Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The 11 O'Clock Phone Call From Hell

My office phone rings. It doesn't ring often, but when it does it's usually a wrong number, as people often misdial a number for the Peninsula Technicon and end up with me instead, which I'm sure is a disappointment, although I've had a few lovely chats.

I pick up the phone.

Me: "Hello, Mandy speaking."
Woman, who has the voice of a magazine editor or someone else very important: "Hello, can I speak to [name withheld], please?"
Me: "I'm sorry, you've got the wrong number."
Woman (in a highly-taken-aback manner): "Well, could you redirect the call to him, please?"
Me: "No, I'm saying you have the wrong number - I don't know anyone by that name here."
Woman (annoyed): "What magazine do you work for?"
Me: "[name of my magazine]"
Woman: "Well, [name withheld] works for [another magazine published by the company], so can you put me through to them." (Said in the tone of a demand, not a request.)
Me: ", can you hang on for a minute, please?"

I cover the mouthpiece of the phone and look frantically at a colleague, who pulls up the internal list we have that details contact information for pretty much everyone in the organisation (thousands of people).

Me (quietly, to colleague, but rather freaked out): "Is [the other magazine] in Cape Town, or Johannesburg?"
Colleague: "It's in Cape Town. Let me look...oh...there are no phone numbers...."
Me (still speaking quietly, slight quiver of fear in my voice): "Are they not listed?"
Colleague: "Yes, they are, there just aren't any phone numbers."
Me: "That's what I meant - they're in there, just without phone numbers?"
Colleague: "Yes."
Me (panicking): "Ok, thanks."
I return to the phone, apologise, and explain that we don't have the numbers...and realise that the phone is dead. She has hung up on me.

How f***ing rude can you be? I presume she phoned from outside the building and was incorrectly directed to my number. I think she assumed that I was a receptionist (I am not) and should have been more on the ball (and have everyone's phone number, ever), but even if I was a receptionist, you just don't speak to people in this manner. I'm sorry. I don't care how bad your day has been, you just don't treat complete strangers with such contempt.



Blogger kyknoord said...

Next time, you can redirect her to me. I put up with this sort of crap all the time:
"Hello, is that Old Mutual?"
"No, it isn't. You have the wrong number"
"Are you sure?"
"Quite sure"
[click. five second delay. phone rings again]
[two seconds of resentful silence. click]

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Noted, although that would require me to redirect correctly. I have about a 50% success rate.

(Phones are not my thing. That's why I have a blog.)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger kyknoord said...

Hey, nobody's perfect. Even the Magic 8-Ball only has a 50% success rate.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 1:52:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Isn't it more like a 12% success rate? I mean, if we're going to get all mathematical about it we may as well be slightly less wrong.

...I know. I don't know what I'm talking about either...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 1:58:00 PM  
Blogger Francois Maree said...

Name witheld eh? Just scretly pass it on and the troublemaker will, "apologise" profusely.

My suggestion would be to redirect her to the main switcboard, if there is none to someone's receptionist. If the call comes back just answer "Cape Town Mortuary!".

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 3:52:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Name withheld because it wasn't that person's fault (directly, although I'm thinking this person was late with work, or something equally naughty, and the caller was pissed off at that).

It would have taken me just as long to redirect to the main switchboard (which is probably what/who caused the redirection (?) problem in the first place) than it did to try to find the switchboard number of the magazine she was looking for, as I don't know either number.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 4:29:00 PM  
Blogger kyknoord said...

You'll have to explain that to me sometime. I assumed that it would be 50%, since the M8B's responses can all be boiled down to various incarnations of "yes" and "no"

Thursday, August 31, 2006 8:30:00 AM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Well, technically, (trust you to be technical!) but one could choose to interpret the "yes" and "no" answers that aren't exactly yes and no in other ways.

Or something. I don't know! Ask me about the weather.

Thursday, August 31, 2006 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Francois Maree said...

So how's the weather?

Monday, September 04, 2006 8:53:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

It was supposed to be 27 degrees today but it's cloudy and not 27 degrees.

(As you can imagine, I'm disappointed.)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006 9:56:00 AM  
Blogger Katt said...

Maybe Chitty will have a suggestion or two in this regard. He certainly knows how to deal with phones of all sorts and you could probably have some fun in the process.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006 4:34:00 PM  

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