Customer [Dis]Service


It’s one for the books, alright.  At least for someone’s book, maybe even for my book if I ever get around to writing it.

In my job as a real estate paralegal, I try really hard to keep my clients happy and to make the sale process as painless as possible.  Recently, I’ve been working with a client who is selling his mother’s house because mom is now in assisted living.  The client lives in another state and is dealing with the household issues as best he can.

There’s an open home equity line of credit on the house, and apparently my client doesn’t have the money to keep making the monthly payments.  It wouldn’t have been as much of an issue if the sale had closed when it was supposed to – but due to New York’s recently changed banking laws, every single deal I handle gets delayed by the buyer’s mortgage lender.  Sometimes the delay runs into weeks or even months, rather than days.

Thus, my client has been receiving calls from the bank that holds the home equity loan on his mother’s house.  Sure, he sent them the sale contract, and sure he assures them on every call that closing is imminent and the loan will be paid off in full, but they want their money now.  They have begun threatening collection litigation.

The client called me and asked if I could maybe call the lender and explain that the sale will, in fact, be closing soon.  He had the name and direct phone number of the last person he spoke with in the collection department.  Sure, I said, I could do that; maybe it would help, maybe not, but I would make the effort.

So, I got on the phone.  I called the direct phone number and reached the same person with whom my client had previously spoken.  Let’s call the collection person Gary simply for the sake of having a name, even a fictitious name.  (Hey, gotta protect the guilty, right?).

I was very pleased that Gary spoke real English – in fact, he seemed to be based right here in my very own country!  Maybe even on the same coast, judging by his mid-Atlantic accent. Maybe this was one of the good banks which actually cares about its customers!


Gary had no idea whatsoever why I was calling him.  He had no memory of ever speaking with my client and no recollection of ever dealing with this particular home equity loan.  In fact, he doesn’t even handle home equity loans!   Gary seemed to have a bit of an attitude and, judging from the sighs, appeared to have already had a long, stressful day dealing with lunatic paralegals and idiotic customers.  But in an effort to appease me, he would transfer me to the home equity servicing department and was sure they could assist me.

Gary put the call on hold, or so he said.  I waited and waited – and waited, through the silence.  Or was it silent?  I could hear papers being shuffled and someone breathing, and I swear an occasional sound of chewing came across the phone line.  After about 10 minutes, I couldn’t stand it anymore, and asked “Are you still there?”

The response came in a little old-lady voice:  “Yes, I’m still here.”

Say what?

Is this the home equity department?”  I asked.

The old-lady voice replied, “Is this the bank?”

You might have guessed where this was going – Gary had somehow managed to connect my call to another incoming call.  The lunatic paralegal and idiotic customer were, in fact, talking to each other!

What a spectacular idea!  Have the stupid callers complain to one another while the customer (dis)service representative sits back and laughs, or suddenly decides it’s time for his coffee or cigarette break.

I’d like to give poor Gary the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe he was so tired that he simply made an error. But really, how do you manage to connect two incoming callers accidentally?  I can’t even do a conference call when it’s necessary.  I usually manage to drop at least one of the lines while trying to conference in the other.

What do you think?  Was Gary sly like a fox, or merely incompetent?


Soon, very soon, I will have another, even better, customer (dis)service story.  Stick around.



I love to hear from my readers. You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at


Images by Cordelia’s Mom

This entry was posted in Humor, Photography, That's Life and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Customer [Dis]Service

  1. Elyse says:

    You’re good to help your client like that — it makes a huge difference in these stressful transactions!

    As for Gary, I’m guessing he was just tired. Although the comedy possibilities are amazing!


  2. Ha! This was great. Thanks for making me laugh. 🙂


  3. So funny. I didn’t think that was even technically possible ??? Maybe customers would be just as effective solving each others problems. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s like a disease that we can’t erase. We have no vaccine, no cure. It just gets worse and worse. one of my commenters said we need a new entry in the Big Book of Mental Issues called:

    CSIPTSD, or Customer Service Induced PTSD. I’m pretty sure it’s getting to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Victo Dolore says:

    Wow. How do you DO that? Connect two customers together? I’d have dialed him back repeatedly over and over again pretending to be all manner of people…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tippy Gnu says:

    I think it was Gary, mimicking the voice of an old lady. He seems like a tricky one, who’d do something like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. joey says:

    This was a RIOT! And the comments, too! I’m laughing and snorting like a madwoman! I vote for incompetence, but I can’t even! How would you even DO that? Oh mercy. Thanks for the lolz!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. socialbridge says:

    I’m howling with laughter too – just never saw it coming. What next!!


  9. Jane says:

    How did he do that? I too would have called back again and again. I have stories of dealing with Specialty Pharmacies that are awful. Glad you could find the humor,

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dan Antion says:

    Slylike a fox – two birds (no offense) with one stone.


  11. Just Plain Ol' Vic says:

    Pardon my French but “Gary” sounds like a dumba$$!



  12. Al says:

    Sounds like Garry is an asshat. I hope you got his real name and made a complaint. Having worked in a call centre, doing something like that is grounds for heavy reprimand. SOmeone I was working with once did that. Twice. The second time would be his last as he received an instant dismissal.

    It does remind me of a call I heard once though of a guy phones a Chinese take-away to order a delivery, then puts them on hold and phones another and asks the first one to recite the order back. The ensuing conversation is hilarious.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Don’t know whether to laugh or cry – it’s so real!


  14. Pingback: Customer [Dis]Service: Crossing Over | Cordelia's Mom, Still

  15. Eh — I’ve suffered worse customer service. I can forgive that.


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