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A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 8

, , , , , | Working | October 19, 2020

I work at a security firm and we mail out notices about our upcoming symposium inviting vendors and customers from all over. These are really cool, interesting speakers: folks demonstrating their new inventions. We even had Henry Lee, the forensic scientist, as a guest speaker one year. Pretty cool. Participants have to pay, of course, but it’s well worth it to drum up business, see cool things, etc.

We use a mailing list to print out the letters and address the envelopes. As I’m going over the list, I see that several of these are outdated and/or completely just wrong. We have about 500 of these, so I continue reading the list. Finally, I get upwards of fifty that are wrong. I speak to our receptionist, who is… well, quite entitled, a spoiled brat, and never wrong.

Me: “Hey, [Receptionist], where is the database for these?”

Receptionist: “Why?”

Me: “Well, a lot of these names are wrong, addresses are wrong, or they no longer exist. I want to correct them so that it’s right this time, as well as making sure it will be updated for next year.”

Receptionist: “No, now is not the time to be updating the database. We need to stuff and send out the envelopes.”

She is LITERALLY refusing to tell me where the database is.

Me: “What do you mean ‘now is not the time to update the database’? Now is the perfect time to update the database, because these names and addresses are incorrect. Like this guy, he hasn’t worked there for months, and this company, they moved like years ago!”

Receptionist: “No, now is not the time…”

She literally repeats herself.

Me: “So, let me get this straight. We know that the database is old and outdated. We know there are several names and addresses that are incorrect… but you want me to print them out anyway, and stuff envelopes and mail them with incorrect names and addresses on them… knowing they will simply come back to us?”

Receptionist: “Yes.”

Me: “…”

We have plenty of time to correct the database and stuff and send the envelopes, so I’m not sure what the rush is. I could see if it was in a few days, but it isn’t for months.

But, since she is refusing to give me access to the database, I simply print out the invitations with the incorrect names and/or addresses and pass them out. We spend the afternoon stuffing, sealing, and affixing the labels onto the envelopes. We then mail out all 500 of them.

As part of my duties, I walk to the post office to get the mail. I enjoy it; I got out of the office, and it’s a nice walk down. So, as you have probably guessed, over the next several days we get TONS of these invitations stamped, “Return to sender, incorrect address,” and I give them to the receptionist. This goes on for DAYS: twenty here, fifty here, another ten…

By the end, we receive over 80% of the mailings returned to us. The receptionist’s eyes widen each and every day, accompanied with a quizzical look on her face. She finally gets mad at me — as it’s my fault, right? Don’t shoot the messenger! — and she finally explodes.

Receptionist: “Why are we getting so many of these bounced back?!”

Me: “Because I told your dumb a** that all of the names and addresses were wrong but you wouldn’t let me correct it, and you told us all to stuff the envelopes, even though the information was wrong!”

She looks at me with anger and even more confusion, though she never denies that I warned her.

The day of the symposium is a joke. It is like when a loser holds a birthday party and no one shows up. I mean, it is ridiculous the small number of folks who attend. We lose an incredible amount of money that day.

Boss: “What the heck happened?! Why did hardly anybody show?!”

Me: “Talk to [Receptionist]. She thought it was a good idea at the time.”  

And I simply walked away. No one ever spoke a word about it, and for some reason, the receptionist was still kept. To this day, I wonder if she blackmailed someone or what because she constantly screwed up like that and was never fired or written up.

I quit the company shortly thereafter, but I imagine the future events, since the receptionist never updated the database, were equally underwhelming in attendance.

A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 7
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 6
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 5
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 4
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 3

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