We Live In The Information Rage

, , , , , | Right | September 13, 2017

(It is the days of landlines. I live in a small town that only has one telephone exchange: the three digits after the area code. Most people only give the last four digits of their phone number. I am a fan of unpublished numbers, to reduce the amount of solicitation calls. These are also the days before the Do-Not-Call List. For those who don’t know, an unpublished number costs more, because if someone calls information asking for John Doe’s phone number, all they will be told is “I have no listing”. An unlisted number is just not in “the book”, but information will still give it out. I’ve just paid to get an unpublished number, and what number do I get? 356-1411. To call information in this town, you dial JUST 1411. So, I immediately start getting calls like this.)

Me: “Hello.”

Caller: “I’d like [Name]’s number.”

Me: “Sorry, if you want information, don’t dial 356 first.”

Caller: “Oops, yeah. Sorry. Bye.”

(But I do get the occasional person who does this:)

Me: “Hello.”

Caller: “I’d like [Other Name]’s number.”

Me: “Sorry; if you want information, don’t dial 356 first.”

Caller: “I didn’t.”

Me: “Yes, you did, or you wouldn’t be talking to me; I’m NOT information.”

Caller: “I didn’t! Give me my d*** phone number!”

(I’d then hang up. This went on for several weeks before I contacted the phone company, asking for a different unpublished number; and without being charged for changing numbers again. They did so, and for free. But wow! Some people got rude so fast. It made me appreciate what those operators go through.)

Up Super Late And Super High

, , , , , | Right | September 12, 2017

(I work at a sandwich shop that specializes in deliveries, in a prominent college town. We receive a phone call around 2:30 am. This is what ensues:)

Me: “Thank you for choosing [Sandwich Shop]. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Uhhh. Hey.”

Me: “Hey.”

Caller: “What time do you guys close?”

Me: “We stop taking orders at three am.”

Caller: “Oh, word.”

(Silence.)

Me: “So, what can I get you?”

Caller: “Oh, nothing. I just wanted to see what was up. I might call you guys tomorrow or something.”

Me: “Are you sure?”

Caller: “Yeah. I’m about to go to bed. I’m super tired. Goodnight.”

Me: “Uh, cool man. Sleep well.”

Caller: “Thanks, man, you too.”

(We all had a good laugh.)

You Got Sat On By A Prankoppotamus

, , , , , | Right | September 11, 2017

(Occasionally we get some folk calling the store just to prank us and waste our time, so on slow days, some of us, like me, try to see if we can beat them at their own game. Next to our registers are a collection of plush toys shaped like animals.)

Caller: “Yes, hi, I was wondering if you sell tigers.”

Me: “Yes.”

Caller: “Really?”

Me: *looking at one of our stuffed tigers sitting on a display across from my register* “His name is Bernie, and he’s about a year old.”

Caller: “Uh… what about rhinos?”

(Lo and behold, we have a rhino plushie too.)

Me: “We have Sarah; she’s around the same age.”

Caller: “Yeah… what about elephants?”

Me: “African or Indian? We have both.”

Caller: “What? Hold on… are you pranking me? ‘Cause I called in order to prank you… I think…”

Me: “You asked if we have animals. I’m telling you what your options are.”

Caller: “Yeah, but… I didn’t mean… uh… you know what, forget it! I’ve completely lost track of what’s going on here!” *click*

Not An Enjoyable Diversion

, , , | Working | September 8, 2017

(One of our field workers is on holiday for a week, and he’s diverted his calls to the office – something I discover at 8:02 on Monday morning when I receive three consecutive calls for him within five minutes about the same matter. It gets worse as the week progresses, but this little kicker occurs that made my head bang against the desk…)

Me: “Good morning, [Company]”

Caller: “Oh, I was trying to get a hold of [Field Worker]. I must have dialed the office by mistake.”

Me: “[Field Worker] is actually on leave this week. Can I—”

Caller: *click*

(The phone rings two seconds later, and it’s the same number.)

Me: “Good morning, [Company]”

Caller: “It’s doing it again!”

