Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jenny, don’t change your number

posted Wed, 04 Aug 2004

So here’s the phone conversation I just had:

[ring, ring]

“Class Factotum”

“Who’s this?”

“It’s the Class Factotum.”

“Uhh. I need to speak to John Doe, please.”

“Fine. I’ll send you to the operator and she’ll transfer you.”

“Well, the operator sent me to you.”

“Yes, but she made a mistake. I am not John Doe.”

“Do you know John Doe?”

”Yes. He exists. He works on another floor. I’ll transfer you to the operator.”

“Well, is he in the office today?”

”I don’t know. I am not his secretary. I know who he is by coincidence. The operator sent you here by mistake. I’ll transfer you.”

“Well, if you see him, would you tell him to call his daughter?”

[There are 11 floors in my building. Let's say 50 persons per floor. That makes 550 people in the building. The odds that I will see Mr Doe to deliver the message are low.]

“I’m not going to see him. I don’t work with him. [Roll my eyes and heave a deep sigh.] OK. Let me look up his number. [I open a drawer, pull out a phone list, and read names until I find John Doe.] It’s extension 1234. Did you get that?”

“No. What was it?”

“1234. So the whole number would be 555-1234. [Not the real numbers, you realize, dear reader. These are Hollywood numbers. But in the interests of anonymity.]”

I transfer her. What an idiot. I know I should have been nicer to her – what if it had been a customer? – but damn, if the customer is that clueless, is she going to remember me?

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