My stupidest moment as a customer, ever

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98 Responses to “My stupidest moment as a customer, ever”

  1. “I had flown all night and gotten into my hotel near San Francisco International very late. Blearily, …” 

    I suspect some of the explanation lies right there :-) It reminds me of all the times I’ve woken up with my headphones still playing music and immediately and desperately tried to shut off my innocent alarm clock.

    • catgrin says:

      Just tonight I woke up from an accidentally early night’s sleep on the sofa to find that my glasses had wandered off. My vision isn’t that poor, but I woke up the same way I went to sleep – tired and confused (I’d only slept for four hours). It took several trips between my computer, bathroom, coffee table, and sofa cushions to finally find my glasses on my coffee table, and partially hidden along the side of my TV remote. The noise from my TV is what had woken me up in the first place, and in shutting it off, I’d hidden them!

      • Snig says:

        I remember once when I was convinced that my alarm clock was broken because it was making this horrible noise.  It was beeping!  I was trying to sleep!  As I woke I realized its parameters were fine, mine had been a bit off.

    • Elliot Rock says:

      I recent stupid moment happen about 5mins after empty the nappy bin next to the Toilet, walking back I noticed the Toilet was glowing. Thinking it was a spiritual moment I got down on one knee to receive the deity I give an offering to each day.

      Bowing my head I noticed my galaxy S was fully submerge in the toilet, thankfully my catholic wife didn’t see my prior reverence.

  2. mobobo says:

    “anxious little motor in that fucker ”

    made me snort teat all over my shirt

  3. jwz says:

    “Nine times out of ten it’s an electric razor, but every once in a while… it’s a dildo. Of course it’s company policy never to imply ownership in the event of a dildo… always use the indefinite article *a* dildo, never *your* dildo.”

    • SomeGuyNamedMark says:

      A friend who used to do baggage inspection for LAX told me that they referred to items like that as “items of a personal nature”.

      • Tess says:

        Funny, when they look at mine they just smirk sidelong and occasionally give me knowing looks.  **sigh**  

  4. CH says:

    Heh… well, if the maintenance guy didn’t realize it at first, either, then I wouldn’t say it was quite a “stupid customer” moment… although you probably ended up as a “funny thing that happened at work” story. Nice prank to pull on somebody else, too. :)

  5. Lori Chase says:

    Haha! I know I’ve had one or two rival-worthy stupid moments, but I’m too bleary-eyed to recall at the moment. However, I can assure you–having worked front desk in a high-end hotel chain when I was in college–that is not even close to the stupidest thing a customer has ever done.

    • ocker3 says:

       I don’t know about high-end hotels, but as a desk clerk in my Uni’s dorm, I once got a call from the top floor kitchen “Should we have taken the plastic wrapping off of the frozen lasagna before putting it in the oven?”

      Noone was around when I got to the 4th floor kitchen, but the smell of burnt plastic from the Microwave-friendly frozen lasagna was quite obvious. I didn’t remember whose number the call had come from :(

  6. Lemoutan says:

    So we’ve got to watch for zombie toothbrushes as well? I give up. Sheesh.

  7. Over the River says:

    After going to the basement, getting a ladder, climbing up it four times to change the batteries of four smoke detectors, and then sitting in a chair frustrated because something was still chirping, I realized it was the Carbon Monoxide sensor sitting two feet from me that needed its battery changed.

    • Kerouac says:

      I once tore my mother’s carbon monoxide detector completely off the wall trying to stop it from chirping, slicing my hand open in a 2 a.m. half-awake stupor. Once I removed it from the house I discovered the chirping was coming from the smoke detector above the doorway.  I have since pronounced to all who will listen – NEVER put those two items near each other.  It’s a safety hazard!

    • Robert says:

      Is the chirping smoke detector the dumbest UI ever, or am I missing something? It chirps for a fraction of a second, and it echoes off all the walls and ceilings, making it practically impossible to locate unless you’re standing right under it. And it chirps once every minute or two, making the whole ordeal last forever if you’ve got a lot of rooms, and two levels :(

      • Michael Robinson says:

        My apartment has two levels of ceiling: one is 9 feet tall, one is around 13 feet. Since it’s a studio, I don’t have space for a ladder. Guess where the fire alarm is mounted.

