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Opinion: Some idiot called 911 because a barista mixed up their order. Please stop

E-Comm issues its annual list of top nuisance calls
barista - Getty Images
Baristas at coffee shops are among the many minimum-wage earners in B.C. | Getty Images

In the news business, we have something we call “evergreen content” – those stories that crop up at the same time each year.

Like BC Assessment numbers.

Another one at this time of year is E-Comm’s annual list of “nuisance calls” make to B.C.’s 911 call takers.

The company received more than 1.9 million 911 calls in 2021, with many of the busiest days for 911 in E-Comm’s existence having occurred last year what with all of the flooding, wildfires and, of course, the heat dome.

Sadly, some of these resources are wasted answering calls from clueless idiots who don’t seem to know what 911 is for.

Here is the top-10 list:

  1. The barista mixed up their coffee order
  2. A pedestrian was splashed on the sidewalk
  3. Requesting a COVID test
  4. Enquiring about becoming a 911 call taker
  5. Wanting to know where they could vote during the federal election
  6. Looking for weather updates
  7. Asking for directions
  8. Wondering why the bus wasn’t coming
  9. Enquiring about COVID restrictions
  10. Reporting a messy roommate

You just can’t make this crap up.

“At a time when demand for emergency services is higher than it ever has been, it is extremely concerning that people continue to misuse 9-1-1 lines,” said Jasmine Bradley, E-Comm’s executive director of communications, in a statement. “911 is the first point of contact for someone experiencing a life or death emergency, it is critical these lines are free from non-urgent situations so our call takers can get people the help they need, as quickly as possible.”

“Despite ongoing efforts to draw the public’s attention to the appropriate resources to contact for consumer complaints, general information, directions or to check the time, many of the calls found on the 2021 list are repeat offenders,” said a news release.

You might look at this list and laugh, but the repercussions are serious so think before you dial.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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