This Is Not Your True Calling

, | Working | July 24, 2014

(I have recently been assigned to a new job through a temp agency. I am given the address, the name of the company, and the supervisor. It is listed as ‘telephone operator’ and involvs taking orders.)

Supervisor: “Welcome to [Company]! We specialize in selling school supplies to various schools throughout the U.S. Today we’re selling class sets of dictionaries. When they order a set of 30 dictionaries, they’ll get a set of thesauruses for free.”

(The supervisor then shows me to my desk. I notice there is no computer; just a telephone and a stapled packet consisting of hundreds of schools and some basic information, including principals’ names, phone numbers, mailing addresses, and other info.)

Supervisor: “Here is your phone. You’ll call each of these numbers, and try to sell the class sets. Here, I’ll put your name on the board. You’ll call these numbers, make a sale, and when you do, we put a star by your name. You get 50 stars, you get a $100 bonus. Also, for us to confirm the sale, you must stand up and hold the receiver like this.”

(He shows me, with the mouthpiece end towards the mouth, and the earpiece pointed towards the floor. I snicker.)

Supervisor: “Oh, you think it’s funny, do you? Well, get on to it.”

(I look through the list. The first number is a high school in Texas. I begin dialing and keep getting an automatic messaging service. I remember I have a sandwich with me.)

Me: “Um, [Supervisor], where can I put my sandwich? It’s got meatballs and cheese and I don’t want it to spoil.”

Supervisor: “Oh, just keep it at your desk. You can eat it in between calls.”

Me: “So you’re saying you don’t have a break room?”

Supervisor: “Nope.”

Me: “Not even a fridge to keep food that may spoil from spoiling?”

Supervisor: “Nope. Just sit and make sales, and eat between sales.”

(I sit back down, and try again. Each number I call, I keep getting automated services. Finally, I decide I’ve had enough. I get up, grab my sandwich, and begin walking out the door.)

Supervisor: “Where are you going?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but sales is just not for me. [Temp Agency] never told me this was a sales/telemarketing job. They just had it listed as ‘phone operator.’ I thought I’d be taking calls, not making them.”

Supervisor: “Please come back. You can eat your sandwich first then make calls. I lied; we do have a fridge in the back.”

Me: “Sorry.”

(I walked right out of there after staying for only 30 minutes. I later called the temp agency and quit them, too!)

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A Noddy To The Wise

| Working | June 20, 2014

(I have already taken a couple of calls about ‘a car accident you were involved in’ but they have not listened to my request for being taken off the list. So, I did a little research and am ready for the next caller.)

Caller: “Can I speak to [My Name], please?”

Me: “Speaking.”

Caller: “My name’s [Caller] from [Company]. Your insurance company has passed on your details to us regarding a road traffic accident you had, and we’d like to talk to you about compensation.”

Me: “Is this about the hit and run?”

Caller: “Well, I didn’t see that in the det—”

Me: “Yeah, it was a hit and run. Some youth in a blue, red, and yellow convertible hit me and drove off. I don’t remember much about him, but he did have a blue hat with some gold bling on top.”

Caller: “Okay!”

(I can hear him typing away furiously, taking down the details.)

Me: “He did have a passenger with him. An elderly bloke with a large white beard, no moustache, and big ears.”

Caller: “Right.”

Me: “The car registration was November, Oscar, Delta, five, one, three.”

Caller: “This is interesting. The insurance company hasn’t given us all these details.”

Me: “Yeah. Anyway, there was a witness: a Miss Blyton, spelled B-L-Y-T-O-N, first name Enid.”

Caller: “So you had a witness, right?”

Me: “Yes.”

Caller: “Good. The car registration is coming up as a Fiat coupe. Was that it?”

Me: “I don’t know. It could be. I’m not very good with cars. I know it was a convertible.”

Caller: “Was it an old car, box shaped?”

Me: “It might have been. It all happened so fast and I’m terrible at recognising car types.”

Caller: “Did you contact your insurance company?”

Me: “No, I had left it in the hands of the policeman who dealt with the case. His name was PC Plod.”

Caller: “So it’s in the hands of the police?”

Me: “Yes.”

Caller: “That’s good. Thanks for the information. I’m not sure why the insurance company didn’t give us any of these details, but what I’ll do is talk to my supervisor and see what he thinks we can do. I’ll look into it and get back to you as soon as possible.”

Me: *thinking to myself that he won’t when he realizes* “Yes, you do that. I look forward to hearing back.”

(All this had happened whilst I was at work, so I relate what had just happened to my work colleagues. I was part way through telling them, when my phone rings again.)

Supervisor: “Is that [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes, it is. Hello!”

Supervisor: “This is [Supervisor] from [Company]. You spoke a short while ago to [Caller] about the hit and run.”

Me: “That’s right.”

Supervisor: “Did you contact your insurance company about this incident?”

Me: “No. As I said to your colleague, I had left it in the hands of the policeman who attended the scene, PC Plod, and the witness Enid Blyton.”

Supervisor: “Oh, right. This is a wind up, isn’t it?”

Me: “Oh, well done for spotting. Now, would you mind removing me from the list?”

Supervisor: “All right. But before you go, can I ask you something? Do you read much Enid Blyton?”

