Hi, I'm Timmy McHill and drugs and AA started me on the road to where I am today in the world of feline telephone fraud. I’m not sure which one, maybe both. My career in Customer Service began right after I took a quick detour from university at age 19.
My educational readjustment happened because the University Police didn't understand the economic theory of harm reduction. Since the nursing students I was attending class with had an inflexible demand for party drugs, they would be dealing with real drug dealers downtown, which was harmful, if I wasn’t in the middle balancing supply and demand. Much better right? Getting along with all types of people myself kept those students safe, and kept me away from working at a McDonald's, or probably someplace nicer like a Chipotle or Ruby Tuesday.
After throwing the textbook at me, the University Police said they would drop the charges if I agreed to attend 12 months of 12-step meetings, take regular drug tests, and most importantly, not sell drugs on-campus. They didn’t mention not selling drugs off-campus so I agreed.
Attending sobriety meetings for a few weeks, I started to feel it wasn’t a good idea to sell drugs off-campus either. The message of “Let’s get high on life” began to sink in. But to get high on life, I needed to gain elevation by accumulating some dollar bills. The 12 steppers only gave me free coffee. Money was no longer flying in from freshman year nursing students.
My AA sponsor, a really great guy who could be a bit inflexible, said I needed to start over in the real world and work my way up from the bottom. I began to check job ads. I was slightly lacking in the qualifications that most companies were looking for, until I saw:
‘Are you good at talking to people? Can you handle a high stress job environment? -Regency Estates’
I could answer yes to both questions. On their website, I filled in my details, describing my last occupation as ‘Lifestyle Enhancement Direct Sales’.
I met with a Mrs Anderson at their 2nd floor walk up office. She didn’t seem to mind that I was only 19, said I was a smooth talker, and the next day offered me a job.
The company, which was to be my introduction to Customer Service, was a professional Airbnb host. On paper, I was a Customer Service Officer, but my real job was to keep reviews high on the website.
Mrs Anderson said I needed to learn on the job so I sat in front of the telephone and waited for the first call to come in.
An angry voice shouted, “Thank god, I finally got through to somebody.”
“Regency Estate, how can I help?” I replied.
“My neighbor is making noise, banging over and over. I AM a paying customer, so you need to make it stop.”
This would be easy, so I said, “I’m coming over now,” and got moving, eager to fix the noise problem. Having a first day success would help guarantee Mrs Anderson kept me on past the probation period.
At the apartment, I heard a banging noise just like he told me. I rang the offending neighbor’s doorbell.
A man with huge arms opened the door and asked me, “Who are you?”
Undeterred by our size difference, I said, “I’m with Regency Estate, we own the apartment next door. We heard a noise coming from your apartment?”
“Oh that? Kneading. I make bread on Sundays.”
“Can you stop, or at least lower the volume?”
“No,” he said. His huge hands were covered in flour, “is there anything else?”
Then he shut the door before I could say anything.
20 minutes later, I saw a notification on Airbnb:
‘The host’s intern came over and just made things worse. I recommend everyone to avoid this host's properties.”
Mrs Anderson called me to her office, said one complaint was nothing to worry about. She gave me a few customer service pointers, then said she’d terminate me if I didn’t follow them.
I waited for the next call.
“The tap is leaking, it's been dripping all night.”
“That is terrible to hear. I can assure you we have never had that happen before at the property,” I said, “our maintenance expert will be available this Thursday. Let us know then if you’re still having the problem?”
He didn’t have much to say back to this and said goodbye.
I watched anxiously but didn’t see any notification appear. Of course, Regency Estate didn't have a maintenance expert.
The days and weeks flew past…
“My air conditioner is too cold.”
“The apartment smells.”
“There’s mold in the bathroom.”
“The sofa has stains.”
Bait-and-switch, delay, distract, free gift packages, at most transferring the tenant to a different property with a new set of issues, but making them feel heard and valued so they didn't leave a complaint.
