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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Weekend ahoy

This week has been rather interesting.  I have been rather bemused by a series of telephone calls I have received and made.  Firstly, although this post is not only about telemarketers, I should apologise to any that I am about to offend.  I have no problem with telemarketers who have an honest approach, but most of those I encounter, certainly do not. 

My first call this week was from 'Billie'.  I answered the telephone with my usual, cheery, 'Good morning', followed by the name of our company and my name.  'Hi Tracie', she said, 'can I talk to Dana'.  I resisted being my mother and suggesting she add the word, 'please', but, instead. asked who was calling.  She introduced herself.  I was convinced she was not a client, but asked, 'from?'  This was not understood.  I repeated, 'where are you calling from?'  Billie did not hesitate.  Billie was obviously familiar with pushy, nosey receptionists such as myself, and very confidently said, 'It's a personal call'.  Oh, really!  'Well hey Billie, this is Dana's wife, how can I help you?'  Poor Billie, she was not expecting that, but following the heavy sigh, she continued to wish me a good morning, and said that we wasn't trying to sell me anything.  I was rather grateful for that.  Billie continued to tell me that she was interested in saving me money and wanted to provide me with a wonderful investment opportunity.  'For a few dollars a month....'.  Oh Billie, you are silly; you blew it! 

I am, as those who know me will confirm, the queen of sarcasm, and although it is reportedly the lowest form of wit, I consider myself to be at the top of the bottom.  My favourite word when someone is stating the obvious, is 'really?' 

The second call that I received was from an Attorney who presumed that I knew nothing.  Being very professional, I listened and added, 'really?' at the appropriate points.  The explanation of how to deliver the paper was rather elaborate.  After providing the technicalities, he continued to tell me that whomever was going to deliver the paper, would have to 'walk into the building occupied by the Secretary of State, and find the floor where the Citation's department is at'.  Should he put his left foot in, his left foot out? Should an attorney end a sentence with a preposition? It was at this point that I realised I was being spoken to very slowly, and very precisely.  'Doo yoo th-ink yoo c'an doo th-is?'  I resisted the 'Heck yeah', and gave him the answer that he would appreciate.  'I am sure we can take care of this for you'.  I didnt mention about ending the sentence in a preposition.  That would have been rude, innit!

I had received a handful of papers that had been issued incorrectly, and my calls to the various courthouses were very diverse ranging from the apologetic to the accusing.  I can understand the frustration when an English speaking woman with a very English accent, tells a clerk in an American Court, that their paperwork is wrong.  I am always very polite.  'Good morning', I begin, and quote the case number.  By the time I am put through to the right department, my 'Good morning' has become less cheery.  The reception, as I have said, varies.  Some people just laugh and say, 'must have had a bad day', or 'how did that happen?', and offer to send me a corrected paper.  Others are a little less helpful. I have to explain why the paper is wrong, and sometimes have to send back the paperwork, in order to get it corrected.  Then there are those that refuse to admit there is anything wrong.  When explaining the name of the defendant is wrong, it is hard to argue that J.o.h.n. S.m.i.t.h, does not spell Bill Jones.  'Yes, I am well aware that that the letters J, O and N are on the paper; it's just that they are not in the right order!'  I am not saying that the intelligence level is low, I do believe it is the challenge by a foreigner that sets off the defence mechanism.  I do have a wonderful telephonic relationship with a lot of courts, and they generally will respond with a jovial, 'What's wrong this time?' 

Being put through to the right department, however, is another bugging issue.  I interrupt the Post Offices automated lady, constantly.  I know her routine.  'Welcome', she says, so politely.  She tells me to listen very carefully, as the choices may have changed.   'Again?  I only spoke to you earlier this morning', I reply.  We chit-chat for a while.  I mainly say, 'Yes' or 'No'. She asks me to make my choice again.  She doesn't always understand.  Fortunately, she never terminates the call.  There is nothing worse than getting to stage 25 of the automated call, having spoken plainly and precisely into the mouthpiece, 'Yes', 'No', pressing numbers 1, 2, and three when prompted, and then getting distracted.  'Milk, no sugar', is interpreted as 'forget it, I give up', and the automated lady says, 'that is not a valid option, goodbye!'  'NOOOOO, come back;  It was a mistake', but alas, it is too late, and the last 45 minutes of your life have gone forever. 

If pressing '0' for the operator does not work, I try the 'confusion option'.  Fortunately, you can tell by stage one if this is going to work.  Mrs Auto will cut you off immediately if she is not going to play.  'What would you like?', she asks.  'I want to talk to a person, please'.  Always say please.  It stands you in good stead when they play back the tape; the tape that is recording constantly while you are listening to Mrs Auto. Saying please also prevents people like me issuing the manners reminder.  (I have become my mother!) 'I want to talk to a person, please', I say, and Mrs. Auto tells me she doesn't understand.  She asks for a response to her suggestions.  It is now that I really don't care who is listening, or taping my conversation.  'Fliberdybits', I say into the mouthpiece.  Mrs Auto is not impressed.  'It's Tuesday', is my next response.  Mrs. Auto is now rather confused.  Finally, after a dozen interruptions in less than a minute, she finally admits defeat and reluctantly utters those sought after words, 'I will put you through to an operator'.  Of course, the real person may not be particularly helpful, but at least you can hear someone breath, even if it is a heavy sigh.

This mornings offering was a classic.  I answered the telephone to Mr. Auto. (Mrs Auto probably had the morning off to take the kids to the dentist, or do the housework.) I was told that my car warranty was about to expire.  I had a little time to spare so I did hold on and wait for the operator.  I was intrigued as to how Mr Auto knew anything about my car, (as I have mentioned, I currently share a car with Samantha, right down the middle, 90/10 split in her favour; I'm told that is fair!) Perhaps Mrs
Auto believes in revenge.  The operator came on to the line,and I waited for the gentleman to recite his lines, and finally he asked me to 'remind' him what was the year, make and model of my car.  I 'reminded' him.  'I have a 1969 Vauxhaul Viva'.  Complete silence.  'Huh?, sorry could you repeat that?'  I did.  For those not in the know, the Vauxhaul Viva was a British made car which was discontinued in 1979.  'Um, we cant give you a warranty on a car THAT old'.  Oh dear, what a shame.  Better luck next time.

I have had a lot of positive calls this week.  I have had many compliments on my accent and been asked many questions on delivering court documents.  There is nothing more flattering than an American accent belonging to an attorney asking for me to advise them.

Tomorrow is Friday.  Perhaps it will be non-eventful, but a non-eventful Friday is not common.  Next week I am going to the opera with tickets won through a competition, so that will be something different.  I love competitions, but will stop there, as that IS......another story.

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