Working in a call center environment, with such a diverse group of people, there are some pretty…let’s just say “interesting”…events that occur with the staff.
I have worked at such a company since the year 1986, and I’ve had a ring-side seat for many of these “interesting” events which some of my Facebook friends have also been present.
The following story happened a while ago, when I was a supervisor in the call center. I’m not sure of the exact year, only that it was before 1999. That’s the year my twins were born. That’s the year I left the 2nd-Shift Call Center Supervisor position and moved on to the greener pastures of day shift office and administration.
It was a Saturday. The shift was from 11am – 7pm, and there were 3 supervisors scheduled for the room of 100 agents. At about 11:30, one of the agents who was sitting in Section A (seats 1-20) came up to me at the Supervisor desk and said, “Something stinks over in section A.”
“You wanna move to a different seat?”
“No. I just wanted you to know.” She turned and went back to her seat. The Unknown Odor was then placed at the bottom of my priority list. Apparently, it wasn’t bad enough that she wanted to move, so I just kind of let it go.
About 20 minutes later, the agent, accompanied by another agent, came up to me again. “It still stinks over there. She smells it, too.”
“Well, what do you think it might be?” I asked them.
“I dunno. But it’s bad.”
I got up and went with them back to their seats. I walked up and down the aisle of Section A, but I didn’t smell anything.
“I don’t smell anything,” I said. Not that I really expected to. I have a pretty bad sense of smell. Food cooking on the grill, flowers, a spritz of perfume…can’t smell any of it.
“It ain’t smelling now,” the agent said. “But it smelled bad, didn’t it?” She looked at another agent, who nodded in confirmation.
“I don’t know what to tell you,” I said. “There’s nothing here now. Best I can do is move you to a different seat.”
My offer was declined again.
As the day went on, several more agents came up to me to complain about the smell. Some of them accepted my offer and move to a different seat. Others did not. It seemed as though these agents were on a mission to find the source of the smell.
About halfway through the shift, the most vocal of the agents came up to me again. “It is bad! It is SO bad! And I found out what it is! That man is seat 7 done shit himself! He shit himself, Kevin! You can see it on his pants leg! All up and down!”
This was so over the top, it couldn’t possibly be true. This was an older gentleman, probably in his 50’s or so. Certainly, there was no way this agent’s claim could be true. To just sit there in it? It was unbelievable to me.
So I did some recon. I patrolled the aisle of Section A and had just a few moments of “personal time” with each agent. I asked how their day was, said I was glad they came in to work, yada yada yada. I kept looking over at this man, hoping for (or was it hoping against?) visual confirmation. And yep! There it was, smeared all up and down the right pant leg of his navy blue suit.
Well, I didn’t know what to do. I’ve never had to have a conversation about this before. What do I say? How do I begin? “Hey, how you doing today? Glad you came in. I see you shit yourself.” See? That just doesn’t work.
I called my boss.
“Uhh, hey Natalie. It’s Kevin. Oh, not too bad. Hey, listen. I’ve got a rather unusual situation here. Seems the agent in seat 7 shit his pants. Yep. Shit. His pants. How should I handle this?”
It was decided that the other supervisor and I (the third supervisor had gone to lunch about a half hour before) would simply ask the man if he was feeling OK, mention his pants, and send him home free and clear of any kind of attendance violation. So we pulled him off the phone and into an office.
I jumped right in. “So, uhhh…we were wondering….are you feeling OK?”
He didn’t even have to think about it. “Well, to tell you the truth, no I’m not. You might have heard these little girls out here talking. I had a little accident on the bus on the way here.”
In my head I thought, On the way here? You crapped your pants on the way here???? That was like 4 hours ago! What came out of my mouth was, “Tell you what. Why don’t you just go ahead on home and take care of yourself. We won’t even mark it down as a violation.”
He was very appreciative with how understanding we were. My co-supervisor then went out to the call center to get his personal effects. She brought them in to him and we had him leave through the office door instead of going back out through the call center. After he left, we took the chair that he was sitting in and rolled it out the rear door. Our nefarious plan was to retrieve the chair after the shift and put it somewhere in the marketing department.
After we sprayed Lysol in the general vicinity of seat 7, things calmed down and everything was back to normal. About a half hour later, the 3rd supervisor came back from lunch. The other supervisor and I are doing our work, tallying totals, checking project status and production rates. After a little while, the supervisor who had been at lunch came up to the two of us and asked, “Umm…did something happen while I was out?”
We told him what had happened with the guy and how we handled and so forth. And then, “Why? What makes you ask?”
“Well,” he paused a beat before he continued, “cuz I was just in the bathroom and, on the floor behind the toilet, was underwear filled with dookie.”
“Yeah! I walked in the bathroom and there was this terrible smell. And stuffed behind the toilet, was dookie filled underwear.”
“No, I’m dead serious.”
Great. How was I going to handle THIS?
I guess he could see it in my eyes, because he popped right in and volunteered with, “Oh, I already took care of it. I got a pair of those yellow cleaning gloves, stuffed the dookie drawers in a Subway bag, and threw it in the dumpster out back. Why is there a chair out there?”
We explained that it was the chair the soiled agent was sitting in and told him of our plan to place it in the marketing department.
The rest of the day was incident free. The shift ended, we did our end of day tallies and clean up and stuff, and I went out to get the chair off the back deck.
But the chair was gone. Someone, at some point during the day, came along and had stolen it.
I wonder just how long they kept it before ditching it?