The Daddy Of All Meanies

, , , , | Right | April 9, 2019

(My dad owns a typesetting and editing business in the 1980s and operates from a home office. He professionally prints stationery, wedding invitations, magazines… basically anything that is on paper, he can do. Since the only other house phone is in my playroom, I am trained from the age of three to take calls politely, put people on hold, and walk to my dad’s office to tell him he has a phone call. At the age of five, I am trained to help out after school, and can do extremely basic things, like get a file and tell clients how much they owe on their specific projects. Long term clients know the reason I answer the phone after three rings, and they know that I will help them if I can. This guy, however, even though he has talked to me face to face on several occasions — I remember that he’s loud and overbearing, which to my five-year-old self is translated to “scary” — and he’s taken my family out for dinner several times to talk about business ventures he’s pursuing, he still can’t accept my “receptionist” role, nor can he understand “family-home-based business,” so my dad usually meets the client at his office. This is the most memorable call from him:)

Me: “Good afternoon. Thank you for calling [Business]. I’m [My Name]; how can I help you?”

Longtime Client: “UGH!” *mumbling to someone else* “It’s that dumb little girl again.” *back to me* “I’m getting so sick of this s*** from you little people. Don’t you have anything else to do? Go play with your f****** toys or something.”

Me: “Sir! If you would like to talk to my dad, who ow—“

Longtime Client: “YOUR DADDY? UGH. NO.”

Me: “Okay, goodbye, then. Have a—“

Longtime Client: “NO! No, no, no! I want to talk to [Dad]!”

Me: “Okay. I will go get my dad, then.”

Longtime Client: “NOO! I WANT TO TALK TO [DAD]! ARE YOU DEAF, YOU ST—“

(I place the call on hold, with the client still ranting, and walk into my dad’s office thirty feet away.)

Dad: “Who’s that?”

Me: “[Longtime Client]!”

Dad: “WHAT?!”

Me: “The scary man!”

(I had not previously let my opinion on him be known. I am internally berating myself for saying that…)

Dad: “Um… Yeah, actually, he is, isn’t he?” *picks up phone* “Hel—“

Longtime Client: *apparently arguing with someone away from the phone* “AND IF THAT STUPID LITTLE GIRL HAD GOTTEN ME A HOLD OF [DAD] INSTEAD OF HER STUPID DAAAAAADDY, MAYBE—“

Dad: “OKAY, ONE D*** THING! I may be her dad, but I’m not stupid. I heard everything you said, and my daughter was unfailingly polite. You do not treat my daughter like that under any circumstances, ever!”

(My dad quietly shoos me out of his office and closes the door before he proceeds to rip into the guy completely. I remember looking up the word “unfailingly” later on that day. After he finishes, my dad comes to talk to me about my phone etiquette:)

Dad: “You okay?”

Me: *sniffily* “Yeah, that guy’s scary. Do we have to go to dinner with him again now that you have his work done?”

Dad: “No, never, honey. He’s not a client anymore. But you know what? When people say, ‘No, not your dad; get [Dad],’ you say, ‘Okay, [Dad] will be with you in just a moment,’ or, ‘Okay, I’ll go get [Dad],’ before you hit the hold key, okay?”

Me: “Okay. And I’m glad we don’t have to see him again.”

Dad: “So am I! I’m sorry he was scary and mean to you.” *hugs me*

(Years later, I found out that not only did the ex-client not pay my dad for the order that had just been completed that day, but he also wrote a bad check on the previous order, and had a habit of skipping the bill whenever he’d take us out. My parents took the client to court to recoup their expenses, and got a lot more than they were hoping for: the judge awarded them attorney’s fees in addition to the payments from the previously unpaid jobs, and our attorney asked my dad for 450 printed wedding invitations, insisting that that was more than enough to cover all the court expenses!)

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