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WIBU to ask help desk person to do this?

(38 Posts)
BasinHaircut Fri 03-Jun-16 15:35:55

I suffer from misophonia. Whether we think that's a real thing or not, the fact is that I can not bear certain noises.

Just had to call a help desk and the person on the line clearly had a rotten cold. As a result he was breathing through his mouth quite heavily, clearly had the microphone right up to his mouth and obviously I had the ear piece right up to my ear.

The call went on for a bit and I could feel myself losing control so I asked him to move the microphone away from his mouth as I could hear him breathing really loudly, sniffing constantly and coughing.

My friend thought this was hilarious and couldn't believe I had the guts to do that as it 'was quite rude'.

Personally (and I know my response is not totally level headed because of my issues with noise) I think that even though it's not the guy's fault that he has a cold, and may not be in a position where he can take a day off or not be on the phone for a day etc, I shouldn't have to deal with that shit in my ear and it's not really good customer service to be heavy breathing, sniffing and coughing down a mouthpiece?

myownprivateidaho Fri 03-Jun-16 15:39:16

Personally I think it would have been better to call back and get a different person. Or you should have been very nice and apologetic when you asked. He did nothing wrong. It's def not the case that you "shouldn't have to deal with this shit".

BasinHaircut Fri 03-Jun-16 15:40:27

I was polite and I apologised for asking and explained why.

It's a v small help desk and most likely would have been the only person on this afternoon.

Junosmum Fri 03-Jun-16 15:41:54


Toxicity Fri 03-Jun-16 15:42:27

Have you ever thought of getting help for your issues?

Onlyicanclean10 Fri 03-Jun-16 15:42:37

My sympathy is with the help desk really op. Working with a heavy cold is vile and then getting grief from customers and not able to tell you to fuck off must have been hard.

Your condition sounds horrible but it's yours to deal with really. I think yabu.

ilovesooty Fri 03-Jun-16 15:45:02

Imagine the grief the poor employee will get if the call has been monitored and recorded

araiba Fri 03-Jun-16 15:46:29

so did helpdesk stop breathing ?

ScarletOverkill Fri 03-Jun-16 15:49:44

If your friend was with you could they not have taken over the call?

BasinHaircut Fri 03-Jun-16 15:49:53

No he just moved he mouthpiece and we carried on.

Like I say I did explain why and apologise for asking, and he just said yeah sure.

I'm not looking for sympathy here just wanted to know if it was rude to ask. I'm genuinely shocked that the consensus seems to be that I shouldn't have! blush

blue2014 Fri 03-Jun-16 15:52:02

I don't have this difficulty but really don't see what the big deal is asking someone to not make snotty mouth noises down the mouthpiece - it was easily resolved and if someone asked me I wouldn't be offended at all. This extreme politeness baffles me sometimes confused

bustraintram Fri 03-Jun-16 15:53:35

OP, YWNBU to do what you did, but helpdesk person was doing nothing wrong by breathing in the way he was. As long as you asked him politely you were fine to ask IMO - I work in an inbound call centre and if people ask me to speak loud/slow etc I'm more than happy to. I wouldn't worry about the call being recorded - hardly any calls are listened too, and if it is listened too, he'll probably get extra points for "assessing and responding to the individual needs of the caller" or whatever his particular management call it...

BasinHaircut Fri 03-Jun-16 15:55:05

I don't understand why he would get grief if it was recorded??

No, my friend couldn't take the call for me as it was work related.

Arkwright Fri 03-Jun-16 16:03:44

Yes I think you were rude. The help desk person was only doing their job. You could have held the phone away from your ear slightly. I think I have misophonia in certain situations. I hate going to the cinema, instead of concentrating on the film I can hear every rustle of sweets, slurping of drinks, crunch of popcorn, talking. You can't control what other people do.

nooka Fri 03-Jun-16 16:06:44

The helpdesk person had two alternatives really. Come to work and breathe a bit noisily down the phone while he helped people. Or stay at home knowing that then no one would get any help (as you said it was a small helpdesk).

Not unreasonable to ask nicely for him to reposition the microphone. Or you could have moved your phone further from your ear of course. Unreasonable to get so irate about it.

ExtraHotLatteToGo Fri 03-Jun-16 16:08:49

Of course YWNBU. Someone was doing something that was causing you distress, it was easily remedied by them when they were made aware of the problem. Job done. It's not like you asked him to cross hot coals barefoot because you fancied a good laugh.

Stormtreader Fri 03-Jun-16 16:09:41

Seems perfectly fine to me - you didn't swear and shout at him, you just asked if he could do something that would give you a better experience, and he did. If anything, its a positive thing if anyone does review the call surely, that he tried to give the best customer service possible?

I don't see that its any different from asking someone to speak slower or louder if you're having trouble understanding them.

GirlOverboard Fri 03-Jun-16 16:09:54

I think I understand the misophonia thing. But I don't get why you can't just take a deep breath and remain outwardly calm for a few minutes? You would have been able to remove yourself from that situation very soon. It kind of feels to me like you're using your condition to excuse being rude to people. But then I don't have misophonia, so maybe I just don't understand.

BasinHaircut Fri 03-Jun-16 16:10:05

I'm not irate confused

Moving the phone wouldn't have helped. Once I've heard a noise that bothers me I can literally hear it through a wall until I know it has stopped.

JessieMcJessie Fri 03-Jun-16 16:10:38

I doubt very much that he had any idea what he sounded like from the other end of the line.

I do hope you began your request with "oh poor you, you sound like you've got a nasty cold. Hope it gets better soon. Can I just ask you a favour though please.....I'm sure you don't realise but I think your microphone is very sensitive and it's picking up your breathing very loudly...etc etc"

If you just came across like he probably knew he was annoying you with his breathing but was doing nothing about it then that would have been rude.

Furiosa Fri 03-Jun-16 16:19:03

I get your issues with certain noises I really do. I think I have misophonia too.

However you could have been a bit more tactful about it. Maybe by asking him to move his mouth piece away from his mouth so you could hear him better? Or some other excuse to reduce the uncomfortable noise without embarrassing him?

The thing with misophonia (as you will know) is that it doesn't mean you just can't stand a certain noise but rather that the noise elicits a murderous rage in the sufferer. I get it too but you can't take it out on others. I've managed to control my rage through practice and "forced empathy" with the person making the noise.

What are your coping techniques?

pearlylum Fri 03-Jun-16 16:20:55

OP how do you manage if your children ( if you have any) or partner has a cold?

BasinHaircut Fri 03-Jun-16 16:32:48

jessie yes that's what I was going for, he didn't seem put out so I think it was fairly well received.

I did the 'oh poor you, you sound awful' thing and we had a little back and forth about a restful weekend etc.

My coping techniques are basically to remove myself from situations I am not coping with. This wasn't an option here.

Luckily my partner doesn't get colds (seriously) and DS doesn't annoy me yet as he is only little but I'm not sure how I'll cope.

At work I have to wear earphones at lunchtime and for most of the winter/hay fever season!

PPie10 Fri 03-Jun-16 16:36:44

Yes you were rude and should have called back. No need to inflict your issues into others when you can do something about it.

LastInTheQueue Fri 03-Jun-16 16:44:10

I don't think YWBU in the least, and I've worked in helpdesks as a call handler, trainer and manager.
The issue was quickly resolved - he clearly had his mic far too close to him mouth, so asking him to move it away a bit is perfectly fine.
Anyone on a helpdesk using those stupid headsets knows that having the mic too close to your mouth means amplifies every sound, so he would have been aware of it. Also, anyone who is unable to carry out a conversation without constantly sniffing and coughing should not be working on the phone.

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