Everything I Like Causes Cancer

Where we've been convinced to write a new post on Dec. 2. Stay tuned!

The following exchange is an exact account of a real event.  The scene opens in a small but tastefully decorated office, and I've just placed a call . . .

Receptionist (played by a moron): “Dewey, Cheatem and Howe.”

Me: “Good morning. Is Dick Cheatem available?”

TM: “He’s not in the office.”


(See, this is the place where the moron answering the phone should offer me options, like voice mail or taking a message. BUT SHE DOESN’T. SHE JUST SITS THERE LIKE THE MORON SHE IS. I picture her drooling at her desk while I wait to see what she will do next.)

*if you can believe it, more crickets*

(I’ve been through this routine so many times that I revel in the uncomfortable silence. Usually they can’t take it and say something but this one was particularly thick-headed. I finally break.)

Me: “Okay.  What are my options?”

TM, all snotty now: “He’s out of the country.”

Me: “I get it.  He's not available. Are there alternatives to speaking with him?”

(What I really wanted to say: “Look you fucking moron, taking a message or offering me voice mail is your fucking job, and it isn’t a hard one. Your employer probably didn’t run off to parts unknown assuming that everyone who called his business while he was gone would be turned away.”)

TM: “Hold on.”

(This is where I whisper that she’s a fucking idiot while I’m on hold and hope that she hasn’t sneakily put me on speaker phone.)

TM, still snotty: “If you’re calling about a case you can talk to one of his associates.”

Me: “Now THAT’S an option. Yes, I would like that, please.”

And you know, I wouldn't have devoted 20 minutes of my life to writing out this little exchange and posting it here WITH ALL CAPS PARTS if this were an isolated incident.  It happens ALL THE TIME.  Really, how fucking hard is it to answer a phone, pleasantly communicate with the public, and helpfully transfer calls and take messages?  I assert that it is not hard at all and that exchanges like this should happen much less often than they do, if at all.

*shakes head and clicks publish*


Unknown said...

I agree! Classes are needed in all aspects of customer service!

words...words...words... said...

Someone named "Dick Cheatem" probably doesn't have hiring quality help high on his list of priorities.

Getting down with some strange, however, IS high on the list.

Cora said...

Grrrr. I wonder if the lawyers realize they are paying good money for the incompetent, snobby chick to pretty much sit around and do nothing?

BeckEye said...

Come on, give her a break. You probably interrupted her game of solitaire.

SkylersDad said...

You left out the part where she tells you to "hold on a sec" while she finishes the story about boinking the hot dude with her equally clueless friend leaning on the cube wall.

Hey Monkey Butt said...

bwhahaha... I get a lot of sales calls here wanting the owners. I tend to do the exact thing to them, but they aren't so patient, they hang up on me!

Crimson Ebolg said...

Being a receptionist is a shitty job and maybe she was new, or had just had an awful call from an incredibly rude customer. It certainly doesn't excuse the bizarre lack of basic telephone skills, but I guess what I'm saying is don't take this sort of thing personally. There are a lot of people out there who are terrible at customer service, but equally there are a lot of people who have just had a bad day. What I mean is, if someone has been rude to you, because someone was rude to them earlier in the day, make sure you are the one who stops the chain of negativity. (Wow, I sound like a self help book!)

Scope said...

Does she realize that many places have replaced her job with a computer. And not one of those big ones with all the blinky lights and tape wheels that spin like in those old movies, one about the size of a coffee table book.

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

As I'm sure you can imagine I was once the worlds best receptionist so I am greatly upset when on the rare occasion that a live human being answers the phone at a business and they have no idea how to converse. Why bother to pay someone to answer the phone at all?

So. Cal. Gal said...

I was a secretary for 16 years but it would've been 16 seconds if I had done that. I'd tell him when he gets back.

I had to make a doctor appt. and gave the "receptionist" my name, spelling it for her.

