in the NBA.

  1. A user’s computer gets screwed up, they fuck around with it, reloading software, etc. before calling the computer dept. and of course -shout- at you without even being asked “I did not do anything before it got messed up” and then expect you to fix their knuckle-headed tinkering efforts.
  2. Then they act insulted when you tell them that since they installed it (without consulting the IT dept) and that it is under warranty, that -they- must call the manufacturer and get help from them.
  3. During the reboot they refused to do until they told you a fabricated story about how nothing caused the problem, it just spontaneously happened; they ask you questions about their own home computer. THINK PEOPLE! IF YOU ACT REALLY RUDE AND INSULTING TOWARDS ME, AND THEN ASK ME HOW YOU CAN FIX YOUR HOME COMPUTER (a computer I am absoulutely not responsible for) YOU ARE TEMPTING ME BEYOND BELEIF (use the FDISK utility, the partitions are probably slowing your computer, they build up over time, if you remove them, they will speed up your computer). You do better by asking nicely first for help on your work computer, then asking about your home computer and THEN being rude and insulting.

This happened when I was a Domino’s Pizza driver and they still had the 30 minute/$3 off offer.

I set my wristwatch synchronous with the clock in the store, so I could pronounce the age of the order when I delivered it. (It seemed to impress some people into tipping more, so what the hey?)

On this one particular order, I arrived at this guy’s garden-style apartment at 15 minutes after the order. When I knocked, this yappy little dog in the apartment across the hall started barking. But no one answered. Some people get involved doing something right after ordering (showers, for example!), so I kept knocking. No answer, but dog keeps barking.

I step outside to check the building number. Right building. Double-check the apartment number. Go back in and knock again. No answer & dog barking. But this time I heard footsteps. I kept knocking. The dog kept barking. But still no answer. (The order’s about 20 minutes old now.)

I go to my car and drive to a payphone and call the apartment. No answer. I go back (24 minutes) and knock. No answer, dog barks. I decide to return to the store.

I get back at 29 minutes and call the customer. No answer. My manager sends me on a short delivery.

When I return, he’s talking to the customer who called to complain about the missing delivery. The caller ID shows the same number that was on the pizza box. The customer verifies the number. My manager sends me out with the 40 minute-old order.

I show up at the same building. I go to the same apartment. I knock, the dog barks. This time, the customer answers. He says he was there the whole time and didn’t hear any knocks, phones, or anything, and that I must have gone to the wrong building.

He pays me with a $20. I give him the change for the full price. When he asks about the $3, I tell him the next time he tries the “wrong building” scam, make sure his neighbor’s yappy dog isn’t home. He looks surprised, and I walk off.

I would’ve loved to have had a cel phone back then and heard this guy’s phone ringing as I stood at his door listening to his neighbor’s dog.

re: dominoes pizza.

We used to put a penny above the door, and remember the mint year of it when we left the first time. The point? When the customer pulls the “you weren’t here” crap, when meeting you while walking up to the door, you calmly ask how the 1946 delaware penny got above his door. Blessed silence follows.

Not directly relevant to the thread, but perhaps of use with problems similar to dougie_monty’s.

Back, oh, 15 - 20 years ago, I was a renter rather than a homeowner. One morning, I got up, wrote out a check for the rent (which was coming due), took the check and a stack of mail, went down to the mailbox next to the rental office, and shoved the whole thing in. Including the rent check.

OK, I say to myself, I have Screwed Up. The novelty value of such an occurrence having worn off quite a while previously, I calmly go back to my apartment, write out another check for the rent, go down to the rental office, and hand it in to the agent on duty, together with an explanation of what happened, and a comment that I will be stopping payment on the first check. All better.

A few days later, I get a phone call at work froom my wife. For stopping payment on the rent check, we’re now being evicted, and have half an hour, or some such amount of time, to haul our stuff out. Still calm, I phone my bank. Were both checks presented? Yes, they were. And was one paid? Yes, just one; you stopped payment on the other. Quite right, I say, just checking to make sure everything is copacetic.

I then call the rental office. You’re evicting us because you presented a check from me for payment and it wasn’t honored? Absodamnlutely, they reply. And what about the other check, for the full amount of the rent, that you presented at the same time? Silence. By the way, how did you get that first check? The mailman found it and gave it to us. So, I sez, you knew that you had two months’ rent, and tried to collect it despite my telling your agent that the first check, which you didn’t have, would be no good? More silence. Very well, I say, anything else that you have say on the matter can be said directly to my lawyer (I didn’t have one, but the rental company didn’t know that). No further comment from the rental company.

Two lessons:
[list=1][li]The customer isn’t always wrong[/li][li]When challenged, hand back instant overkill; it saves time[/list=1][/li]

“Kings die, and leave their crowns to their sons. Shmuel HaKatan took all the treasures in the world, and went away.”