Me: “Not for a long time, no.”

Supervisor: “Tell me, was Enid Blyton involved much with the BFG?”

Me: “No, that was Roald Dahl.”

Supervisor: “You really do know your stuff. I’ll take you off our list. Bye!”

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Cold Callers Versus Hot Heads

| Right | June 11, 2014

(It is my first week of cold calling people to try to encourage them to buy a kitchen or windows. I do not want to be there, but I need the money.)

Me: “Hello, am I speaking to the home owner?”

Customer #1: “Yes?”

Me: “I’m calling from [Company] to see if [launch into selling script]. So. do you think—”

Customer #1: “DON’T YOU KNOW MY MOTHER HAS JUST DIED?!” *slams down phone*

Me: “… No?”

(I put her on to the don’t call back list despite the fact we’re not meant to do that unless they specifically ask us to because I feel sorry for her despite her rudeness, and let the automated dialer tick to the next cold call.)

Me: “Hello, am I speaking to the home owner?”

Customer #2: “Yes, you are. Who is this?”

Me: “I’m calling from [Company] to see if [launch into selling script]. So. do you think that might be something you’re interested in?”

Customer #2: “You know, you don’t have to do this. You could go back to college, educate yourself, and get a proper job. You don’t have to waste your life in a call centre.”

Me: “Sir, I’m studying neurobiology at university.”

Customer #2: “Oh, well, uh, no. I’m not interested. Sorry. Please remove me from the list. Good luck.”

(Again, I put him on the no call back list then let the dialer click on…)

Me: “Hello, am I speaking to the home owner?”

Customer: *sighs* “Yes…”

Me: “I’m calling from [Company] to see if [launch into selling script]. So. do you think you might be interested?”

Customer: “Actually, maybe. Tell me more. What does it involve?”

(The customer gets me to answer loads of questions, sounds really interested, and I begin to hope my day might turn round and I might finally check off the measly £1 bonus for getting someone to book a visit for a quote.)

Customer: “Brilliant, thank you for that. Can you do me one last favour?”

Me: “Absolutely, sir!”

Customer: “Good. Can you F*** OFF?!” *slams down the phone*

(I put him on the urgent call back list, meaning he’ll be called the next day around lunch time, and if he’s still rude to whoever is unfortunate enough to get him they will probably do the exact same thing. If you’re going to be a jerk to cold callers, remember we are human beings, too. Politeness gets you much further and it costs nothing to say nicely ‘I’m not interested; please take me off your lists.’ I started job hunting that night and left three weeks later.)

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Lobotomy Monotony

| Working | June 9, 2014

(In spite of the fact that I have a cell-phone, I get a ton of telemarketing calls. I always ask them not to call back, but they continue.)

Telemarketer: “Hello, I’m calling from [Law Firm] about a class-action lawsuit. Have you recently had a surgery you needed denied?”

Me: “You know it’s illegal for lawyers to solicit services, right?”

Telemarketer: “But, ma’am, isn’t there any surgery you need but haven’t been able to get approved by your insurance?”

Me: “Actually, now that I think about it, I really could use a lobotomy and a boob job.”

Telemarketer: “Excellent! At [Law Firm] we specialize in getting you services you need. So about your lobotomy—”

Me: “Hey, think about what I said.”

Telemarketer: “You said you needed a lobotomy?”

Me: “Sounds like you had one if you don’t know what it is…”

Telemarketer: “…”

Me: “Think about it.”

Telemarketer: “F*** you, b****!”

Me: “STOP CALLING ME!”

(He hung up, and then started calling me from his PERSONAL cell to abuse me… until I turned his number over to the police. I have yet to be bothered by a telemarketer since!)

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A Vicious Circle

| Working | April 18, 2014

(From looking at the call display, I’ve noticed that we’ve had a lot of calls from the same 800 number, but no messages left. This is usually a dead give away as a telemarketer. When I see that number calling one evening, I decide to pick up instead of my usual practice of ignoring it.)

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Yes, is [Wife] home?””

Me: “No, I’m afraid she isn’t. Can I take a message?”

Caller: “I’m calling from [Bank]. Is there a good time to try calling again?”

Me: “No, not really. We’re in and out at various times. Is there a message I can give her?”

Caller: “No. I’m calling from [Bank] and it’s an important, private matter that I can’t discuss with anyone but [Wife].”

Me: “Well, if it’s important, surely you’d want her to call back about it. So, can I have your name and number, so she can return the call?”

Caller: “I’m afraid I can’t do that. It’s an important, private matter that I can only discuss with [Wife].”

Me: “I understand that, but if you’re not willing to leave any type of message, now or any other time you’ve called, I have to assume this is just a marketing call to offer her a credit card or to change her services, in which case, you can stop calling.”

Caller: “No. I need to speak to [Wife]. Is there a good time to get ahold of her?”

Me: “No, but I can take a message and she can return the call.”

Caller: “I can’t do that. It’s a private matter.”

Me: “If you won’t give me any information, then I can’t help you.”

Caller: “We’re just going in circles!”

Me: “I know! Annoying having your time wasted like that, isn’t it? Have a good evening.” *click*

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