News : City of Sydney Council Call Centre's Strangest Requests
Jan 6, 2015 -- Forgotten how to knot your tie correctly before a special occasion? Need a second opinion on whether it matches your shirt?
Most of us would head straight to the internet or ask an obliging friend, but at least one Sydney resident's first instinct was to pick up the phone and dial the City of Sydney Council.
More used to dealing with questions about pests, parking, planning and parks, staff at the City of Sydney's 24/7 customer service hotline are kept on their toes every year by a range of unusual and sometimes outright bizarre requests.
One rather optimistic caller wanted permission to hover over Hyde Park in a helicopter, raining lollies on the ground below. Unsurprisingly, that request was turned down.
Another asked City of Sydney staff if they could book a flight for him.
The City of Sydney call centre took 268,000 calls from July 2013 to June 2014, nearly half of which were about waste services.
But some residents seemed determined to put council operators on the spot, like the home renovator who wanted to know the exact colour of the Glebe Town Hall. Undeterred, staff contacted a heritage specialist who was able to identify the specific shade of paint.
In fact, more than 80 per cent of inquiries were resolved successfully by council staff, including one caller's request for the Italian translation of the fertiliser "blood and bone", solved with Google Translate.
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Animal issues rank highly too – the usual calls from concerned owners of lost pets, there was also a resident so worried about being stared at by pigeons nesting in a neighbouring rooftop that they contacted the council.
One tourist, bamboozled by Sydney signage, called to ask what the "pictures of feet" on pedestrian crossing signs meant. And perhaps the trickiest caller to assist was the Eastern European man who called the council hotline hoping they could help him find a wife.
Whereas that particular customer may have hung up disappointed, the man who needed help tying his tie was duly instructed and no doubt left home looking his best thanks to council's call centre staff.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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