Me: *speaking quickly* “[Field Worker] is on leave this week and has diverted his phone to the office.” *pauses to take a breath*

Caller: *click*

(The phone rings two seconds later… He calls back another three times before giving up. I was never able to make him understand, or give him someone else’s number who was actually working that week.)

War On Information

, , , , | Right | September 6, 2017

(I work as a receptionist at a major institute which archives materials about war and genocide. I get a caller who is angry, and very… shall we say, confused. Also, I have no idea whether he is wrong about his mother’s age or her past; obviously he has one of these two “facts” very wrong indeed…)

Me: “[Institute], you’re speaking with [My Name].”

Caller: “Hi, yes, I was given your number. I am calling to complain that [Popular Cable Company] is having some very major problems. Just yesterday my cable service was behaving very erratically.”

Me: “Sir, you—”

Caller: “Just yesterday, again, we sat down; me and my mother, we sat down; she’s 49 today. So we sat down and, she lived through the War, you know! Anyway, we sat down to watch something and the TV turned itself off!”

Me: *speaking very quickly so as to get a word in edgewise* “Sir, you know you’ve called the [Institute], yes? We—”

Caller: “Yes, of COURSE I did! This cannot be allowed to go on! My mother, she went through the War; it’s her birthday and she’s 49; she can’t be expected to deal with this, so something has to be done now.”

Me: “Sir, I am not sure I follow. What—”

Caller: “It’s no coincidence. It’s a huge, evil scandal is what it is. They do it so SYSTEMATICALLY! Look, every single time my mother wants to watch something about the War, the cable goes out or other things happen. A week ago it was the BBC: the cable company switched to another channel every time we tried to watch a War documentary on the BBC! And yesterday the TV just turned off. By itself! Because we wanted to watch something about the War on a Belgian channel. A few weeks ago, we wanted to watch something on [Dutch Channel] about the Hunger Winter, and the station went off the air! Every. Single. Time. It happens every single time. This has been—”

Me: “SIR! I’m sorry, but we are not in any way affiliated with [Cable Company].”

Caller: “I know that, but you are the War people! I am giving you information! That’s what you do! I am giving you information, and something needs to be done with the information I am giving you. Goebbels said it: ‘Whoever controls the information controls the world.’ They are doing this on purpose, that is completely obvious. It is far too obvious, so how are they even getting away with it? Why would they do this? They block everything to do with the War, everything! No matter what station it will be on, no matter what the program, if it is about the War, the TV turns off, or the cable starts acting wonky, or the electricity in the neighborhood goes out or—”

Me: “SIR! As I said, there really isn’t anything we—”

Caller: “SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE WITH THIS INFORMATION! I am calling YOU because this is IMPORTANT INFORMATION and something HAS TO BE DONE ABOUT IT! This cannot go ON! I am giving you information! My mother, she’s 49; she went through the War; this is too much for her! They think a MOTHER can stand up to this kind of thing? A MOTHER?”

Me: “Sir, I think it really would be better if you contact, for example, the cable company itself, or the Better Business Bureau, or the local registry of—”

Caller: “None of them care! Are you nuts? This has been going on for SEVEN YEARS! Why would they do anything about it NOW? Okay, I did call all of them, everyone, all of them, years and years ago, but they don’t care. Two years ago, I called the police and they assured me they would do something about it, and it WAS better for two weeks, but then it all started again, and the police didn’t want to talk to me anymore. So, I am giving you information.”

Me: “Sir, what is it that—”

Caller: “A MOTHER! A mother who had to live through the War and now this! You are the ones, you are the—”

Me: “SIR! WHAT are you asking us to DO?”

Caller: “SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE WITH THIS INFORMATION!”

Me: “Sir, I will tell people here about your call, but I doubt we can do very much about—”

Caller: “Yes! Yes, good, TELL THEM! Tell your information people!”

Me: “I will very definitely do that, sir.”

Caller: *sounding mollified* “Good… good. Thank you. That’s good. Because something has to be done with my information, the information that I am giving you, my call, the information. Thank you.” *click*

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