        • James Churchill says:

          To be fair, smoke alarms are on the ceiling because *that’s where smoke goes* – it might be inconvenient to service where it’s placed, but that’s better than putting it in the lower spot and it not activating…

          (and I’m saying that as a person with a smoke alarm mounted on a ridiculously high ceiling too :P )

  8. microdot says:

    when I moved into my present home, 10 years ago, one sunny morning I was puzzled by a repetitious regular beeping noise…3 hoop hoop hoops repeated mechanically over and over again…what was it? It seemed to be coming from the attic….I went up there and started to look in boxes, thinking it was some electronic device I had packed away…..then I realized it was coming from out side the house….I ran out and looked up and there was a very cool Hoopoe  (Upupa epops, must be one of the coolest specie names ever) sitting on the top of the chimney, just doing his thing…..

  9. Paul Renault says:

    I hope you looked under the toilet tank lid, not under the toilet. If not, did you wash your hands afterwards?

    Follow my recommendations regarding electric toothbrushes when travelling.  That, and always pack a spare set of batteries in your toilet kit.

    http://boingboing.net/2012/06/27/suspected-burglar-with-drill-i.html#comment-569089029

    • John Thomas says:

      Under the toilet could be a reasonable place to look. I’m more concerned that “the stopcock kicked it” [sic], probably Cory meant “BALLcock kicked IN” ?

    • jahxman says:

      Your recommendation of reversing polarity of one of the batteries for storage and travel might be ok - unless there is a different number of batteries than two. 

      With two batteries of equal charge, they will cancel each other out if the switch is activated. (if the charge is unequal, see paragraph below about odd numbers of batteries.)

      With an odd number of batteries, voltage could still be delivered if the switch is activated (and possibly reverse voltage if you reverse more than you leave correct) which will have the effect of still delivering voltage, just less voltage, and if the voltage delivered is reversed it might damage any electronics in the circuit (like LEDs) and the batteries will be drained. Also, if the battery chemistry is lithium, there is a risk of catastrophic failure (hot gas and flame) if voltage is forced against the polarity of the battery (although many lithium batteries now have protection circuits to prevent this, they don’t always work as intended.)

      If the number of batteries is an even number but more than two, it would be important to reverse exactly half of them to achieve the desired result (with the same caveat about equal charging levels in both groups.) 

      The safest thing would be to introduce an insulator in between the battery and the contact (small bit of plastic for example) if the device in question doesn’t have a lockout capability.

      • retepslluerb says:

        Thanks.  I know have the image of James Doohan in my head, holding an electric toothbrush and proclaiming “Captain, we cannae risk reversing the polarity.”

      • YourMessageHere says:

        Put a bit of card over one of the terminals.  A friend recommended that for prolonging battery life in the Pentax ME Super, but it applies to anything that takes replaceable batteries and won’t reliably stay off.

  10. digi_owl says:

    Hah something similar go off in my bag once, and for some reason i never connected it to the electric razor until i unpacked…

  11. jackie31337 says:

    I had one of my stupidest “strange noise” moments when I was about 10. It was a windy day a few weeks before Christmas. I had come home from school and was alone with my brother, waiting for my mom to come home from work. I was in the living room when I heard a loud banging noise on the front wall of the house. I concluded that someone must be trying to break into our house in broad daylight by smashing through the front wall, and called my mom at work in a panic. She rushed home early, only to discover that my mystery burglar was a large plastic light-up Santa Claus face that we had hung up as a Christmas decoration. Nearly 25 years later, my family has still never let me live that one down. :)

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      We thought that there was a bear outside trying to get in. Turned out that one of the fish that we had caught that day had somehow managed to get into a cupboard and was flopping around.

      • Mr. Son says:

         Fish are much stronger than I gave them credit for before I started fishing. I’m not surprised one in a cupboard could get so loud.

      • doktorzoom says:

        My kid–14 at the time– called 9-1-1 after being scared by the UPS driver knocking on the door and dropping off a package I’d told him was coming.

        He was mortified and called me at work, crying over how embarrassed he was; I told him that, considering some of the stuff cops have to see on calls, a needlessly panicked 14-year-old was probably something of a relief to them.

