[Masthead] Fair ~ 41°F  
High: 66°F ~ Low: 52°F
Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Ross Rambles: Second hand communication

Monday, June 4, 2007

Anyone who has answered a phone at a business knows how frustrating it can be dealing with a person who needs to talk to someone who is unavailable.

"Hello, how may I direct your call?" the unsuspecting person asks.

"Did you know that your company's business practices are contributing to the moral decline of the planet and will likely have tragic and irreversible consequences?" the caller shouts into the phone.

"I wasn't aware of that. Perhaps you would like to talk to Mr. Meister. He is not in right now but I can let you have his voice mail."

"I don't want his voice mail! You just tell him that under section 22-H of the state code, an entity operating within the parameters established for your infrastructure requirements is mandated to satisfy the specifications as set under chapter 19 of the manual for specification satisfaction…"

"I'll put you through to Mr. Meister's voice mail."

"I don't want anybody's voice mail! You tell Mr. Meister that his incipient incongruity creates disassociated modalities… Hey! I said I didn't want his voice mail!"

Sometimes a caller will want to talk to someone who is not the person who the caller needs to talk to.

Let's say Grady Grumbley wants to have his portfolio updated with a more aggressive mix of progressive accounts. He demands to talk to Percival Hightone, the founder, CEO and undisputed sovereign of the company.

"I want my portfolio updated with a more aggressive mix of progressive accounts," Grumbley informs Hightone.

"I'll let you talk to Mack Minion. He's well qualified to handle your portfolio," Hightone suggests.

"No, there's an old saying that a person should go straight to the top," says Grumbley, who believes that old sayings are always correct.

So Hightone makes a mental note to refer the matter to Mack Minion and listens as Grumbley talks. Hightone makes polite noises into the phone while his mind drifts to the leftover eggplant casserole he'll be having for supper.

Later, Hightone directs Minion to contact Grumbley, "something about an aggressive mix of dates." So Minion calls Grumbley and asks what kind of dates he wants to change.

Grumbley thinks to himself, "Doesn't this idiot know what I'm talking about?" Not wanting to explain what he has already explained in detail, Grumbley speaks with the assumption that Minion knows at least the basics of what he is talking about.

Minion thinks to himself, "Does this idiot think I know what he's talking about?" So Minion asks questions, indicating that Grumbley needs to start from the beginning.

In frustration, Grumbley says, "Just ask Mr. Hightone. He knows what I'm talking about."

So Minion and Hightone try to figure out together what Grumbley was talking about. Naturally, they get it wrong but they aren't too worried. They know that Grumbley will vent his frustration by yelling at the receptionist.