A Failure to Grasp Reality

You know I write about idiots every week, but it’s not all that often that I have to actually deal with them one on one, in real time. But I had one today. My “other” publication, as you probably know, is the True Stella Awards, which details real-but-stupid lawsuits.

Every year the Stellar Awards Gospel Music Academy (“SAGMA” — a lovely acronym to be sure) gives out the Stellar Gospel Music Awards, which are apparently simply called “the Stellar Awards” on TV.

Uh oh…

The culmination of the Stella Awards: my book on crazy lawsuits, and what they say about us all.

It’s astounding how many people come to the Stella Awards web site looking for information on gospel music. And sure, I can understand that some of these people get to my site, see that they made a mistake, have a laugh — and decide that the topic is interesting and want to sign up for a free subscription.

But that doesn’t explain the phone calls.

What kind of idiot does it take to get to the site, see it doesn’t have anything to do with gospel music, yet dig around on the site enough to find a phone number and call it to ask questions about gospel music?! But indeed, a woman called and asked if this was the Stella Awards, and I said yes. She then asked who the host was on the last TV awards show.

Since I’ve gotten this before, I said “This is the Stell-UH Awards, not the Stell-UR Awards.” p a u s e “How do you spell that?” “S-T-E-L-L-A,” I said, figuring that when she figured out there was no “R” in there, it would put an end to the call. “Oh,” she replied. Just as I was about to hang up, she said, “Well, who was the host on the awards show last year?”

Stella is stellar, but not Stellar, and that’s the gospel truth!

So for those of you who actually have to deal with morons on a day to day basis (hello, retail clerks?), I salute you. If I actually had to be polite to such idiots day after day, I’d be insane by now.

Yeah, the ever-growing population of imbeciles means my job will be secure forever, but at least I (usually!) get to stay at arm’s length from them. StellaAwards.com is the place for the ridiculous-but-true lawsuit writeups. There’s nothing there, however, about gospel music. Really.

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13 Comments on “A Failure to Grasp Reality

  1. Ha, just wait until there is a crazy lawsuit involving gospel music. Then you might get even more crazy people calling.

    I’ll have to get an unlisted number! -rc

  2. When I read your blog about the woman not comprehending she had the wrong site and yet pursuing the matter to such an extent, I was reminded of my days as a 9-1-1 dispatcher in the suburbs of Chicago. I was working the dayshift when the 9-1-1 line rang. When I answered, “9-1-1, what is your emergency?” a woman on the other end asked for the phone number to a library in another suburb.

    I calmly explained that she needed to dial 4-1-1 for that information to which she proceeded to argue with me and tried to tell me that 4-1-1 is for emergencies!! After going back and forth for several minutes (thankfully, no other emergency calls were going on at the time) I finally asked her if she would like me to have a police officer come to her house to demonstrate the difference between 4-1-1 and 9-1-1. She paused, letting what I said sink in, presumably, before replying politely “no thank you” and hung up.

  3. It could be worse — certain British accents add an ‘r’ at the end of certain words. Ask ’em about the children’s book Angelina Ballerina and they might reply, “Angelinar Ballerinar? The kids love ‘er!”

    I can picture such a conversation. “Did you mean the Stella Awards?” “Right, then, isn’t that what I said — the Stellar Awards?”

  4. Apropos of the pronunciation comment, we here in RI go both ways. People here get idee-ers all the time.

    On the other hand, I had a friend whose last name I did not know ended “er” rather than the “ah” I had known him by until I read his name on a placard at his funeral!

    The possible conversations boggle the mind:

    Who would know????

  5. Not a Retail Clerk, but have similar issues.

    I work in ISP Tech Support, we get lots of really dumb people thru on a daily basis, I’m not talking about the people who have no idea about computers here, I’m talking about the people who should know better.

    My favourites are always the people who call in with a connection issue and claim something like this “I am a router engineer, and there is nothing wrong with my router, my issue is caused by you/your ISP, so just check and confirm for me there is an issue from your end!! NOW!!”. Of course I check, most times it’s not an issue from our end. “Explain we don’t do router support, ask nicely if they can plug modem directly to computer” after 2 – 3 minutes of arguing, get my way and look, Internet works fine. It’s a router issue.