  12. All of the IT related stories on the Reddit page make me think of this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKh0cKTbhBg 
    I have no idea where this clip comes from, but it’s great.

  13. thollandpe says:

    You forgot the part where you tipped the mechanic.

  14. cellocgw says:

    Hotel maintenance staff have seen far worse.   Example:  
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113101/

  15. GuyInMilwaukee says:

    Also embarrassing when the little vibrating toothbrush goes off in you bag when you are in the hotel elevator filled with people. Smiles all around!

  16. Andrew says:

    Back in the late 70s, my older sister had a Raggedy Ann and Andy alarm clock that was powered by a 9-volt battery.   Every morning at 7 am, the alarm would go off and play a taped message where they would talk about getting ready for school.

    One morning she accidentally turned the alarm off and then back on after taking a while to wake up.  Since it was 7:01 by then, the alarm didn’t immediately come back on.   The alarm clock also couldn’t distinguish between AM and PM.

    My family went out to dinner that night, and didn’t get back until after 9 PM.

    The alarm, which had been going off (and playing the loop continuously for more than two hours), had run down the battery.

    Consequently, when we got home, we heard two very deep voices having a muttered conversation in my sister’s bedroom.

    Amazingly, both the alarm clock and the lamp on the nightstand survived the resulting assault by my father, who rushed into the room armed with a baseball bat.

    • tlwest says:

       I still remember turning off the basement light at 1am in an otherwise empty house in preparation for bed (the kids + wide were away).  There were some of my kids toys strewn about, and, as it turned out, a cousin’s toy that they forgot.

      The basement was pitch black except for the staircase light, which I was making my way towards.

      Suddenly, right behind me in the darkness, a crystal clear voice says: “Do you want to play?”

      I just about died.

      Stupid motion sensitive toys.

  17. shutz says:

    A real stupid customer moment would have been to keep insulting the maintenance guy and insisting this was all his fault. 

    You stop being a stupid customer when you realize your mistake, admit it, and apologize for any accusations, unwarranted bad behavior and attitude, and thank whoever is serving you for their assistance and service.

    • Felton / Moderator says:

      Are you referring to Cory’s story?  It doesn’t seem as if he was doing any insulting or accusing.

  18. jennybean42 says:

    Was it ticking?

    Actually throwers don’t worry about ticking ’cause modern bombs don’t tick.

    Sorry, throwers?

    Baggage handlers. But, when a suitcase vibrates, then the throwers gotta call the police.

    My suitcase was vibrating?

    Nine times out of ten it’s an electric razor, but every once in a while…

    [whispering]
    it’s a dildo. Of course it’s company policy never to, imply ownership in the event of a dildo… always use the indefinite article a dildo, never your dildo.

    I don’t own…

  19. Christopher says:

    Even more embarrassing for me  was the time I was in a meeting and jumped up because I thought an insect or other creature had crawled into my pants. Then I remembered it was my cell phone, that I’d conscientiously set on vibrate.

  20. Ted Lemon says:

    Wow, that even beats my “the compiler is producing the wrong code here” story.   Sometimes we need our little lessons in humility… :)

  21. Preston Sturges says:

    At the doctors office there was a persistent rattling buzz which I realized was coming from a framed picture on a drywall wall and the whole thing was acting as a sounding board. I reached over and touched the picture and the sound stopped.  The doctor was pleased. 

    Last winter it sounded like someone was breaking into the house at 7:00 AM.   I armed myself but as I flung open the door the sound stopped.  There was frost on the grass and it was clear nobody had been in the yard.   I took a week to figure out it was coming from a parking lot 200 yards away where they were smashing cement with a pile driver like device.  The cold dawn air had helped carry the vibration to the house. 

  22. Palomino says:

    I was on my way home from work and had an appointment to stop by a storage facility to view their units. I was dressed in a suit and had my laptop in a soft leather case. 

    At the entrance I asked the guard where to park and also where the office was located. “Park right there. The office is the first glass door inside the gate.”

    I walked through the pedestrian access gate and entered the first glass door I saw which was only a  few feet inside the gate and on my right. I sat in a rickety office chair and surveyed my surroundings. Dusty, really dusty. Boxes, lots of overfilled boxes. An old Tandy desktop computer  and an exercise bike. 

