TALES FROM THE CALL CENTER PART 2: DRAIN INVASION! By Dale Harper

At the Waterworks Plumbing & Drain company, plumbing calls are usually cut and dry, i.e. hey this is leaking, please come and fix it. There are usually some additional keywords and phrases thrown in there to make things more specific. I can typically get through a plumbing service call from pick up to hang up in under 8 minutes, depending on the severity of the situation. However, the curveballs most recently have been the drain calls. During the fall and winter months, we tend to get those strange requests…the kind that makes you stop and think.

As these calls roll in, I think back to the calls that stood out to me the most in my nearly two years here in Customer Service. One of the top five most infamous was the “talking” drain pipe. I got the call early in my shift, so it was during that first cup of coffee. The caller, John Doe maintenance worker from a local apartment complex and the regular customer called to tell me that a drain line is making some strange sounds. Now I know John well at this point, but this time around he wasn’t making much sense.  While onsite, our Waterworks technician listened closely to the drain line, and what does he hear? The drain line starts “meowing” at him, and he quickly puts his drain cleaning equipment back in the truck. Our tech then used his camera for the drain line and staring back at him was a wet orange kitten. Long story short, our tech cut up the line (with careful digging and placement), pulled the little guy out, and patched up the line. The maintenance worker adopted the kitten to serve as a mouse hunter.  I wish I could post the invoice. This is what our guy added to it:

“Opened drain line, removed 1 x male kitten, orange……I’m a hero 😊

Ready for another? A few months ago, I was working a new night shift. I’m a little tired. When you go from daylight hours to vampire time, it can be a little rough. Did I mention that it is around Halloween, so prank calls tend to come in. A call comes in about 8:30 p.m. at night: ‘Hello Waterworks?  I really need your help.” Okay, so it sounds like a normal call until the caller tells me that her grandchildren decided to play Dracula with her false teeth. How do WE fit into all of this? Her grandchild upon being caught with said dentures decided to flush them to hide the evidence, causing them to be lodged into her drain line. I instantly thought this was a prank call, and thought our technician was going to end up on a wild goose chase. Suffice to say, I got a phone call about an hour and a half later,  and our plumber told me he pulled out an upper and lower set of false teeth from an 86-year-old woman’s toilet. By the luck of the gods, our technician dislodged the teeth out of the toilet WITHOUT destroying them. I really hope she did not use the teeth again, but I don’t know. We got them out, and intact enough for her to get a new set made easily.

Being in operation for over eighty years, we have seen a lot in our history. One thing I am sure of is that people are people and there will be more to fix. Just like an old house, we adapt and evolve to meet the needs of our customers in these everchanging times. Just remember…be careful about what you put down your drain and keep us on speed dial.

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