Yes, I’m a mind reader.
Apparently that is the assumption.
Either that or the person is so important that I would of course know it was them calling. In fact, they are so important that all I do is wait for them to call.
Who am I talking about?
I’m talking about the person who calls the office, asks for someone and doesn’t have enough courtesy to say who they are.
You know who I mean.
“Good morning. ABC Company.”
“Let me talk to Bob.”
I wait a moment for them to tell me who they are.
No further response. Alrighty then…
“May I ask whose calling?” I ask because they don’t have enough sense or intelligence to speak without being prompted.
“This is Mark,” they say.
Now, sometimes if I am lucky, I now know who it is. But maybe not.
“Mark who?” I ask. I know at least 5,000 Marks. Who doesn’t?
By now they are pissed because I am not a mind reader in addition to not knowing it is THE Mark, for the love of God! What the hell is wrong with me anyway?
I hear them sigh. I feel the annoyance in their voice. I am used to hearing that in people’s voices. I know I can be annoying. Sometimes I try to be. Other times, it’s just a gift.
“Mark Smith,” they say curtly.
Now, usually by this time I’m ready to ask “Which Mark Smith?” but I usually get in trouble for that if they complain. Most likely I don’t know this person if I have not recognized their voice yet, so I’m going to carry on my quest of trying to figure out who the hell is calling.
“Mark Smith with…?” is usually what I do, followed up with “Is Bob expecting your call?”
If I’ve never heard of them and they are getting snippy with me at this point, then I’m fairly certain they are a telemarketer and trying to get one over on me.
I love these guys.
It’s one thing if someone doesn’t say who they are when they call. That’s no big thing to me. I’ve done that unintentionally. It’s when the person gets annoyed with YOU for having basic phone manners.
Now that’s the time to have fun.
“Yes he’s expecting my call,” he says as I look on the schedule and see that no, Bob is not. In fact, in all the years Bob has worked here, no one named Mark Smith has ever called. I oversee all the sales people. I know everything about everybody. It’s my job.
“Hmmmm, that’s strange since he didn’t say anything to me,” I say as I crack my knuckles and stretch my neck and shoulders. I am bored and in need of entertainment and amusement. I have decided to use this Mark Smith for my needs.
“Oh that’s so strange! Bob and I go way back as friends! I’m sure he just didn’t say anything. Please put me through to him immediately.”
This is always my favorite part – when they try to boss me around.
“Oh you’re friends? That’s great! Did you two go to Stanford together?” I ask. Bob never went to college. Bob never finished High School. I doubt he graduated from grade school. Probably got kicked out of there too.
“Yes we did! Now please put my call through.”
“No,” I say.
That always throws them. A direct and defiant response. The assumption that I’ll follow orders since I’m just the lowly receptionist. It never occurs to anyone that sometimes bosses HAVE to answer the phone to cover for someone or maybe we like to answer the phone to stay in touch with what is going on. Some just assume it’s perfectly acceptable to be rude to people. I mean, it IS Mark Smith after all.
On the phone.
Live and in person.
Everything needs to stop for him.
”I said no. I’m not putting you through and you can’t make me,” I say and sip my coffee, careful not to slurp in his ear. “You’re not the boss of me!”
“Why are you being so mean to me? Do you treat everyone this badly?” I say with a tinge of choking-up entering my voice. I pinch my leg to make sure I don’t start laughing.
Hopefully by now I’ve got him so confused, he has no idea what to say anymore. Perfect. Time to go in for the kill.
“No, wait, I wasn’t being mean. I just wanted to talk to Bob…”
“Bob’s dead!” I wail.
“He’s dead? Who? What happened?”
“I can’t discuss it. It’s too painful,” I say. Right then, Bob walks into my office. I cover up the phone and whisper to him to be quiet since he’s dead.
“I’m dead? Since when?” he asks.
“Shhhh….I’ll tell you later but you owe me.”
“What did I die of?” Bob asks as he sits down in front of me.
“You were murdered for hassling the wrong woman,” I say and tell him to be quiet. “Stabbed to death for annoying her on the phone.”
“Cool!” he says and leans back in the chair and smiles.
By now the telemarketer doesn’t know what to say. I would have been nice to him, because I empathize with his job.
But he lied to me. The son-of-a-bitch lied to me. That makes him fair game.
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” he says. I sniffle.
“I guess maybe you should not call here anymore since he’s dead. Strange that you didn’t know about it since you’re his friend and all…”
“Yes, well, it’s been a while. I have to go,” he says and hangs-up the phone.
Bob gives me a high-five.
“You are amazing at your job,” he says.
“Yes, I know. That’s why you work for me and not the other way around,” I say.
“Oh yeah…” he says as he wanders off.