She: That's not how you spell it. Me: Umm...what?
She: It's spelled (insert her version).
Me: Mine's different (spelling it again).
She: You're wrong.
Me: click

I called back, asked for the nurse and made the appt. When I saw the Dr. I complained and he said I wasn't the only one. She must be a relative since she's still there. And I still ask for the nurse when I need to make an appt.

Anonymous said...

I will say this - not all receptionists are created equal. I am a student staff member in the Residence Life Office at my school, and one of my jobs is to answer the phone. I hate it when other receptionists act like they don't like their jobs. Honestly, I HATE the phone - if I could black it out, I would, and my job would be that much more pleasant. BUT - THAT BEING SAID - I do try my best to assist those who call. I mean, it's my job...duh!

T. Roger Thomas said...

I'll bet she's hot.

*^_^* said...

So true!
Vigorously nodding my head in agreement!

Dawn at Revenge of the Thirds said...

While I wholeheartedly agree with your disapproval, let's take a gander at the other side of the coin: I (grumpily) handle incoming calls for part of the day at work, yet I still manage to be generally pleasant. However, I cannot *stand* when someone gets through the automated system, which clearly tells them to press 2 for parts or 3 for service, and then asks me for the parts or service department.

Naturally, I send them on their way over to the correct department, but the process is a whole lot quicker and more efficient if the automated system is used.

Great. It sounds all petty when it's typed out.

Whiskeymarie said...

That might have been me- I worked as a truly terrible receptionist for a while, back in the day. Once I filled out an invoice for a customer incorrectly, and overcharged them by $2500.

And when I say "once", I mean "almost every time."

hypnotism techniques said...

Good communication skills and proper customer service is really a must these days.

GhostOfTyrone said...

Stop complaining.

LegalMist said...

She's clearly out of her element. And must be a bombshell, or she'd have been fired already.

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Cowguy said...

Oh my God... my bloggin still works.


Kimberly said...

I always offer VM - ALWAYS.

ShanaM said...

The receptionist and the busdriver know eachother, I think!

Punk Chopsticks said...

LOL call me when you become a billionaire (which I'm sure you will be)

People like that are all pover the p;lace, I've learnt. Which is one of the reasons they banned guns in Malaysia

Tours in Venice said...

We always talk about how a monkey can do a receptionist's job... well try to imagine how I felt moving to LA trying to apply for a job... apparently you need a bachelors degree and 3 years of experience in the field. What is that about?!?!

mo.stoneskin said...

I don't understand why you didn't describe the scene where you delicately barged into her office and spat in her drink. :(

acting classes los angeles said...

I think it's fascinating when someone with a job as challenging as SECRETARY can't complete a task like talking to someone on the phone. I can't imagine how great her copying skills are, or typing for that matter! Sounds like a winner.

Internet Marketing Los Angeles said...

Hahahaa I've had almost that exact same conversation before! I'll never understand people like that. If your job is answering the phone or providing customer service, then be nice! It's literally your only responsibility lol


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access doors said...

Seriously, I've done reception before, the bare MINIMUM they can do is ask intelligent questions and give at least semi-intelligent answers! That's not so hard, right??

Luna said...

Can't wait to read through the rest of your blog to catch up. This made my day. Thanks.

mo.stoneskin said...

Oi, you, what's the deal? I'm making a pitiful comeback and you're off the radar :(

Scope said...

@ Mo. I'm still subscribed to you, but you didn't show up in Blogger with new posts. But clicking the link, I see the new stuff.

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Scope said...

I'm trying a "Cyber Monday" challenge for bloggers. Will you take the challenge?

Read more on my blog, SCOPE-TECH

Scope said...

I'm hosting "Cyber Monday" again this year over at SCOPE-TECH. Just post something, anything, on Monday, December 1, and then post a link over on my blog.

Last year was a great way to reconnect with bloggers that had started to fade away.

Won't you play along?

If your blog is dead, but you want to just send me a blurb, I'll post it on Scope-Tech.


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