As you may or may not know, blogging is my late night hobby, but to pay the bills, I do customer service for a rent-to-own company. Although it looks dull on paper, I’d have to say it’s the best job I’ve ever had, mostly due to the fact that I have an excellent boss and coworkers. (Hi boss!) My work is largely in collections, so I speak to loads of people each week that don’t pay their bills on time. Customer service is known far and wide to be…interesting…and when you’re dealing with past due customers, it gets even more fascinating.
For your entertainment, I’ve decided to share a few customer interactions with you, all loosely based on actual calls we’ve had here. And before we go on, I’d like to add the disclaimer that most of our customers are actually good ones, but it’s the spicy ones which we remember, of course.
Customer: “Are you young? You sound young. Can I give you a piece of advice? Always stay true to God and his son. Always keep your word, don’t lie. Always pay your bills, if you owe someone $100, don’t pay them $99, pay them the full amount. If you do that, God will look to his people. Stay true to yourself.”
Me: “Okay, thanks I guess?”
Me: “The building is going for pickup due to several unpaid payments.”
Customer: “I can’t BELIEVE you’d pick this up when I’m only 100 days past due! What a cheap move.”
Me: (Thinking) “You do know the contract actually goes into default after 30 days, right?” Facepalm.
Coworker: “[Company], this is Sarah.”
Customer: “Hi Sarah, is this Rachel?”
Customer: “The Lord is VERY ANGRY and God is sweeping the ground and he can take everything we have, even our children, and people think we can get away with it; God can even eat away our flesh and bone if he wants! I love you all dearly and don’t want you to get confused because you’ll end up with the wicked. One time there was a pastor who built a church before he had money and put the weight of it on our heads and me and my sister got scabs and tumors on our heads because of the weight and when I left that wicked church I got all healed even though the pastor told me that I was backsliding. This pastor was wicked and wouldn’t even help his wife; he made her work and make stew until her legs looked like men’s legs and he made her always wear skirts. The Bible says not to be wasteful so when I run out of laundry detergent I just throw in a bar of soap and don’t waste it…” And so on.
Us: “Um, what?”
Customer: “I couldn’t make the payment I promised to have in three days ago because my neighbor was shot today so I couldn’t leave the house.”
Me: Looks into sending them a calendar to teach a conception of dates and time.
Customer: (Out of the blue) “I bet you have your shoes kicked off under your desk right now, don’t you?”
Customer: (In an 18 minute voicemail) “I’d like someone to call me back who can read my thoughts so that I don’t have to speak because when I’m not praying, I’m crying, but I’m crying when I’m praying too, because I’m so worried about stuff on my account- I haven’t slept for two nights I’m so worried, and I can’t talk because I have swollen tonsils so I need someone who can read my thoughts to call me back, and someone that’s a Christian and loves Jesus and is nice to me. Also I didn’t have any heat last winter in my house, just a propane heater, and when it got so cold I slept in the bathtub because it was a smaller space to keep warm.”
Us: (Thinking) Well, we don’t have any mind readers but at least we love Jesus!
Customer: (Every single month when they don’t make the payments) “OH MY GOODNESS PLEASE DON’T PICK UP THE BUILDING BECAUSE I’M LIVING IN IT AND OH MY GOODNESS WE WILL TRY TO PAY AND OH MY GOODNESS PLEASE WORK WITH US BECAUSE WE DON’T WANT TO BE HOMELESS OMG OMG OMG.”
Me: Wonders if caps lock is stuck on their phone. Wonders if they are constantly on the verge of a heart attack. Wonders what the inside of their head looks like.
Customer: “I tried to pay but the payment came back because I forgot to put a stamp on it. (Next month) I tried to pay but my water pipes burst and I had to replace the floors in my house. (Next month) I tried to pay but I was hit by another car. (Next month) I tried to pay but my mother fell and busted her hip. (Next month) I tried to pay, but the check ended up in my neighbor’s mailbox and he opened it.” (Next month) “I tried to pay but the mail truck was robbed while the mailman was at lunch and my check was stolen.” (Next month) “I tried to pay but I had a kitchen fire over the holidays and am waiting on insurance.” And on and on.
Me: Wonders if he lies awake at night thinking up new stories.
Customer: “Why aren’t you letting my card go through?”
Me: “Your card is being declined.” (Thinking) Believe me, if I could make it go through, I would.
Customer: “You just don’t want to take the payment. Why are you doing that? Ugh.”
Customer: “I haven’t done laundry since April except by hand. I’m part Indian, so my kids bought me a star and my husband used to call me a beautiful princess, so we named the star that. I ask God to if I die, please let me stop and see that star on the way up. Three years ago I died from heart trouble. I’ve died ten times, so I’ve outlived a cat. They replaced my main aorta, so I have a bull’s valve in my stomach. My stomach exploded in the wreck. I’m turning 64 on Sunday but people think I’m in my 40s because God has restored my youth. I dance before the Lord, sometimes on one leg. On Christmas day, Jesus and I were going to play golf.” (Talks for 51 minutes just to tell us what date she’ll pay.)