A Phoney Fable

Ring Ring.

Laura: Bob’s Blue Boxes, this is Laura.
Girl on the other end of the Phone (GOOPH): Oh my god, is that old man still here?
Laura: Uh….
GOOPH: Did you see him? *Bleepitty-bleep* he was weird.
Laura: Uh… hello?
GOOPH: Oh! Hi there! Is the owner available?
Laura: Well… I don’t think so, I but I can check. Could I tell him who’s calling?
GOOPH: Oh! My name is [Sally May], and I’m calling about a community service opportunity.
Laura: Hold on a moment.
[I put her on Hold, waited a few seconds without making any attempt to find the owner, then picked up again.]
Laura: I’m sorry, he’s out of the office. Can I take a message?
GOOPH: Oh! No, that’s okay. Good bye. *click*

This happens to me all the time at work. I answer the phone only to find the person on the other end fully engaged with some third party in a conversation that doesn’t involve me at all. Usually, it doesn’t involve swearing or gossiping, but there you have it. Poor old man.

I find such phone behavior to be truly atrocious. Worse, even, than people who let their bad day shine through in their conversation. (“*SIGH*I guess I can check to see how much banner material we have in stock. *SIGH*) It tells me that the call is not important to the person who dialed me up in the first place. It immediately makes me want to hang up or suggest the caller take a phone etiquette class. But I did take a phone etiquette class, so I know well enough to hold my tongue.

So please – if you read this – think about it next time you make a call. If you picked up the phone and dialed, it should have been because you wanted to talk to the person on the other end. Give ’em at least that much respect.

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