3 years later, the Airbnb host job blew up when I told a tenant to ignore a minor gas leak until our maintenance expert was available. The Fire Department said someone needed to be responsible for the unfortunate conflagration. Mrs Anderson said that someone was me. I began to look for new job opportunities.
A job listing said, “Are you good at talking to people? Can you handle a high stress job environment? Do you want to be part of the FUTURE?”
“I want to be part of the future!” I said to myself and filled in my particulars, describing my previous jobs as “Real Estate Management” and “Lifestyle Enhancement Direct Sales”.
After a Zoom interview, I met the hiring manager on the 17th floor of a downtown office. She had a more university educated vibe than the people who worked at the Airbnb office. Fortunately, she didn’t mind that I was 22 years old. She smirked as she read ‘Lifestyle Enhancement Sales’ but didn’t ask any questions about it
She pointed toward the chair, “Can you sell me that chair?”
“Sell you that chair? Sure.”
I sold her her own chair through unequal parts hard logic, subtle persuasion and overt flirtation, and passed the test.
She smiled and said, “You're hired! Come back 9 am tomorrow for training.”
“Can I ask, what does the company sell?”
“We provide a service for cat owners to clone their deceased pets.”
“Yes! An amazing new breakthrough technology.”
The next day, I arrived at their office and after spending all morning at a frankly, slightly dull orientation meeting and learning the Your Cat™️ lingo, I started picking up calls.
“Your Cat Customer Service, how can I help you?”
“Pepperidge Farm is chewing our sofa. Oreo never did that.”
I read from the script, “I’m so happy you called us with your concern. Pepperidge Farm’s and Oreo’s DNA is identical, but they have had a different life journey,” these customers paid more so we spent more time with them, “You are also now a more experienced cat owner. I’m sending you information on preventing chewing in your clone now.”
It wasn’t so different from my last job.
On the next call, the customer worried, “We are starting to see stripes on Gizmo. Whiskers didn’t have stripes.”
I checked her file, and told her: “Gizmo was born in winter, his life parent Whiskers was a summer cat. This is a normal development we see in most of our clones. Thank you for your call.”
After spending a few weeks making customers happy with their pets at twice the success ratio of my other colleagues, Your Cat shifted me to Customer Procurement. I would now be making commission on each $25,000 sale.
I got the picture of what was going on quick. My first assignment of the day was waiting on Line 1:
“This is Jake Johnson, I’d like to know why you are asking for 5 more pictures of my cat? He’s dead. Where am I supposed to get those from?”
Jake was angry. He was probably getting pressure from his wife.
I said, “Because of Dusty’s pedigree, our CEO is interested in her as an example of our life rejuvenation technology, and possibly using her in future marketing materials. That is if you consent, of course.”
I felt Jake thinking on his side of the call whether this would please his wife or not. After he decided, he thanked me, said he’d find some more pictures from his social media history and hung up.
In truth, our request for more pictures was sent because the Cat Procurement Department said his photo was too fuzzy, and needed to get a clearer look at Dusty to find a match from our shelter kitten inventory. We didn't want to embarrass ourselves.
You see, cats in the wild match on 99.87% of their DNA. With a good pick at the Humane Society, we could get that above 99.9%. The founder let us know he had a legal opinion this was high enough to get us over the legal limit for using the word ‘identical’ in our clone marketing material.
99.9% is identical, isn’t it? If you ate a cookie that was 99.9% the same as the last one, you would say it's an identical cookie.
Before you call selling shelter cats as clones immoral, consider this, the cat owners are happy, in fact overjoyed, to have a clone of their original cat. The company pockets 25 grand an order. I get a commission. I say it's a win-win-win all around.
I know, some day a team of journalists will send us a photo of a Himalayan and the DNA of a Siamese, and if their ‘expose’ gets enough attention, Your Cat™️’s good run will be finished. Those selfish journalists care more about selling subscriptions than about disappointing thousands of cat owners.
But when that happens, I will move on to my next Customer Service job, hopefully one where I will be able to assist you with what you are looking for.