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The Mysterious Call Center Identity Thief

And so it was that yesterday, my postponed get-together with my older sister finally pushed through in Alabang. Most of the talk was family, as I only meet up with her only once in a while. But my sister also works in a call centre; and whenever I meet up with her, I invariably end up asking her about...

Well, I pray the day never comes when I actually come face to face with one, but I do have a life-long fascination with things that go bump in the night. And call centres, up all night as they tend to be and located as they are mostly in large halls, seem to play host to a lot of these...

Regular readers might have browsed through two previous stories in this site that I picked up from my sister about these. But the one that she told me yesterday was nothing if not weird to a different level. This one does not just go bump in the night.

But let me not spoil it for you by starting from the top.

I would not read too much into the incident, I told my sister. Indeed, there was every possibility that Doris merely confused someone else with Tita. “Maybe it was just a kalokalike?” I made light of my sister’s story.
Martha and Janis (not their real names) are agents at the call centre where my sister works. The two are known in the centre as something of quiet room buddies.

“And a quiet room will be?” I prompted my sister. Like many I know who work in call centres, she also rather tends to assume that everyone else is familiar with the jargon.

“It’s a room where agents can retire to get some shut-eye while on shift,” she patiently explained. A sleeping room, in other words.

There was seemingly nothing out of the ordinary this one night as the buddies went to the quiet room as they always do during breaks. Each found a comfortable spot to lay down and were in dreamland in no time at all.

Before long, Martha was awakened by an arm rocking her this way and that. “Wake up! Wake up!” Martha turned and groggily saw that it was Janis.

She took a quick look at her watch, saw that there was still a good way to go before she was due back at the station and decided to stay on the couch. She watched as Janis left the room.

After a few moments, the door opened and Janis walked in. “Oh good,” she said cheerfully! “You’re awake! I passed by to wake you up.”

“Why will you do that?” Martha asked her. “You already woke me up a while ago!”

“Huh?” Janis replied. “What are you talking about? I just came back from having a bite at the snack bar in front of the building.”

It turns out that Janis never even went to the room with Martha at all but instead joined other agents for a snack during the company break time.

Of course, there was every possibility that Martha could have dreamed everything up. But the two are convinced that a resident ghost played a prank by taking on Janis’ appearance. Especially since there was this other incident...

Doris (not her real name) is one of the call centre’s enteprising agents and tries to augment her income by selling pancit to other agents. This night was no different from others. She went from booth to booth and the agents who cared bought pancit to have as snacks during break time.

After a while, she retraced her steps to collect payment from agents who bought from her. Everything was quite routine until it was time to collect from Tita (not her real name). The latter refused to pay.

“But I did not get pancit from you,” Tita told Doris incredulously. Caught off-guard, and suddenly doubting that she did, Doris did not push. However, she was fairly certain that Tita had received one box of pancit from her.

Quite unsure what to do, Doris approached my sister. “Mommy,” she began. Everyone in the centre calls my sister Mommy. “Did you not see me hand a box of pancit to Tita?”

“No,” my sister replied. “Sorry to disappoint you. Tita was in a standing conference with me and a group of other agents and she had folders in her arms.”

“Then who did I hand the box of pancit to?” cried the despondent Doris.

“Mumô!” my sister teased her. But that was not said completely in jest as indeed, the call centre has had more than its fair share of things that go bump in the night.

I would not read too much into the incident, I told my sister. Indeed, there was every possibility that Doris merely confused someone else with Tita. “Maybe it was just a kalokalike?” I made light of my sister’s story.

But maybe not... An former agent who was brutally gunned down continues to be seen periodically walking the aisles of the centre. Then there are people who get into elevators with other agents but cannot be seen by CCTV. Or packets of biscuit that levitate into the air...

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