Christmastime in the Emerald City

{July 13, 2007}   How to Survive Hurricane Receptionist.

For those of you not wanting me to search out your addresses and pay a visit to your garage with gasoline and a match, please take heed of the following when calling my business centre, or stepping foot into my underpaid reception area.

1. Do not ask me to take a message for you because you don't want to speak to someone's assistant. I don't know what the fuck you are talking about with your forms and your affidavits, because I literally just answer the phones. Speak to the assistant, that's what she was hired for. 

2. I don’t have a clue where your lawyer, tax consultant, fucking gardener for all I know happens to be at this moment, and I certainly don’t know when they’ll be returning. Don’t ask me where they are, and certainly do not ask me to go get them. Or ask, but do not be offended when I reply “Oh, certainly! Let me leave my desk and ignore everyone else’s calls because you say so! Fucking princess.” 

3. Do not fall asleep in my reception area. I don’t care how comfortable our couches are: nobody wants to have you lean on them, or stare into your ugly maw while you snore. The first time you do this, I will press my magic button and make the courtesy phone next to you ring. I leave it on high for a reason. Do it again and I will come over and hit you. 

4. Do not come up to my desk, comment on how you like my glasses, hair, sarcasm, etc., call me ‘baby,’ and ask if I’ve had lunch yet. I am not swayed by your moves. I am particularly unswayed when your moves cause you to drop items on my desk. You lose. Get out. 

5. When you arrive for an appointment and I ask your name, reply with your name and preferrably a “thank you, miss.” Do not begin to spell it for me. I don’t care how it’s spelled. I don’t care if it’s Kathy or Cathy, it’ll sound the same when I phone whoever it is you’re seeing. And guess what: Mohammed is not that uncommon of a name, nor is it’s pronounciation difficult for anyone who isn’t a moron. 

6. When I transfer you to someone, and you get their voicemail, leave a message. Do not call me back to inform me that they didn’t pick up and wonder what to do. I don’t care. This is what voicemail is for. Don’t you dare have the gall to say “You transferred me to a machine. I need to speak to a real live person.” I did not transfer you to a machine. I transferred you to their office. A machine is what happens when they are not there. Not there, meaning unavailable. Meaning you can’t have them, no matter how important you think you are. A real live person is what calls you back when you leave a message on the machine. What you’re telling me is that you want them now. You want instant gratification. To this I simply say: No. You can’t have it. If you want instant gratification, open a can of Pepsi. If you want your lawyer to get you off your DUI charge, or your immigration lawyer to get your border-hopping husband out of jail, or you need directions to some sort of meeting, you are just going to have to leave a message and wait. 

7. Do not call me and bitch at me because someone hasn’t returned your call. I understand that you are frustrated, and I have no problem if you ask me if somebody is on vacation or otherwise unavailable (then again, I usually don’t know – people have left the country for months without my knowledge.) But the moment you break out the attitude, you lose my sympathy. I’ve got control of your call, asshole. You might want to watch your manners. “I’ve left several messages, and this is unacceptable.” Okay, and this matters to me personally because…? Oh, you want me to take your name and number down. Right. Because that’s going to make them call back sooner. Somehow, me saying “this person was a snarky son of a bitch to me” is going to convey a stronger sense of urgency than you being a snarky son of a bitch in a recorded message. Here’s a clue, dickwad. A voicemail will not ‘accidentally’ lose your message when you tell it to ‘add it to the pile’ with a haughty snort. Fuck you. 

8. Do not tell me what country you are calling from. I don’t care. This is how technology works. You call, I answer. You don’t start saying “hello?” because I’ve already taken care of that part. You simply ask to speak with whomever you need. I then push a button and put your call through. I cannot tell them from where you are calling. I will not lean over my desk and yell down the hall “yeah, you better pick this one up, because they’re calling from overseas…yeah, becaue I know sometimes you just don’t feel like picking up the phone even though your business depends on acquiring new clients.” I put your call through. If they don’t pick up, you leave a message. Just because you are calling from Halal Abdul wherever, it is not going to make them suddenly appear in their chair.  

9. When in a foreign country, it is not always necessary or feasible to instantly learn the native language, even such a widely spoken one as English. It is generally advisable, however, to at least be able to ask if anyone does speak your language. I get many such calls: “Excuse me dear, is there anyone speaking Persian?” Or “Can I speak Farsi?” Or “Do you have Russian lawyers?” This is perfectly acceptable, and very polite. I don’t even mind an “um…sorry…can I? Um…Persian?” I know English is quirky. However, failing that, simply yelling your language at me doesn’t work. “Um…Russian? Yes, Russian?” will result in “One moment please,” while “FARSI!!! FARSI!!!” will result in “DEUTSCH! ESPANOL! POLSKI! CLICK-CLICK BLOODY CLICK PANCAKES!!!” Yelling at me does not make me spontaneously multilingual. 

10. Don’t show up for an appointment to see a career advisor, and complain when it’s five minutes past because you have to be at your half-ass McJob in half an hour. You’re learning how to get a real job, as indicated by your ability to get lost in the elevator on the way here. Time management skills, people. You learned this in high school. Sit tight and shut up. This is why you didn’t get that real job you were hoping for in the first place – because you’re an idiot. 

11. Do not show up at my reception area looking for someone who has moved out several months ago and then get upset when I tell you that they are not here. They are gone. “But how can I find them?” I don’t know; I’m afraid they didn’t leave any forwarding information. I’d help you if I could, but I’ve never even heard of them. It’s just a business centre. ”But I need to speak to them.” (Blank stare, as all sympathy dissovles.) They are gone. Not here. Gone bye-bye. “But how do I find them? I need to find them.” I understand that, but they are not here. I realize that they have several thousands of your dollars, but I can assure you that I do not. ”But where did they go?” Probably somewhere back through those doors you just walked through, and I’m pretty sure down the elevators and somewhere outside the building, if not the country. Good luck. Get out. 

12. Don’t show up to see someone about your traffic ticket, particularly when you’ve simply walked in off the street as opposed to making an actual appointment, and then ask me to page them after waiting less than ten minutes, claiming that you can’t wait very long as you’ve parked illegally downstairs. Also, do not complain if it turns out they are not in the office. This is what apponitments are for. Driving several hours to see somebody without calling ahead is somewhat of a crapshoot, and you’re an idiot for chancing it.  

13. Don’t show up to see your immigration consultant twenty minutes early, and wonder what’s taking him so long. Please also refrain from informing me that you’re in a hurry because you’ve left your wife and three kids in the car downstairs. This is why you are not allowed in the country. 

14. Well behaved children are acceptable. Loud, obnoxious children that climb on the glass table in disrupt other clients will be eaten. I’m vegetarian. But I will make an exception for your children. 

15. Do not show up asking to see ”that lawyer guy, I don’t remember his name.” If you’re here to see your lawyer and you don’t know his name, go home. You fail at life.  

16. Do not get mad at me because you have the wrong number. I answer the phone in the name of the company you’ve reached. I don’t care if InfoCanada has given you this number in response to your quest for some sort of hemorrhoid clinic, it is not the right number. You are wrong. Do not rudely inform me that you’ve called three days in a row and that this is the number you were told to call. You’re still wrong, and I’m pretty sure I know where I work. Thanks.

Keep these in mind, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, morons of all ages, and you just might live to survive my kind of Friday.


Talea says:

Dude, awesome. And I wholeheartedly agree. Screaming FARSI does not actually mean something. I hate that game.

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