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Today, On “The World Is Too Big And It Scares Me”:

, , , , , , | Right | March 18, 2022

I work as a receptionist for a healthcare company that often helps people get started with disability, Medicaid, SSI, etc. We have locations across the entire country, with thousands of employees. The phone rings about fifteen minutes to close.

Caller: “Hi, I received this letter that says someone by the name C. [Somewhat Uncommon Last Name] is handling my application. I need to talk to them.”

Me: “No problem, one moment.”

I search by the last name in my directory and find four matches, three of whom have a first name that starts with C. I transfer the caller to the [Customer Service] representative on my list. The other two are in IT and Accounting, so they’re unlikely candidates. Two minutes later, the phone rings again.

Caller: “Yeah, I just talked to you. No one answered; I just got a voicemail. Can you get that person on the phone? It’s C.—” *Spells the last name*

Me: “Ma’am, I have three C. [Last Name]s in my directory, I sent you to the one I believed to be the most likely person. Do you have any other information, such as the department they are from? Is this regarding a Medicaid or Disability appli—”

Caller:Three?! But it’s an uncommon last name!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, it is, but we have multiple people working for the company with that last name. We have offices across the country, so there are bound to be some similar names.”

Caller: “But it’s such an uncommon last name! It’s [Last Name]!”

She spells it out again.

Caller: “I got this suspicious letter, and I need to find out what’s going on with my application!”

Me: “Let me send you to our general resolution line, and anyone there can at least pull up your information in their system and see what’s going on.”

Caller: “You can’t do it? Or get C. [Last Name] on the phone?”

Me: “I’m a receptionist and don’t have access to any client information. Let me get you over to someone who can help you.”

I transferred her before she could argue. As I hung up the phone, a delivery person arrived, so I left my desk to unlock the door and let them in. When I returned to my desk, I saw a missed call from the same lady. She left a very similar voicemail that I then forwarded to the rep. Sorry that some people within a nationwide company might share a last name?

A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 17

, , , , | Working | March 2, 2022

My boyfriend had some heart issues while we were abroad and he had to be hospitalised. Afterward, they told us he needed to see a specialist for a check-up in four weeks.

We found a small clinic with English-speaking staff and made an appointment. On the day of the appointment, this happened.

Me: “We’re here to see [Doctor]; we’ve got an appointment for 9:00.”

Receptionist: “No, you don’t.”

Me: “Excuse me? Did we get the day wrong? I’m sure we had an appointment for today.”

Receptionist: “Yes, I know. We talked on the phone. The doctor is away on holiday; he will not be in this week. Why did you show up?”

Me: “I wasn’t aware. Did you call us to reschedule?”

Receptionist: “No, of course not.”

Because this check-up was important, we rescheduled for a few days later, even though we were pretty annoyed. 

We were a few minutes early for the next appointment, and when we walked in, the place was pretty full. There was a screen near the entrance with Portuguese information and some people gestured that we should use that. Since we didn’t understand what it said, I approached the receptionist again.

Me: “Hi! My boyfriend, [Boyfriend], has an appointment with [Doctor] at 11:00. Do we need to use the screen to pull a number or anything like that?”

Receptionist: “Hello, welcome back! [Doctor] is here today. Please press the B-button and sit down and wait.”

We did as we were told and time passed. Half an hour after our appointment should have started, a doctor entered and we heard him mention my boyfriend’s last name. We got up and approached him, and he saw the numbered ticket in our hands.

Doctor: “Oh, you don’t have to pull a number if you have an appointment! The receptionist informs me when you are here! I thought you didn’t show up!”

A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 16
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 15
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 14
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 13
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 12

What Does “Appointment” Mean To You?

, , , , | Right | February 28, 2022

I work as a vet, and I happened to overhear the receptionist dealing with what sounded like a brief but exasperating phone call. She recounted part of it to me afterward. It took place just before 9:00 am.

Client: “I’d like to book [Dog] in for vaccination today, please.”

Receptionist: “We’re nearly fully booked today; the only appointments I have available are 10:00 am and 4:30 pm. Do either of those work for you?”

Client: “Yes, I’ll take the 10:00 am appointment. But I need to do my grocery shopping first, so I won’t get there until closer to 10:30. That’ll be okay, right?”

