Friday, October 07, 2005

True Confession

I like to present myself as a cool, calm, polite individual, moderate and thoughtful in all things. But such is not always the situation, I'm afraid.

Case in point, this evening. I'm working on a short story I promised a friend and a telemarketer calls. Nothing out of the ordinary. She slurs the name of the company she's representing. She gets my name wrong (as I noted below, I use that as a way of getting up the defenses in time). She says that someone at the household has answered a phone questionaire. I tell her that this is highly unlikely (The Lovely Bride is even more unwilling to deal with telemarketers than I am). She tells me that this is what their records indicate, and I must be wrong. I tell her in a forceful voice to put us their do-not-call list.

She pleads that she did not understand because I was shouting.

I explain that what she heard was not shouting.

Then I demonstrate for her what shouting was, and hung up in a righteous fury.

And I immediately think, "Where the heck did THAT come from?" I tried to remember the last time I was that loud and unpleasant on the phone (I think it was another telemarketer, many years ago, who called looking for donations for a no-name Veterans group, and when I demurred, snarled "Whaddaya got against Veterans?"). I felt a little sheepish - I had been raised to treat people politely, regardless of how boneheaded they were.

And then she called back.

I know what you're thinking - a chance of redemption, of making nice. Of at least finding out how she was so badly trained.

Such was not to be. As soon as she identified herself, she was greeted with requests of "Do not call back" and "Put us on your do not call list" in ever-increasing volume, until she finally said, "Yes, sir, I will, if only you'd. . ." The rest of her words were cut off as I said "Thank you" cheerfully and hung up on her.

And so I still felt guilty, and after staring at the story for ten more minutes, feeling bad about myself, I abandoned my work and fired up World of Warcraft. And though I proceeded to cast Power Word: Fortitudes and Heal spells on needy travelers, it did little to abate my guilt.

Yet I will provide the following free advice for the poor slugs who have to call people like me to sell filtration systems, screen doors, and gutters:

1) Get my name right on the first bounce.
2) Don't disagree with me or disrepect me.
and 3) Never, EVER wear a headset.

More later,