OK, so I'm at work dealing with the effect of Hurricane Katrina, monitoring the alarms caused by the storm and working to coordinate a response by field technicians (which, basically, consisted of "OK, so once the storm blows through and the government says you can walk outside, you need to go here, here and here to make sure we've got buildings and equipment left"). Around about 4AM, the phone at my desk rings:
ME: "Thank you for calling TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANY, this is dangerousfred in the GROUP THAT DOES NOT WORK WITH CUSTOMER CIRCUITS, how can I help you?"
IDIOT MOUTH-BREATHER (IMB): "Yeah - I called to find out why my circuit going to New Orleans isn't working? The guy at the main number wouldn't tell me, and said you could help me."
ME: "Now, understand, sir, that I do not work in the Customer Circuit Group. My group monitors the status of site alarms across the country. Looking at my records, though, it seems a hurricane just went through there a little while ago."
IMB: "What's that got to do with it?"
ME: "Now, understand that I don't have access to the specific information regrding your circuit, but I can tell you that our site in New Orleans is currently without direct power. It's running on batteries. Other companies in the same building are either on betteries or generator power. It's a good guess that-"
IMB: "Look, I need that circuit back up! What are you going to do to repair it?"
ME: "Sir, as I've said before, I do not work with customer circuit issues. I cannot repair it. In point of fact, we don't have any technicians in the immediate vicinity of New Orleans, as there was, you know, a HURRICANE that whipped through there and the city was evacuated."
IMB: "Well what do I have to do to get someone there to fix it?"
ME: "Might I suggest you patiently wait until the city allows people back into the city and the basic services such as electricity and waste water are restored, not to mention all the water that came through the broken levees that's currently filling the streets gets pumped back out?"
IMB: "Look, you've got to get this fixed NOW! My business depends on being able to communicate with New Orleans!"
ME: "Sir, have you been watching the news lately?"
IMB: ::sighs:: "Yes."
ME: "So you're aware that (a) New Orleans was directly in the path of a category 5 hurricane, (b) the Mayor of New Orleans ordered the city evacuated, (c) the city has been flooded through at least one, probably several breaks in the levees that keep the Mississippi River out of the city and (d) there is no electricity in New Orleans right now?"
IMB: ::sighs again, like HE'S the one dealing with a low-grade moron:: "Yes."
ME: "So you understand, then, that our technicians followed the orders of the city government and evacuated the city with their families to get them to a safe area so they wouldn't die when the hurricane hit? And that they can't get back in to New Orleans until City and FEMA officials tell them it's OK? And that even then, it'll be a while before full power can be restored?"
ME: "Sir? Are you there?"
IMB: "Well, my company has to be able to communicate with people in New Orleans."
ME: "Which people in New Orleans, pray tell?"
ME: "Well, since about 1.2 million of the inhabitants of the New Orleans metropolitan area have fled to points North, East and West to escape the hurricane, and the ones that are left there are gathered in schools, hospitals and the Superdome, I don't think there'll be anyone in the office to answer your calls for the next little bit."
IMB: "Fuck you!"
ME: "I'm sorry, sir, but that's not included in my job description. While I'm happy to provide what assistance I can, my contractural and ethical obligations to not extend that far."
IMB: "I'm going to report you to your manager!"
ME: "Thank you for that, sir! You'll be happy to know that I had this call recorded in the event that you wished to register a complaint. If you'd be so kind as to give me your name and a callback number, I'll bring this to my manager's attention the moment he walks in the door in the morning."
IMB: ::muttered:: "Fucking asshole."
ME: "I'm glad I could be of assistance, sir! You have a good day now, y'hear?"
IMB: ::hangs up::
(The really scary thing is that this guy was more polite than the people who called after 9/11 wanting to know why they couldn't get anything from the circuits going into the World Trade Center.)