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Putting The Witch In Switchboard

, , , , | Right | September 17, 2021

I work as a telephone operator for an external switchboard company. We provide telephone and scheduling services for a number of companies who, for various reasons, do not have their own telephone operators.

Many of our clients are small, one-person contracting firms, where the owner is out all day and doesn’t have time to answer the phone. Most of them are in male-dominated fields, and people who call them and reach me assume they are talking to “the girl in the office.”

Every company has its own policy for how they want us to handle cold callers; the most common is to instruct them to send an email or to take a message. Telemarketers can be pretty aggressive when they don’t get their way:

Me: “Welcome to [Company]. How can I help you?”

Cold Caller: “I want to speak to the owner.”

Me: “He’s not in the office right now. Can I take a message?”

Cold Caller: “No, just put me through to him right now; it’s urgent.”

Me: “I can take a message and ask him to call you back. May I have your name and what this is referring to?”

Cold Caller: “No, just put me through already. He’s going to want to talk to me.”

Me: “Sir, the owner is probably standing on a roof somewhere right now. It’s not safe for him to answer his phone. I can take a message or you can send him an email.”

Cold Caller: “That’s ridiculous. I’m about to save him a lot of money. He’ll be so mad that you won’t put me through. Do you like your job?”

This client is one of my favourites because he’s always appreciative of our services and frequently thanks us for doing such a good job. His customers are also very nice and understanding of the fact that they can’t always reach him, so I know that this guy is not legit. Therefore, I decide to use the magic words: “company policy”.

Me: “I can’t put you through. For safety reasons, it’s company policy not to call the owner when he’s on a job.”

Cold Caller: “That’s ridiculous. It’s just because you’re a girl that you won’t put me through. Let me talk to a man, instead.”

Me: “There are no men available to take your call right now. You may leave a message or send an email.”

Cold Caller: “Do you know what? If you’d been a man, you would’ve put me through! I hate women; you’re all switchboard witches!'”

Me: “If I’d been a man and put you through, I still would’ve broken company policy. Have a good day.” *Click*

From then on, my colleagues and I proudly referred to ourselves as “switchboard witches” when we were talking to each other.

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This Telemarketer’s A Real Charmer

, , , , | Working | September 3, 2021

A telemarketer called me and wanted me to order one of those “free samples” that lead to subscription traps — the kind that triggers when you consent to receive the “free” sample and is almost impossible to cancel. The free samples were women’s underwear and lady shavers.

I was under twenty years old and I was inexperienced. I just told him I didn’t want the sample and wouldn’t order, but he was very insistent. I should have hung up, but I didn’t want to be rude.

In the end, just before hanging up on me, he told me, ”Well, then, just go the whole summer in hairy legs and dirty underwear!”

Ten years later, I’ve learned to just hang up on them.

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These Telemarketers Won’t Stop Dogging Me!

, , , , , | Working | August 31, 2021

I get telemarketing calls all the time; very often they want me to change my electricity provider or purchase their price guarantee which allegedly would prevent my electricity costs from exceeding a certain amount or something.

Me: “[My Last Name], hello?”

Telemarketer: “Hello, my name is [Telemarketer]. I’m calling on behalf of [Company]. Am I speaking to Mr. SanSan [My Last Name]?”

Me: “Um… no.”

Telemarketer: “Could I talk to Mr. SanSan [My Last Name], please?”

Me: “Would you please tell me where you got his name from?”

Telemarketer: “Mr. SanSan [My Last Name] recently participated in an online survey and agreed to be contacted about offers and ways to save money.”

Me: “I find that hard to believe.”

Telemarketer: “Well, I have a great offer for him, so could you please put him on the phone?”

Me: “If you insist.”

Telemarketer: “Thank you.”

I cover the mouthpiece and call for SanSan.

Me: “SanSan, did you do another one of those online surveys?”

SanSan just tilts his head and looks at me.

Me: “Ah, well, here’s a call for you.”

I place the phone at his head. The telemarketer begins his spiel.

Telemarketer: “Mr. SanSan [My Last Name]? I’m with [Company] and I’m calling about your electricity—”


Telemarketer: “WHAT THE H***?!”

I take the phone back.

Me: “Hello? Are you still there?”

Telemarketer: “What’s the big idea?! Why are you letting me talk to your dog?!”

Me: “You wanted to speak to SanSan, didn’t you? SanSan is my dog.”

Telemarketer: “F*** you!” *Hangs up*

Me: “No more online surveys, SanSan.”

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Add That To The List Of Companies To Avoid

, , , , , , | Working | August 11, 2021

My phone rings, and I don’t recognize the number. But I did leave a message for my doctor earlier, so it could be the doctor or her nurse calling back, so I answer.

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Hi, [My Name], how are you today?”

Me: “Who’s calling?”

Caller: “I’m calling about renewable energy. Have you given any thought to this topic given everything that’s going on in the world?”

Me: “How did you get this number?”

Caller: “From the Homeowners List.”

Not from an HOA, which isn’t relevant to my area anyway, just some Homeowners List.

Me: “I see. You can take me off your list.”

Caller: *Annoyed* “Okay, sure, KAREN.” *Click*

The thing is, my name sounds like Karen. I’m not actually sure if she said Karen accidentally or was trying to insult me for not wanting unsolicited phone calls. Strange!

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Nothing Comic About This

, , , , | Legal | July 6, 2021

We order a weekly comic book from a publisher. The publishing house is very big, partly owned by the government, and publishes most Finnish magazines, comic books, and few newspapers, one of them the biggest newspaper in Finland.

My husband answers a call from a telemarketer. The telemarketer is from that publisher and he is trying to convince my husband that our subscription will be cancelled.

Telemarketer: “Starting next month, you will not receive any more comic books if you don’t order [Comic Book] Extra, an additional weekly comic book.”

My husband and I would never order anything over the phone, but the telemarketer’s claim is so ridiculous my husband wants to hear more. He argues back.

Husband: “We have already paid in advance for a one-year subscription and we still have ten months left.”

Telemarketer: “Well, you won’t be receiving that money back.”

Somehow they end the call, and the telemarketer’s last words are that now, we won’t be getting our comic books OR money back.

My husband is furious about such blatant attempted fraud. He is also worried some lonely granny is going to fall for it, so he tries to contact the publisher and tell them one of their sales representatives has attempted fraud. They have absolutely zero contact info, and upon closer inspection, it is apparent that they have outsourced their sales and customer service to a different company. My husband tries and tries calling them, finally gets hold of someone, and explains the situation, the time it happened, the number they called from, etc.

The customer service person is very understanding.

Husband: “Depending on how this goes, I might be interested in reporting that representative to the police, so please keep me updated.”

Representative: “We will!”

It’s been two years and we’ve heard nothing.

We cancelled our subscription because it left such a bad taste in our mouths.

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