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You Did Your Part

, , , | Right | October 19, 2021

This comes at the tail end of taking an order over the phone.

Caller: “Oh, crap, I need to look up one thing that I forgot to write down your number for. One second.”

Me: “Sure. Do you have a description? I might be able to find it faster.”

Caller: *Curtly* “I know what I’m doing.”

Having done my part and offered to help find it, I dork around online during at least three minutes of silence while I listen to him typing.

Caller: “Well, shoot, maybe you just don’t sell it. I can’t seem to find it.”

Me: “What description do you have?”

Caller: “It’s a [specific item].”

Me: “That’s [specific item] that has [side detail]?”

Caller: “Yeah. Should be a basic thing.”

Me: *Less than five seconds later* “That’s our [part number], and it’s [price].”

Caller: *Sheepishly* “I guess I should’ve told you that five minutes ago.”

Addressing The Lack Of Addressing, Part 4

, , , | Right | October 15, 2021

This takes place after I help a fairly clueless customer track down what he needs.

Caller: “I need to place this order. When will I get it?”

Me: “Once I get the shipping address from you, I can give you a better idea of lead time. Where are we shipping this?”

Caller: “Uh…”

The caller stammers for a few seconds and then mumbles out a street address.

Me: “And the city?”

Caller: “PA.”

Me: “Okay, and the city?”

Caller: “Pennsylvania. PA.”

Me: “Yes, that’s the state, but I need the city, as well.”

Caller: “Oh. Uh… I don’t know that.”

Me: “What about the zip code? I can get it from that.”

Caller: “Uh… um… I don’t know the zip code.” *Long silence* “So, when will I receive that?”

Me: “You’re going to have to call us back when you have the full address.”

Addressing The Lack Of Addressing, Part 3
Addressing The Lack Of Addressing, Part 2
Addressing The Lack Of Addressing

That’s What The Machines WANT You To Think!

, , , , | Right | October 15, 2021

I am in the long crawl of the last five minutes at the end of my shift on a Friday. It’s a busy day, I’m drained and 100% over being at work, and I guess it must be showing in my voice.

Me: “[Company], this is [My Name].”

Caller: *Long moment of silence* “Hello? Is this a recording or a real person?”

Me: *Snapping back to attention* “Oh, I’m sorry. I’m a real person.”

Caller: *Starts laughing* “Oh, okay, I just… You sounded so even and flat a minute ago, I was confused!”

Me: “Let me say something spontaneous for you; onomatopoeia! Photocopier! Edward Scissorhands!”

This elicited more laughter, and the call continued as normal, and before I knew it my last five minutes were over!

A “Little” Hard Of Hearing Is A “Lot” Of Understatement

, , | Right | October 14, 2021

Caller: “Hi there. I want to place an order with you. I’m a little hard of hearing, so please bear with me.”

I appreciate the warning, so I turn up the mic volume on my headset, set the mic right up to my mouth, and speak in a louder voice.

Me: “Sure thing, go ahead.”

Caller: “I’m looking for a…”

They give me a short list of items but no quantities.

Me: *Still loudly* “Was that one of each item?”

Caller: “I’m sorry, can you repeat that?”

Me: *Louder* “Was that one of each?”

Caller: *Pause* “I’m sorry, I’m hard of hearing. One more time?”

Me: *Screaming now* “One of each?”

Caller: “Oh! Your voice is so soft. Yes, one of each.”

The rest of the call was in this manner.

I was in a cubicle, in an office, screaming at the top of my lungs. I could see people staring and hear giggles. When I hung up, exhausted and hoarse, my coworkers in the adjoining cubes laughed their a**es off as I told my very understanding supervisor I was going to take a break.

Some Bosses Expect The Impossible

, , , , , | Working | October 13, 2021

A few times a year, I get laryngitis and cannot even utter a squeak. I don’t get a whole lot of warning when it’s about to hit me, but when it does, I’m pretty much a street mime until it decides to pass. I don’t tend to call off work unless I’m so ill that I feel like I can’t legitimately do my job. When you answer calls all day long, not having a voice falls into this category.

One day, a few hours into my shift, my voice goes out completely. I frantically write a note to my supervisor explaining what has happened and that I will need to go home.

Supervisor: “No, you cannot leave! We’ve had way too many people call out today! Get back on the phone right now!”

Rather than argue, I decide to just do what I’m told. I get back on the phone and allow the calls to roll in. I attempt to greet each customer, but of course, nothing comes out of my mouth. The customers repeat, “Hello?” several times before finally hanging up. This goes on for about an hour.

Finally, my supervisor comes over to me.

Supervisor: “Umm… so, Quality was trying to monitor your calls just now. You can go home. Take as long as you need to get your voice back.”

I could have been snarky. Instead, I just wrote a polite, “Thank you,” and clocked out for the day. I’m still not sure how they expected me to do over-the-phone tech support without being able to talk.