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His Inquiry Went Direct To His Issue

, , , , | Right | January 5, 2022

My first foray into the telecommunication business is via directory inquiries, i.e. the number you call if you want to find out someone’s phone number. In Sweden, this service used to be provided by the government but was eventually sold out, so a number of private companies took over and charged a lot more.

The company I work for has inherited the number the government-provided service used to have, and as a result, we have a lot of customers who call in just to have someone to chat with, not knowing that the call is a lot more expensive than it used to be. Usually, when I get a customer like this, I inform them of the cost of the call and let them decide if they want to continue the conversation or not, but I am not allowed to hang up on customers unless they are verbally abusive.

Me: “Welcome to directory inquiries. How may I direct your call?”

Caller: “I want to talk to the government, right away!”

Me: “Certainly, I have the number for the switchboard right here. Do you want me to read it to you so you can write it down, or do you want me to transfer you?”

Caller: “I want to talk to the person who’s in charge of the elections.”

Me: “I don’t have the direct number, but the switchboard will help you with that. Would you like me to transfer you?”

Caller: “I’m not happy with [Elected Official] and I want to complain! I want him out of office! This is outrageous!”

Me: “I can transfer you to the government switchboard or give you the number. If you want to keep talking to me, I have to tell you that the cost of this call is [amount] per minute.”

The caller goes into a very long rant about everything that’s wrong with the government, the country, and the world.

Me: “I hear you, but there is nothing I can do about your issue. I can give you the number of the government switchboard or transfer you. Every minute you spend talking to me will cost you [amount]. What would you like me to do?”

Caller: “There are gay representatives in the government, I tell you. Gay representatives! What do you have to say about that?”

At this point, there are no representatives in our government who are openly gay, although there is one who wears his hair in a ponytail. I’ve already been on the phone with this customer for five minutes, listening to his rant, so I just decide to shut him up the best way I can think of.

Me: “Well, to be honest, you’re talking to a gay telephone operator right now. What do you have to say about that?”

Then came the longest silence I’ve ever heard, followed by the blessed *click* when he hung up.

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