Lyle's Blog

The Phone Call

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I was setting up for poker last evening when Chris, our cashier came back with the phone.

"I have a very strange call here", he said. "It is one of those operators like the deaf use. I thought it was an order and then they said they would only talk to the owner".

I took the phone and asked how I could be of assistance. The operator, very monotone asked me if I understood how the system worked. I have talked to deaf people before on the phone having hired one years ago so I said , "Yes".

The following is a somewhat remembrance of the call. My frustration and stress from trying to finish my job before all of the people arrived probably clouded my thoughts but it went something like this:

Operator: What would you like to say to them.
Me: Tell them that I am the owner and how can I help them.
You must speak as if you were speaking to them not to me.
Ok, I am the owner. How can I help you.
Is that what you want to say?
Yes
Then tell me end of message
OK, end of message
What did you say after I am the owner.
How can I help you.
No, what did you say after I am the owner
I said, How can I help you.
Was that the end of message
Yes
Wait a minute while I relay the message.
OK
They say, I would like to order.....
(I interrupt as Chris can take an order so I don't hear all that she says)
If it is an order that you want, Chris can easily take that.
Please do not interrupt, the other party is speaking. I would like to order this for March 6th to be picked up by private courier. I have my credit card ready to pay.
What?
How would you like to respond?
What did you just say?
How would you like to respond?
No, before that.
I need you to respond. It is now your turn.
I would but I don't know what you said. Will you restate their message.
Please don't talk to me, talk to them. What do you want to say to them.
I am talking to you. I did not hear their response. Please repeat it.
Sir, I told you not to talk to me. Talk to them.
I don't know what they said.
Is that what you want to say to them.
That is what I am saying to you.
Please don't talk to me. I am the operator.
(I went silent....frustrated by the conversation)
Ok, tell them that I need more information. that the operator will not repeat what you are saying.
What did you say after more information? (funny, she could talk to me but I could not talk to her)
I said, that the operator will not repeat what you are saying.
Is that all?
Yes
You need to say "End of Message"
Ok, end of message.
Wait while I get their response
(A few minutes later came the response)
I would like to order 200 orders of Chicken breast and salad for my husband's birthday on March 6th to be picked up by private courier around 6PM. I am prepared to pay with my credit card. How much will you charge me? End of message
Is that all?
Is that what you want to say to them?
No, I am talking to you. There is so much more that needs to be known of this order. Do they want a full meal, what kind of salad dressing, do they want.....
(she cuts me off, curtly)
Sir, I said don't talk to me talk to them. I can only be the interpreter.
Well then, interpret this...... I need more information.
Is that all?
Yes
Then say end of message.
(Now all of the people around me are seeing the frustration and laughing at my obvious plight)
I need more information...end of message.......Mam, I am really busy right now and am working on a charity event. I cannot give my attention to all of this.
Sir, you cant put more after end of message. Do you want me to move that end of message to the end of message?
No, I am telling you that I cannot continue as I am needed here.
Would you like me to tell them that?
No, tell them that I need more information before I can give them a price.
Is that all?
Yes
Then please say end of message
End of message
Ok, please wait while I get their response.
(a few more minutes go by before the response returns)
They say, I would like to order 200 orders of Chicken breast and salad for my husband's birthday on March 6th to be picked up by private courier at 6PM. Please give me a price, I am ready to pay by credit card.
I can't give them a price based on that? I need more information.
Don't talk to me, I am the operator, talk only to them.
I am telling you that this is very frustrating
(She interrupts, now more louder, shouting over my voice)
I said, Don't talk to me...talk only to them.
This is very hard. I need more information. I need to know so much more.
Is that what you want to tell them?
I am telling you.
Don't talk to me. talk only to them.
I need to give my attention to the people that are here for my charity event.
Is that what you want me to say to them?
Why can you talk to me and I cannot talk to you.
Please sir, say only what you want to say to them and then follow it with end of message so that I know you are done.
But I need so much more information.
Is that what you want me to say to them?
Mam, I am going to hang up
Is that what you want me to say to them...if so say end of message.
I am telling you that I cannot continue and that I need to hang up the phone.
Don't talk to me, talk only to them.
(Silence for a few minutes.....I am now totally frazzled. I don't know how to say. I don't know how to get my point across and I don't know how I can possibly finish this conversation that is now far more than 30 minutes)
I need them to come in and see me for an order like this.
Don't talk to me...talk only to them.
I am sorry
Is that what you want me to say to them.
I am sorry.....end of message

Totally frustrated, I drop my shoulders, hang up the phone, and hand the phone to Chris. I look around and wonder if it was a prank call. As I process it in my mind, I can only feel that it was real. I wonder if the person on the other end was as frustrated as me. A simple help by the operator in the middle could of helped but I still don't see how I could have completed the transaction. Even being able to speak directly to the person and get immediate response, there are so many variables that it often takes quite a bit to complete something like this.
Do they want bulk? Do they want only Chicken Breast and salad? What kind of dressing? Will you have your own containers? How many Chicken Breasts per person do you want? Do you want that in individual meals and if so, with the normal potato and veggie? The list can go on and on and can change with each response.

I suppose looking back at it, I should have just said, "Yes, it will be $2000. That is $10 per order.

Oh, and don't forget......end of message

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