Receptionist: “Uh, no. If you have a 10:00 am appointment, you need to be here at 10:00 am. The vet has other patients to see after that, and we will reschedule your appointment if you’re more than five minutes late. So you can either be here at 10:00, take the 4:30 pm appointment, or we get [Dog] booked in on another day. Which would you like?”

Client: “Oh… right. I’ll be there at 10:00.”

And she was. She did apologise after the receptionist gently explained that one client being late can often make the day go wrong in a bad way, and nothing further was said.

A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 16

, , , , , | Working | February 21, 2022

I work in a little business park where all the little offices are set up like little houses. We get along well with the other businesses, particularly the one next door. Their owner plays golf with our owner. We even had our Christmas Dinner combined one year.

One month, we held a big event for our customers. One of the managers over-ordered, which prompted the catering company to over-deliver. Suddenly, we had all this food that we struggled to give away and probably wouldn’t be good tomorrow. The owner asked if I could take a big box next door; their owner loves his food.

Dutifully, I packed up an assortment and went next door.

Through the glass, I saw a receptionist, a new one. She watched me struggle to open the door and walk up to her. And with an exasperated sigh, she said:

Receptionist: “We don’t want it.”

Me: “Oh, no, you see, I’ve just come from next door, and—”

Receptionist: “Look. Frankly, I don’t care what you’re selling or what charity you’re supporting. I’ve told you lot we don’t want it.”

Me: “No, you see, I’m not selling them. It’s all for—”

Receptionist: “Ugh, I don’t care. Call it what you want. I don’t want it.”

Me: “Jeez. Fine.”

I walked out the door; she watched me struggle again. I saw their owner get out of his car and walk to the door. This was going to be perfect.

Owner: “Ooooh, freebies?”

Me: “Help yourself!”

Owner: “Thanks! Hey, where are you going?”

Me: “Oh, I was told if you didn’t want them to throw them.”

I threw the box into the big roll-top bin in the car park. The owner stared, mouth open.

Owner: “But why?”

Me: “Ask your receptionist.”

I went back to work and didn’t say a word. I forgot about it.

A few days later, the owner asked me what happened, and I told him that his receptionist was incredibly rude and abrupt.

She wasn’t there the following week.

A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 15
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 14
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 13
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 12
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 11

This Receptionist’s Days Are Numbered

, , , , , , , | Working | February 8, 2022

I work in the immigration industry. My team is in charge of processing work permit applications for a corporation that employs foreigners working in a very specialized field.

Because we process a high volume of this type of application, management has assigned the receptionist to help us out with document retrieval from the representative portal. All notification emails regarding status updates are automatically forwarded to the front desk email. She has to search for the application number on the portal, download the correspondence, and email it to the person in charge of the file.

From time to time, there will be a lot (100 to 200 or more) of document retrieval requests to complete. I was told to help her out if that was the case. In order for me to determine whether I need to step in, I have to ask her how many notifications are there. The following exchange happens practically every time I ask her.

Me: “Hey! How many portal emails have you got?”

Receptionist: “A lot!”

Me: “Oh, fun! How many exactly?”

Receptionist: “I just said a lot.”

Me: “Yes, I know you said that, but can you provide the number?”

Receptionist: “About a hundred.”

Me: “Okay, thanks.”

When this exchange occurs, I have to call her supervisor (which I shouldn’t) to get that information.

Me: “Hi, [Supervisor]. I’m so sorry to bother you, but would you be able to tell me how many portal notifications you guys have?”

Supervisor: “Yes, of course! We currently have 158 to clear up. [Receptionist] is at the front desk working on them. You can always call and ask her.”

Me: *Sigh* “Yes, I did. I just got off the phone with her, but she was hesitant to give me the exact number. This has been happening frequently. Just to make sure that I am not going against any protocol, I am allowed to ask for the numbers, right?”

Supervisor: “Yes, that is correct! You are only asking for the number; you are not breaking any rules here. If that was the case, you would have heard something from me.”

Me: “Thank you for confirming.”

Supervisor: “I need to have a talk with her because you are not the only one that she has been giving issues to.”

Me: “Oh, okay.”

About a week after that, I heard that management had a meeting with her about her overall performance. Apparently, some of the senior caseworkers said that she needs to learn how to speak to clients properly. She lacks pleasantry when it comes to customer service.