Works Both Ways

, , , , , , | Right | July 11, 2019

(It’s the 1980s. I am on telephone support for a software company. I have a common first name, and there are four other employees with the same first name. Two of us share an office. Because there are five of us, we have to tell customers our last name, in case they need to call back, or file a complaint or compliment. It is against policy to give our real names, so we each make up a last name for our phone identity. I pick the name “Booth.” I figure it is a good mnemonic; customers will remember that if they needed help, just “phone Booth.” I am speaking to one customer. After spending nearly an hour getting her software up and running, we have this exchange:)

Customer: “Can I have your name, in case I have to call back?”

Me: “It’s [My Name] Booth.”

Customer: “How do you spell that? L-O-O-S-E?”

Me: “No, not ‘Loose.’ It’s ‘Booth,’ like in ‘phone booth.’”

Customer: “Oh, B-O-O-S-E?”

Me: “No, it’s like ‘phone booth.’ B-O-O-T-H.”

Customer: “Oh, B-O-T-H.”

Me: *facepalm* “Right.”

(I decided that was close enough, and ended the call. Then, I realized that if she ever called back, she’d ask to speak to [My Name]. The receptionist would ask, “Which [My Name]?” and she’d say, “Both.” At least she’d be connected to the right office!)

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