Friday, February 22, 2013

Number 757, Take Duece

As I sat here pondering just exactly what I want to blog about, a scary thought thrashed its way to the forefront and said (in a seriously stoner style voice) "Hey! What about if you took a new spin on an old mess?"

Puzzled, my first response to the thought was, "What in the wide, wide world of sports are you mumbling about?"

My second response, after I had thought about it for a while, mostly because I had to translate stoner mumble into abnormal American English, was, "Fer shure."

To translate for the normal folks out there in radio and t.v. land (no I'm not turning into Joe Dolce), I thought I would revisit some 5 year's worth of blog posts by having someone (anyone for that matter) with more intelligence than myself pick a number between 1 and 942, which in turn will allow me to pull up the corresponding post, post the link and write a brand new post that is somehow related to the original post.


Anyhow, I decided to start off the festivities by pulling up #757, which is about voice mail at work, and write a related post to that one. And before you ask, the rest of the post is not written on the fly, as I have a pre-written post about a month old all set to go. The next section is called....

The Telephone Is Ringing!

If you're like me, the bulk of your daily contact with the outside world is either thru the e-mail or thru the telephone. I've covered the petty annoyances with e-mail a few years ago, as well as with voice mail, so today's post will cover the petty little annoyance when you actually pick up the receiver and either say "Hello?" or to dial out.

Annoyance number one usually goes something like this:

"Payroll, G.B." (yes, I realize this is grossly unprofessional, but after doing payroll for 9 years, this is the best anyone is ever going to get)

"Can you hold on for a second?"

That's right boys and girls. I have just received the human version of a robo-call, in that the person called me and put me immediately on hold. I don't have a problem if I get put on hold a minute into the conversation due to some emergency, but if you put me on hold the second I pick up, the following will happen:


I'm not going to sit here and wait for you to get your act together. Get it together prior to calling me. That means whatever distractions you got going on in the background, be it family, t.v., or you have to pull over to the side of the road, fix it, solve it or destroy it. Then call me.

Annoyance number 2 is a bit more complex, and it goes like this:

Phone rings, I pick up and before I can say hello, I will inevitably hear one or more of the following things going on in the background.

1} screaming kids
2} screaming baby
3} screaming t.v.
4} screaming stereo
5} man/woman having a conversation with an unnamed second person

My usual response to this irritating background noise is to simply listen and wait until the person on the other end speaks. And depending on who the person is once I hear their voice will often dictate on how annoyed I should get (varying degrees of faux to real).

If I know the person and know their situation, then I'm more likely to cut them a lot of slack. If I know and don't like, then I won't cut them any slack.

Finally, annoyance number 3, which usually happens if i have to call another guv'ment agency. While I don't come across this issue dealing with the feds, I do come across this when I'm dealing with my own kind of stupid.

About 4 months ago, I got some paperwork on a former employee that I didn't know what to do with. So I called the peon who sent the form, and proceeded to listen to a two minute voice message detailing where they would be and what they were doing on a given day. I finally got to the end of the message, got the beep telling me to leave a message, but before I could leave a message, a computer voice broke in and said, "We're sorry, that mailbox is full."

Then it hung up and disconnected.

I won't tell you how incredibly pissed off I was when I got a dial tone in my ear, but I will tell you that I fired off a short fax asking for the person to contact me at their earliest convenience.

Still looking for that call back.


The purest and the most original form of inducing modern rage on the planet.


  1. Great idea for those of us who have been blogging a good while. I wish all my work interaction was by phone or email but no I get to deal with dumbasses up close and personal.

  2. My main telephone irritant is my boss. I love him, but he's always so busy that he can rarely give his full attention to a phone call. He's always trying to multitask. So I end up waiting while he pauses to make a left turn, or orders a sandwich, or finds a pen and paper (when he calls me for a phone number he never has a pen and paper ready to write it down with). Or sometimes he just talks... incredibly... slowly... until I'm ready to punch the phone. I'm always busy myself, so I only have so much patience.

  3. Travis: I started printing out my posts about three years ago, but gave up when I'd realized that they weren't in any kind of order beyond chronological.

    I still get to meet some dumbasses face to face, but when you work for a state guv'ment entity, one's private hell is via the phone and/or the e-mail.

    S.R.: I feel your pain. I have eavesdropped on co-worker's phone conversations, and I could literally feel their aggravation as the person on the other end was simply...not...getting...the...point...being...made.

  4. Few things irritate me more than someone calling me, then immediately putting me on hold. (Did you think before you planned this call?) My other favorite: "Oh, I was just going to leave you a message, I didn't think you'd answer." About Brazil nuts and glitter, no doubt.

  5. M: I've actually explained to someone why I had hung up on them when they had put me on hold right after calling me.

    They didn't talk to me for a week.

    And fortunately, I never got those types of calls that you've mentioned.

  6. I have to deal with the boss's daughter, who comes in for about 30 minutes every other day. I have to do much of her work for her and when she calls in, she often has a screaming child in her ear. It's all I can do to summon up the patience.

  7. Lynn: I truly feel your pain. I often have to straddle a very fine line when it comes to screaming kids in the background.

    Sometimes I'll tell the person to call me back when they get particular child under control, because usually it's very difficult to ask payroll related questions when a young child is out of control.

  8. All things irritating to everyone. I too hate for someone to call me and not be ready for the call.

    Will you define a "peon" for me. I kind of hate that term.

  9. The absolute worst is the first case scenario you described. I have zero tolerance for it and always hang up. I always laugh when they immediately call back and have this whole,"Why did you hang up on me??" attitude - lol! My response? "I hung up because no one was there."

  10. My favorite's when someone calls, I pick up, and they ask, "Who's this?" My answer is usually, "Well, you called me, genius, so who do you think this is?"

  11. G.A.: Sure thing.

    On a personal level, because I work for a state agency, I use the term to describe myself as a twisted badge of honor, simply because our HR staff will treat us like that.

    On a larger level, I use the term "peon" to describe people who make twice the money and have at least twice the education I have and yet still need someone to do their job.

    In this particular instance, the other agency in question has a well earned reputation (via the newspapers and television) of being "peons".

    My sincerest apologies if I have offended you with the term.

    Talon: I very rarely do it at work because it can backfire very badly, which for me is a very real possibility.

    So I mostly keep it within the family.

    ABfTS: I get a lot of that at work, because people really don't pay attention when they dial the phone and often get phone calls for a co-worker (the last two digits of his number are the reverse of mine).

  12. I hate the phone, and use it as little as possible. And the automated answering service drives me insane.

  13. Joe: Absolutely!

    Voice mail hell is the bane of my existence. Now it's getting to the point where I can't even be silent in order to get a customer service rep. I actually have to speak.


Go on, give me your best shot. I can take it. If I couldn't, I wouldn't have created this wonderful little blog that you decided to grace with your presence today.

About that comment moderation thingy: While yes, it does say up above I can take it, I only use it to prevent the occasional miscreant from leaving thoughtless and/or clueless comments.

So remember, all of your comments are greatly appreciated and all answers will be given that personal touch that you come to expect and enjoy.

G. B. Miller

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