M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Tuesday, July 02, 2002  

I've worked in call centers pretty much my entire adult life. Talking to people on the phone for a living for years means that I've had conversations with a lot of idiots. Not just people who say stupid things, but people who are permeated with idiocy down to the last fiber of their benighted existence. People who have asked me to fax money to them. People who have refused to fax paperwork to me because "I still need it." People who expect me to give them detailed information about their retirement accounts when they call from the flight deck of the USS John F. Kennedy.

So it's a little sad that in all my years of experience, the stupidest person I ever talked to was in the first month of my first phone job ever.

That job was at TicketMaster. Yes, I know. Bitch all you want about how they gouge their customers, but don't bitch to me. I was only getting $4.25 an hour, so it's not like I'm going to be handing out reparations.

Anyway, if you've ever ordered tickets over the phone, you know how it works. You tell them what you're buying tickets for, then give your name, address, phone number, credit card number, and expiration date. In that order. This was important because in 1989, we were all using dummy terminals that were so dumb, if you had to change something in a field you'd already completed, you had to start the order all over (obviously those "service" charges weren't getting invested in software either).

So, this guy. I got him to the point where he knows what he's buying tickets for (I don't remember what it was, so don't ask). I started entering the order.

Me: Can I have your name as it appears on the credit card please?

Him: What?

Me: Can I have your name as it appears on the credit card?

Him: The name on the credit card is MBNA Bank--

Me: No, sir, I need your name.

Him: My name?

Me: That's right.

Him: Firstname McLastname (I don't remember his actual name. Lay off).

Me: Is there a middle initial on the card?

Him: The card number is 4482--

Me: I'm sorry, sir, I'm asking if there's a middle initial on the card.

Him: The expiration date is October--

Me: Actually, what I'm looking for here is whether there's a middle initial on the credit card.

Him: My address is--

Me: Sir, I need your middle initial if it's on the card.

Him: Zip code?

Me: No, your middle initial.

Him: My what?

Me: Your middle initial. Does the middle initial appear on the card?

Him: My phone number is--

Those of you who've read some of my past entries are aware that I'm prone to exaggeration every now and then. I assure you that is not the case here. If anything, I’m sparing you.

Finally I tired of asking for a middle initial when the very concept of a middle initial was clearly alien to this brainiac. And keep in mind that I couldn't skip ahead and enter any of the other information until I was sure that I had the name in the system as it appeared on the card.

Me: (through my teeth) Sir, what's your middle name?

Him: Samuel.

Me: And is there an "S" on the card?


Me: Sir?


Me: Is there an "S" on the card?

Him:....................There's an "S" in "Visa."

I left the field blank, hit my TAB key as hard as I could with my forehead, and took the rest of the order.

I've never, in my entire life, on the phone, via e-mail, or in person, encountered an individual as stupid as he. That's the guy by which all other idiots in my life have been measured. And they've all come up wanting.

posted by M. Giant 3:28 PM 0 comments


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