    I wasn’t surprised by any of this. I knew that many large storage facilities also had manager apartments and some of the apartments connected to front offices. 

    I waited about an hour and then heard  a door open and a woman shout “Mija!, Mija!, Mija!” followed by feet running down a set of stairs. A small dark woman and a young girl stepped through the door and froze. I didn’t miss a beat…”Is Nick here? I’ve been waiting an hour! We had a 4:00 appointment, can you call him, is he always this late?”

    The woman stated screaming at me in both English and Spanish, “Get out! Shoo! You no be here! No Nick”. 

    The little girl ran out the front door because she knew who Nick was, who soon stood at the “glass door”.  He told me the office was across the driveway, and that I had trespassed into a private residence. 

    The single lane drive serviced two buildings. On one side was a storage facility, the other was the back entrances to a large apartment complex. The first “glass door” I saw had been a sliding glass door, which looked nothing like a glass office door. (Nick’s office was much nicer, and attached to an apartment, which was upstairs.)

    If she had shot me, she would have been perfectly within her right. I returned later and handed her a $50 grocery card.

    • SomeGuyNamedMark says:

      “If she has shot me, she would have been perfectly within her right.”

      Glad to see that a confused looking guy in a suit asking “Where is Nick?” doesn’t require killing.

    • Preston Sturges says:

      One morning, a friend of mine found a strange guy sleeping on the couch of his townhouse.  He assumed it was a friend of his roommates, but it turned out his roommate did not know the guy.  The stranger had been drunk, wandered out back to pee in the weeds then came back and let himself in through the wrong patio doors. 

    • C W says:

      “If she had shot me, she would have been perfectly within her right.”

      What a strange perspective.

  23. SomeGuyNamedMark says:

    I had just finished an intense exercise class at my gym and was pretty much oxygen and glucose deprived.  I was happy just to be able to walk.  I got to the locker room and tried my lock.  No go.  Fine, I spazzed turning it, try again.  No go again.  I repeat this madness over and over getting more and more pissed.  Finally I decide I’ve just forgotten my combo in my brain damaged state.

    I go to the front desk and tell them my problem.  “No problem, we have a bolt cutter.”  A couple quick cuts at the lock and off it comes.  Success!  And what is inside?  Not my stuff.  Yup, I’ve just broken into the wrong locker.

    I turn around and see my lock behind me.  90% of the time I use this locker but today I used a different one and this guy had the same exact lock, same color, and even the same aging to it.  After apologizing and berating myself to the staff (who were very kind in being understanding instead of laughing) I immediately went out and bought the guy a new lock.

    • relawson says:

      Awwwww! You should have put your lock on his locker. then hung around to see him do the exact same thing. ;)

    • tiamat_the_red says:

       Paint the front of your lock, or put a dollop of color somewhere on the back.  I had to do that because freaking EVERYONE at my gym has those cheap masterlock combo locks and I never remember which locker I used

  24. Jamie Pittel says:

    Thank you, Cory, for turning this thread back on yourself (and ourselves) — it brings dignity back to the unfortunate people being ridiculed over on reddit.  I’ve worked in customer service most of my live and while I have plenty of stories of stupid or outrageous things customers have done, I do try to remember they’re just human, with strengths and weaknesses that are not the same as mine, and I’m sure I’ve done stupider things when out of my element.

  25. Quiche de Resistance says:

    Tell the truth Cory:  it was dildo, not a toothbrush, right?

    • Cydonia says:

      Dildos don’t vibrate, you’re thinking of vibrators.

      • N Poppleton says:

        Vibrating dildos vibrate. Of course dildos vibrate.

        Wiki: “Dildo is the common name used to define a phallus-like sex toy which does not however provide any type of vibrations. But as vibrators have commonly the shape of a penis, there are many models and designs of vibrating dildos available. “

        • L_Mariachi says:

          Shocking that there is inaccurate information on Wikipedia.

        • Tess says:

          “Dildo” = sex toy intended for insertion.  Does not vibrate.