    9 times out of 10, the person doesn’t thank us for showing them what’s wrong, or getting them back online, mostly they either hang up on us or start another argument. Seriously it might be harder to direct an 80 year old grandmother thru setting up her email, but it’s so much more satisfying because they are grateful and you have done something to help someone who really needs it.

    Yeah it can be frustrating, some calls just make you forget the morons.

    • I feel your pain, John. My last three years of ‘official’ work was website customer support for XYZ bank — it was less frustrating and more satisfying to help the crowd my age and older that the young ones rush to incompletion than it was to help the “WHY is you your system ALWAYS broken when I try to mobile deposit a check!” people. (to be fair, the mobile app was making trouble for folks with iPhones, but I digress…)

      in most of those cases it was user error (never said aloud), and sometimes you even got a ‘thanks’ at the end.

      Don’t let the PEBCAKs get you down.

    • Ridiculous problems are not always a customer error. My ISP ‘loses’ my email inbox every couple years, causing the system to assign me a new empty inbox the next time I log in. No amount of arguing with them will convince them the problem isn’t on my end, despite the fact I am logging in to their website to get my email rather than using a 3rd party email client.

      I figured out what the problem was over ten years ago, but not one tech ever believes me that it is even possible. Luckily, tier 1 customer service can fix the missing inbox, if I phrase my problem carefully. And the error is really STUPID.

      You see, my ISP uses the account holder’s name plus their login name as an internal identification code to link the inbox to the login. Both my given and surnames can be either given or surnames. And every so often, either a broken script or some moronic human goes through their records and ‘fixes’ my name in their files, from “given-name surname” to “surname given-name”, causing my inbox to vanish and a new one to be created. And no amount of arguing can convince them that the problem isn’t on my end.

      I originally twigged to the source of the problem over a decade ago, when I noticed CSRs were calling me “Mr Given-name” on the phone instead of “Mr Surname”, and asked them what my name was in their files. Correcting my name in their files has caused my correct inbox to ‘mysteriously’ reappear within six hours, every single time. But all levels of customer service and tech support still insist the problem cannot possibly be on their end.

      Oh, believe me I know there are stupid companies out there! But still a good reminder. -rc

  6. If I started getting too many of these, I’d create a list of names to rotate between. Being a smart-ass, they’d include the following:
    Joey Bishop
    Jason Priestly
    Father Sun
    Cardinal Syn
    Sister Hoode
    Ozzy Osbourne with a special appearance by Black Sabbath
    Jesus (spanish pronunciation) Cryist

  7. The reason I quit working retail is because of the dumb (I am being nice) questions and why they get my utmost respect when I deal with them. Doing the reviews from your receipts at some stores gets those employees extra money and we need more love out here.

    • I do that regularly at a local Mickey Dees, and point up the good service while noting any issues. If I have to ‘call out’ any staff I am precise, instead of saying ‘So-and-so was terrible’. I usually don’t have to do anything of that sort.

      I DO wish I could review some of the customers, though, like the guy, in front of his kids, thought the best way to have is order corrected was to f-bomb the staff behind the counter (‘good’ early training for future bad customers).

      Oscar Wilde is correct: everyone you meet brings joy:
      Some bring joy wherever they go,
      Others bring joy WHENever they go.

  8. It sometimes works the other way round. I asked a salesman about two similar items and received the answer one is big and the other small. I did not purchase.

  9. I think you might share some of the blame on this particular one, Randy. While I admit that the caller SHOULD have realized that she was at the wrong website, the fact that she called at all indicates that, in HER frame of reference, she thought she was probably calling the correct place, and she ASKED, “Is this the Stella Awards?”, trying to confirm that she had called the correct organization. It appears to me that your response was interpreted as correcting her PRONUNCIATION of the name of the awards she was interested in, and not as an explanation that two separate awards existed and she had contacted the wrong one. Since she thought she was talking to a representative of SAGMA, this appears to me to be an entirely reasonable inference from her point of view. Repeating the question about the host confirms for me that she did not yet understand that two different organizations exist with very similar names. I could see myself being similarly confused under the circumstances.

    Common sense pretty much ends when someone is looking for GOSPEL MUSIC and finds a site about stupid lawsuits, yet decide that must be the same thing. I’m not involved in that process whatever. -rc


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