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Crazy callers are a job hazard

If you work for a newspaper, like I do, dealing with phone calls from odd people is a job hazard. Yes, I see some of you nodding your heads in agreement already.

I just entertained one weird caller a few minutes ago who wanted to know how she can get her short stories published. She claimed reading an article about it about 2 weeks ago.

I didn’t want to put her on hold so I, the nice me, asked for her contact details so I can call her back later with the info that she needed.

She claimed she read an article titled When will we publish our own short stories? written by a well-known columnist. I checked in our system and the article she was referring to was actually titled So when we film our own short stories?

Instantly I knew that her call had nothing to do with the article. She just needed a lead on how she can kick start her ambition of becoming a published author. I actually went into the trouble of googling Silverfish for their contact number and passed it to her. She was grateful to me and said that I was prompt. She said in in a tuan besar to orang gaji manner.

I’m just happy if I never ever hear from her again.

Why do I say that she’s odd? Because she has this shrilly voice that just gave me an unpleasant feeling. She sounded like a persistent bully, like the boss who wants everything done by yesterday and does not know how to ask you nicely.

Don’t ask me how I can tell this but I know it in my heart. I suppose you can call it intuition.

I suppose I’m just being mean but I won’t be surprised if her stories suck. I mean, how can a good writer behave like that? How can a good writer not know where to get her stories published? Hello, haven’t she heard of the Internet? or Google?

Which brings me back to the subject of crazy callers we get here at the office. mspillay personally has had to handle a caller who wanted to know the definition of a word which can be easily found in the dictionary. Like we don’t have anything better to do than check up words for you.

It’s amazing the number of people out there who do not have basic telephone courtesy. It’s simple really. When making a call, introduce yourself and the company you represent before asking the person on the other line for his/her name. After all, it’s YOU who is calling (i.e interrupting) them.

This reminds me of when I was in uni. My housemate chatted with this guy who would get angry when we refused to entertain his droning calls. (He’s a lonely, sick pervert so no point feeling sorry for him).

Once, I hung up on him mid-call and pulled out the phone line because he went on talking even when I said I have to go and I was going to put the phone down. So when my housemate picked up his call the next day, he was so mad, he threatened to call the police. I mean, who is harrasing who here? Crazy people!

How do we deal with these callers? As politely as possible. I refuse to be the lesser “man” so my plan is to kill them with kindness. At least they can’t accuse me of being nasty. In the end, I am the better person.

One point for suzie, zero point for crazy caller!



Suziemclean is a Piscean who can't swim. She is 40 and married to a wonderful (younger) man who makes her laugh, and finds her corny sense of humour "endearing". She lives with her husband, family and cat in Shah Alam.

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