          “Vibrator” = sex toy intended to vibrate.  Vibrates. “Vibrating dildo” = sex toy that is intended to be inserted and vibrate.  Is of an insertable shape and vibrates.Vibrators come in a few styles; most are not made to be directly inserted.  Most are quite small, although the “magic wand” style are actually quite large.  Either way, they’re intended to deliver vibrations to some body part or another.  Common styles:  magic wand, pocket rocket, basic bullet.  While many dildos do come with some sort of vibration mechanism, these really are two fairly distinct things.  Most of the better insertion toys out there are meant to be easy to clean and sanitize, so cannot have motors in them.  For this reason, they tend to be made to incorporate the use of a small bullet-style vibrator, which can then be removed so the toy can be cleaned.  Alternately, they are made as removable attachments to a magic-wand style vibe.
          Seriously, the movie quote notwithstanding, the word “dildo” all by itself does not imply something that vibrates.  I promise.  It implies something that might vibrate, but that’s about all.This has been your Intro to Sex Toys for today…

  26. relawson says:

    HAHAHAH!!!!!  (pointing at Cory!!!)

    After about a week in my new house, was leaving for work and my garage door wouldn’t go down… called the garage door people to come look at it… there was a  #%^’ing BOX in the way of the safety sensor at the bottom!

    HAHAHAHAH!!!!! (pointing at myself!!!) :)

    • millie fink says:

      Silly of that company not to ask you to check for that before they sent someone out.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        Customer service departments of all kinds should always ask if the machine is plugged in before they send someone out.  If you’re under warranty, they will; if not, billable hours!

  27. Thomas Gulmark says:

    Oh boy, the memories…

    Waay back in my early twenties, my wife to be and I had traveled extensively i India and Nepal (6 months in total) and I was under the illusion that I was a man of the world. Near the end of our second tour in Nepal we had to catch an early bus to Kathmandu. By Early I mean around 4-ish. Hung over and very much not prepared to take any bullshit from the always a-hustling Nepalese youth we arrived at the bus terminal. Imagine our joy when we saw our bus parked and ready, engine idling.
    In we went, hauling our ridiculously heavy backpacks, only to find two ginormous rolls of cloth sitting on the two seats we had reserved. Having experienced all kinds of attempts at extorting obscure fees and baksheesh in a number of trips, I summoned the young drivers and firmly, and honestly not very politely, stated that I was in no way satisfied with the service of the bus company, demanded that the cloth be immediately removed, proceeded to elaborate on the general state of public transportation in the far east and shared my views on corruption and slack, rampant in this world.
    The drivers listened stone-faced and very politely.
    The most senior of them then – with an ever so minuscule hint of a twinkle in his eye – said “Sir, this is the bus to Delhi. The bus to Kathmandu does not arrive for another hour, Sir. Would you like me to show where it will park, when it arrives, Sir?”

    The word withering suddenly took on an immediate and completely new meaning. I can still hear them giggling as I crept out of the bus, completely and utterly humiliated.
    Don’t. be. an. asshole.
    Just saying.

    • SomeGuyNamedMark says:

      A good embarrassment story will make the reader cringe in sympathy.  Few things are more embarrassing than misplaced righteous indignation.

  28. Stonewalker says:

    Have you tried turning it off and on again?

  29. big ryan says:

    my mom did exactly the same thing when i was a kid, we were all convinced some kind of pipe in the wall was about to explode and we were ready to start tearing apart walls at 1 in the morning,

    i was in the bathroom with my ear to the wall trying to locate the source of the noise and i noticed ‘the wall is shaking so much the tooth brush is jumping around in the wall holder”, i picked up the tooth brush so it wouldn’t end up on the floor and the noise stopped

  30. Daemonworks says:

    Could be worse. At least it was a toothbrush…

  31. I took a bus tour through Italy with my grandmother. She was 65, I was 15. Needless to say, my grandmother fit in with our tour group better than I did. One night, we’re out for dinner with the group, and I can hear a beeping noise at our table as we’re being seated. When it continues into the second course, I mention it, and the elderly gentleman sitting next to me says “I don’t know what it is, but I could hear it in the bathroom too.” The beeping continued for the rest of our dinner, and then followed us onto the bus. This prompted our tour guide to do a bus-wide search before we determined it was my dinner companion’s hearing aid, which he had taken out and put in his pocket, and was now beeping to let him know the battery was dying.

