I suppressed my telephone monster one morning when the woman caller incorrectly pronounced my daughter Josie’s first name, “May I speak to Nina (Nee-nah)?” We call both our girls by their middle names; a fate they will never forgive us for. Nina Josephine (Josie); Anna Katherine (Kathie); can you tell the same parents picked those names?
I corrected her, “We say that (long “I” as in ice) ‘Nina’.” It was my mother’s name, my great- aunt’s before her and that’s how they both said it. I was wishing I had ignored the phone since this was someone who knew nothing about us and therefore invaded my precious morning space.
I urged myself to be polite.
“My daughter is away at college. What is the nature of your call?”
“She had her taxes done at [our company]. We’re calling to thank her for her business.”
What a crock! “May I ask a question?” I imposed. “We had her taxes prepared with ours and we paid for them all, so why are you calling to thank her?”
“Oh, well ma’am, you will probably be getting a thank-you call from us, too. You’re all on a list.”
“Yes,” I agreed. “I’m sure there’s a list. We’re always a list.” I paused. There was no sound on the other end. My aggression left her speechless for the moment.
I went on, “I’d rather receive a thank-you call from the girl in our local office who does our taxes, but then why would she call. She actually thanked us in person before we left her office.”
Why is it so easy to tell these strangers what’s on my mind. I could never be this brazen with someone face to face, but this lady had no face. She was just a voice on the other end of my phone line.
“If we’re on your list,” I explained, “I’d rather we didn’t get another call from you to thank us. Could you take us all off your list? This kind of call is a nuisance.”
There had to be a gimmick behind the so-called “thank-you call.” I continued before she could get a word in. “Was there something else you wanted me to convey to my daughter?” I queried.
“We like to ask our customers…,” she hesitated. Whatever she had been primed to say was tapped out. “Sorry, ma’am. We’ll remove you from our list.”
I said thank you, but I think she’d already hung up. Then came guilt. How can I do that to people?
She was just doing her job, but her job included a list, one of those infernal lists. How can we eliminate them? Sicking my monster on them doesn’t seem to work.
Just watch it. Don’t call me; I’ll call you!
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