Home > moving > Hello, you've reached 555-1212. How can I help you?*

Hello, you've reached 555-1212. How can I help you?*

May 15, 2006

It always amazes me how many people never learned proper telephone manners. I mean, I am not a huge fan of the phone, much preferring an email–for getting quick messages to people–or a personal conversation–for those more in-depth discussions–but at least I know how to talk on the phone.

Today, I am calling people about apartments because I’d like to go look at some this week. I have spoken with two people who were VERY nice–cordial, informed, and apparently completely cognizant of the fact that, as people looking to rent an apartment, they need to be POLITE.

I have also spoken with one person who was all but unintelligible, though helpful, and I can forgive her lack of mechanical skill with the telephone because her attitude was nice.

But the two other folks I reached on the phone today? Heh heh heh.

One is, presumably, the resident of the apartment. I called. He answered with a mumbled, muffled, hungover-sounding “‘Lo?” It’s 1:30 in the afternoon on a Monday, by the way. I asked for “John.” He replied, “‘s John.” I said I was calling about the apartment and wanted some more information. He said something that I couldn’t even guess at, it was so muffled, and promptly hung up on me.

Nice.

The other one is even worse, really. He was an apartment finder/locator. I called and said I was curious about the apartment they had listed. He interrupted me to ask, “When did you need to move in?” I said, “Well, July 1 or maybe la…” and he, again, cut me off to say, “We can’t rent that for July 1.” And then he hung up on me.

Whatever happened to a nice, “I’m sorry. Thank you for calling!”? Or at least a “Goodbye!”? It’s easy to blame geography (like, “All New Yorkers are rude” and “All Southerners talk too slow.”). But I talked to at least three helpful people today! So it’s not geography!

I’m not thrilled about continuing to make calls. But I will, and I will keep my manners, and I will hope that no one else will hang up on me today.

*This was the way one of my grade-school textbooks said everyone should answer the phone. That’s a little extreme, but I wouldn’t mind a return to it, if it meant no one would hang up on me.

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