Stupid woman rings 999 about ice cream problem

(76 Posts)
CumberCookie Wed 04-Jun-14 09:54:03

shock www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-27687763

Aside from the fact that it was a bloody sstupid thing to do, AIBU to think the operator should have cut her off sooner and made her fully aware of the problem with doing this? I.e There could have been a potentially life and death situation on the other line that couldn't get through. The operator just lets her ramble on for ages and then is really polite and directs her to customer advice bureau?

VodkaJelly Wed 04-Jun-14 10:03:24

Message deleted by MNHQ for use of disabilist language. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

jacks365 Wed 04-Jun-14 10:06:47

The operator handled the call very well. Incidents like that have been known to turn into genuine 999 calls if it gets out of hand, the operator waits long enough to ascertain that hasn't happened here.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 04-Jun-14 10:07:01

OMG. Someone could be burning to death or have a child who's missing and she ties up the line over sprinkles?

What's wrong with people

I live in a high crime area, in Liverpool.

I have had people die infront of me.

Recently, I had to call 999, for a armed attack on my neighbours house, I rambled at the start.

So I can see why the operator allowed the call to go on for so long.

They also have regular callers who have LD's/MH/Addiction issues.

(Waits for someone else to pick up on Vodkas use of insult)

CumberCookie Wed 04-Jun-14 10:14:13

Yes but then at the end of the rambling story she still doesn't cut her off? Only eventually explaining this is for a life and death situation? I don't understand it.

SmashleyHop Wed 04-Jun-14 10:14:29

This happens all the time- There was a case of a woman calling 911 because her order from Burger King was incorrect and she claimed they wouldn't return her money.

Working in A&E in the states I used to handle ridiculous phone calls from people. "Is our blood really blue?" "Is my pancreas on my right or left side- settle this argument with my husband." "Can flashing lights really cause seizures?" Seriously people? This is what Google is for. The best part was how indignant they got when you suggested they were clogging up an emergency line.

EduCated Wed 04-Jun-14 10:15:40

I can see why they let it go on, as Birds said a lot of people will ramble! she might have been about to burst into 'and now he's locked me in the shop/punched me/is threatening me', though admittedly unlikely over ice cream sprinkles grin

I'd also wonder at the likelihood of some additional needs, be it LDs or MH related.

EduCated Wed 04-Jun-14 10:16:59

Ah, missed the recording was on there, so haven't listened to it.

Ioethe Wed 04-Jun-14 10:17:17

I've worked on 999 - although I haven't listened to this call (no speakers!), I'm familiar with the kind of situation.

Part of the training is that you don't cut people off or lecture them on what idiots they're being (however tempting it may be), simply because that's likely to get them calling back and taking up more valuable time. Killing them with kindness is usually the quickest way to get rid of them.

It is massively annoying, though - I used to find this kind of call more upsetting than the actual emergency ones because I used to imagine what awful calls weren't getting through.

HayDayQueen Wed 04-Jun-14 10:18:32

I think the operators can tell if there are lots of calls waiting, can't they? So perhaps it was a quiet period, where there are more operators than calls?

ReallyTired Wed 04-Jun-14 10:19:19

Recently I was a victim of a crime because I made the mistake of dialing 101 instead of 999. I am still suffering the aftermath. The police told me that they prefer someone to make the mistake of dialing 999 when they should have phoned 101.

I feel that 999 and 101 operators need a way of triaging calls and transfering the person to the right service. The Ice cream sprinkles lady should have called the 101 number, but I feel its forgivable that she got it wrong.

CumberCookie Wed 04-Jun-14 10:20:31

Thanks Ioethe for clarifying, that hadn't occurred to me.

thanks for doing such a stressful job thanks

Ioethe Wed 04-Jun-14 10:20:41

I once had someone whose neighbour was feeding their cat.

They were repoting it because they thought the neighbour was going to steal the cat.

It was not helped by the fact that the cat was called Mr Winkie.

OwlCapone Wed 04-Jun-14 10:22:08

The Ice cream sprinkles lady should have called the 101 number, but I feel its forgivable that she got it wrong.

I don't think it is at all forgivable for a grown adult to call 999 because she hasn't got enough sprinkles on her ice cream.

ComposHat Wed 04-Jun-14 10:24:27

The Ice cream sprinkles lady should have called the 101 number, but I feel its forgivable that she got it wrong.

And how exactly is unevenly distributed sprinkles on an ice cream a matter that requires Police (or indeed anyone's) attention?

Redcliff Wed 04-Jun-14 10:26:24

Mr Winkle - now that is funny. I thought the operator handled it well. What did the women think was going to happen - they would send a police car out and the ice cream dude would get arrested?

enormouse Wed 04-Jun-14 10:34:28

My cousin used to work as a 999 operator and she hated certain shifts like Friday nights as the number of genuine emergencies were higher but so were the number of drunk idiots. I remember her talking about a man who rang up because he had shampoo in his eyes and a woman with an ingrown toenail.

All she could do was politely direct them to the non emergency line or the nhs direct website.

JerseySpud Wed 04-Jun-14 10:45:51

Cretin hmm

Not exactly a nice way to phrase something even if you are trying to be insulting.

I saw a list a few weeks ago on the types of calls that are received. I was shocked by some of them.

PleaseJustShootMeNow Wed 04-Jun-14 11:02:34

So this is why it took me 5 minutes to get through when calling for an ambulance when I was in labour. hmm

limitedperiodonly Wed 04-Jun-14 12:26:33

I think the operator handled it really well too. It took a minute to get her off the line. As pp have said, the strangest stories could turn out to be really serious.

Ioethe Wed 04-Jun-14 12:35:48

I had a woman who rambled on for ages about her husband having a slight cold, and who was going to look after him? It eventually emerged that she had crushing chest pains radiating out to the arm at half hourly intervals and was hoping we could send someone out to treat her quickly so she could get his dinner when they subsided again.

I broke my leg very badly a few years ago whilst on my own in the house with a small baby. After making a frankly superhuman effort to get to a phone and call 999 I found it was engaged angrysad. I have no idea whether the line was tied up with genuine calls or not, but when I did get through I was asked by the operator whether I was sure I'd broken my leg, and shouted 'Yes!'. I was terrified they didn't believe me and weren't going to send an ambulance and became a sobbing mess. I still wonder how many dodgy calls they had had that morning for the line to be engaged and for the operator to not believe me.

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