Amazon Makes an Oopsie

live-chat-btmA little while back, I got a couple of mystery packages from Amazon. When I opened them, they contained two items I definitely didn’t want: a fake can of Hawaiian Punch with a top that unscrewed to reveal a hidden compartment, and a profanity-filled book called “What the F*@# Should I Make for Dinner?” I hadn’t ordered either item, and neither had anyone in the house. It was at this point that I looked the shipping labels and realized that order had been placed by someone who had lived in the house before us—someone who apparently hadn’t updated her Amazon account recently.

What do you do when you get someone else’s stuff? Well, I contacted Amazon via their online chat feature. The conversation went about like you’d expect:

You are now connected to Elle from
Elle: Hello, my name is Elle. I’ll certainly try to help regarding your concern.
Me: Hi.
Elle: Hello, How are you doing today?
Me: Great. Thanks.
So I got two packages from Amazon that I didn’t order. I think they may have been ordered by a previous tenant.
I have no idea how to contact them, but I’ve got their packages here.
Elle: Great to hear that you are great. I know that you are confused why you receive an item that you did not purchase. Let me look for the best option here. and I know by the end of this Chat you’ll have a smile on your face.

(My emphasis, obviously.)

Let’s be clear here. We all know that customer service people—whether they use a phone or a keyboard (or both)—work from scripts. I’ve set up these chat systems, and I’ve written these scripts. You try to make them sound as natural as possible, especially if the people who will be using them are either non-native speakers or not as well educated as you’d prefer. But if that last comment above came out of a script, it’s just bizarre. I mean, who talks like this? The chat continued:

Me: I’m not confused. I just thought you’d want to know so you can notify the person who ordered this stuff.
Elle: I understand let me look for a better option here David.
May I have the order number? You will see that in the box.
Me: What am I looking for?
I see USPS Tracking #####
There are 4 bar codes plus a 3d scan code.
Elle: May I have the UPS tracking number?
Me: It’s USPS
#### #### #### #### #### #### ##
That’s one
Elle: Thank you David.
Me: #### #### #### #### #### #### ##
That’s the other
Elle: Okay I am trying to check on the tracking number.
Me: K
Elle: Thank you David.
I tried to pull up the order using all the information. Here’s what I can suggest David you can keep the item. and Amazon will take care of everything. don’t worry you’ll not be charge for the item.
Me: Well, I’ll hold onto it. I guess there’s a chance that they’ll contact us looking for the items
Elle: Sure David.

Apparently the rules of engagement at include using the customer’s name as often as humanly possible.

At this point someone came to the door and I had to put down my laptop and have a real, honest-to-goodness face-to-face interaction with an actual person. The conversation at the door probably took about five minutes. And this is what I found when I got back to my keyboard.

Elle: Would there be anything else that I may assist you with today?
Elle: Are we still connected david?
Let me research this a bit further for you. It will just take a few moments.
Let me look into that for you. It will just take a few moments.
Can you hold for a minute or two while I research this for you?
I’m in the process of requesting a refund for you. It can take a few minutes. Rather than keep you on waiting any longer, may I send you an e-mail after the refund has been requested?
Is it okay if I place the chat on hold for a couple of minutes as I process this for you?
Is it okay if I place the chat on hold for a couple of minutes while I check this for you?
I’m sorry to keep you waiting. I’ll just be a moment longer.
I’m sorry for the long wait. I’ll be needing more time to research this further for you.
I’m sorry to keep you waiting. I’ll just be a moment longer.
Thanks for waiting.
Thank you so much for waiting.
I’m sorry part of your order is missing when it arrived. Let me go ahead and check what I can do to help.
I’m sorry you have received a partial refund for your returned order. Let me go ahead and check what I can do to help.
I’m sorry for the problem with your order.
I’m sorry to hear your order arrived (damaged/defective).
Before I look into your order, our system requires us to verify that you’re the account holder. Can you tell me the name on your account, your e-mail address, and your billing address, please?
To take this action, our system requires us verify some additional information on your account. Can you tell me the last 4 digits and expiration date of a credit card listed on your account?
I’m sorry to hear that.
I’m very sorry to hear that.
I’m so sorry that you’re having to deal with this at all.
That’s definitely not what we want our customers to experience. I’m glad you contacted us.
I can hear that you’re frustrated, and I’m so sorry.
That sounds awful, I’m very sorry.
I totally understand why you would feel that way.
I completely understand your frustration/disappointment.
I would feel the same way.
I know exactly what you mean.
I’m sorry about this. This doesn’t happen usually.
If you’d like to give us a call, our phone number is 1-866-216-1072. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I don’t mean to rush you, however the chat has been idle for a few minutes, and I’m wondering if we’re still connected.

I immediately noticed two things. First, while I was AFK, Elle had departed from her previous convention of capitalizing my name. Second, somehow Elle had managed to dump the entire contents of her chat script into our conversation. How does that happen?

I mean seriously … how does that happen? Is there a button somewhere in the chat center in India that says “Click to Totally Embarrass Yourself”? Or maybe “Dump All Chat Responses”? Surely our intrepid chat operator didn’t actually copy and paste the entire script on purpose! Or did she?

Once I had stopped laughing, I picked up the conversation right where Elle had left off:

Me:You just sent me all of your canned responses. 🙂
Elle:I’m so happy that At least I helped you with your concern David have a good one to you.
Me:You too.
Elle:Thank you for contacting Amazon have a good one.
Me:I do have a smile on my face, but probably not the way you meant. 😀
Elle from is online

There you go. This is what happens when you get a glimpse of the chat system behind the curtain.

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