  32. DevinC says:

    I have found that, with customer service, Murphy’s Law can be made to work in one’s own favor.

    By loudly insisting that the company I am dealing with has made an egregious error in judgement, pushing upon me a faulty/shoddy/actively malignant product, I virtually ensure that the source of the problem will 

    a) rapidly become apparent
    b) be my own fault.

    To be fair to the poor individual representing the company, I always fully inform them of my intention to make an ass of myself so that the problem will be swiftly resolved.    Every one I’ve used this technique with has been be- or amused or both, which I consider strange, considering its efficacy.

  33. Bokonon says:

    This guy at work kept complaining about  a high pitched beeping that must be coming from one of the machines in his office.  It would go off and then stop and then go off again.  We couldn’t find the damn thing.  Then while I was kneeling down looking at one of the machines my ear was right next to his arm and I heard it again.  It was his dang watch .hahahah

  34. Green Ghost says:

    Speaking of strange noises and stupidity (not customer related). I was at work years ago, sitting in my personal pickup. I adjusted my seat backwards and started to hear a strange hissing noise. Twisted around to see what it was. Turns out a sharp part of the seat frame had punctured a large can of spray paint (the pinkish/orange stuff used on construction projects). I grabbed the can to toss it out the window and thus received a nice wide stripe across my face, hair and seat, which was for some reason found to be very funny by the guys outside. At least I didn’t have to clean it out of all the nooks and crannies of the dashboard.

  35. CLamb says:

     At the Marriott Washington Wardman Park I found I couldn’t adjust the aspect ratio on the television.  It was set to 16:9 and all the programming was 4:3.  I didn’t want to spend my entire stay watching people unusually short and fat.  I called the front desk but they were unable to understand my problem.  They sent up an engineer who did understand.  He set to work with his screwdriver and then explained the process to me.  The hotel television add-on hardware did not allow for aspect ratio setting.  To change aspect ratio one had to remove the back cover, disable the add-on hardware, use the original television remote to change the aspect ratio, then re-enable the add-on hardware and use the add-on remote to set the channel.  Unfortunately, the television reset the aspect ratio each time it was turned on!

  36. Amelia_G says:

    I love the thinking behind posts like this. They’re so helpful, useful (and kind). Sort of the opposite of the smalltalk consensus I think I’m observing in the US recently: that the adults in the room will converse provided that nothing will be solved, provided the discussion remain a resolution-free zone.
    That reminds me: Thanks for Mark’s recent discussion post as well, in which it was explored the different ways to be a @#(*&@. I needed that.

  37. Fishnuts says:

    I was once awakened from a very deep sleep, in which I was dreaming very vividly,  by a terrible racket from the lower floor of the small cottage in which I lived alone. I rose, armed myself, and halfway down the stairs,

    I was once again awakened from a very deep sleep, in which I was dreaming very vividly, 
    by a terrible racket from the lower floor of the small cottage in which I lived alone. I rose, armed myself, and halfway down the stairs,

    I was once again awakened from a very deep sleep, in which I was dreaming very vividly, 
    by a terrible racket from the lower floor of the small cottage in which I lived alone. I rose, armed myself, and halfway down the stairs, began to realize that something wasn’t quite right, and that I was, at the very least, having a great deal of difficulty waking up from a very deep sleep, in which I was dreaming very vividly about waking up and getting out of bed to investigate a terrible noise coming from downstairs.

    I did finally manage to wake up, sort of, and with rather a lot of pinching and slapping of oneself, was able to confirm that I was in fact awake, at least partially, and arm myself, and get to the bottom of the stairs, to confront the intruder who had apparently been breaking into my cottage for like eight minutes, who was in fact, a squirrel, hanging upside down from the bird feeder just outside the large picture window, swinging the bird feeder into said window, to shake the birdseed onto the ground for his squirrel friends who had accompanied him.

    Damn near shot a squirrel with a .45 automatic, never mind the freaking picture window.

    Finger clear of the trigger, people.

    This actually happened. There is evidently a certain stage of sleep from which it is extremely difficult to rouse oneself.

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