Day 48: The thing about receptionists

Sometimes, amidst the constant warnings of absolutely no jobs waiting for us when we graduate, I still think it’s impossible to be unemployed for long in this country, and here’s why: there’s an incredible number of horribly incompetent people currently holding the title “Receptionist.” With all these people out there, it can’t be too hard to replace one of them.

Don’t get me wrong. I have encountered some very knowledgeable receptionists. In those cases, it’s like walking into a public washroom and seeing a full roll of toilet paper – you know it’s supposed to be there to make your life easier and it just gets messy when they don’t fulfill their purpose. But for some reason, I’ve run into an extraordinary number of birdbrained receptionists recently who know less than I do about their company.

I’ll use a company I called this morning as an example. Let’s just call them YUCK for anonymity purposes (Your Ultimate Cause of a Kidney-stone, for that is exactly the kind of pain they put me through). I have been calling YUCK three times a day for the past four days. That same receptionist has picked up every single time. And prior to this morning, she’s always recognized me after I mention my name and school. Well, she recognizes the request anyway. (I’m looking for someone to tell me how YUCK is involved with the Canadian Industrial Transportation Association. It’s not a very common request.)

For the past few days, she’s been making me call back again and again saying, “There’s someone who can talk to you, but they’re away from the office right now. Call back at 2:30 p.m. 4 p.m. 9:30 tomorrow morning …” On and on it goes until I’ve called that number so many times I’m starting to give it out as my own cell number. Yesterday afternoon, the YUCK reception told me she would call me tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. with someone to answer all my questions waiting for me on the line. It’s about time considering I’ve made dozens of calls.

This morning, I waited. And waited. 9:30 a.m. came and went. Still I waited. Finally I gave in and called back. That YUCK receptionist pretended she didn’t know me! How could you not know me? How could you possibly forget someone who you said you were going to call and who has been calling persistently for the past few days? She even told me she remembered me the second time I called. Don’t you lie to me, woman!

The YUCK receptionist never apologized for not calling me. She just said, “Yes, there’s someone who can talk to you but he’s away. I’ll transfer you to his office so you can leave a message.” In receptionist language, this means, “You’re not going to be my problem any more. Sucks for you!” I stopped her right there and asked for the guy’s name, extension number and job title. There’s no way she’s connecting me to a dead end only to have me call her back and have another insipid conversation with her where she doesn’t recognize me again.

And the little cherry on top of that lovely conversation? She didn’t connect me. She hung up on my instead. Thanks a lot, YUCK receptionist. I can certainly think of a place you can put your end of the phone!

Well that’s a lesson learned for me. Never get your hopes up when talking to receptionists. It’s like going to flea markets. Occasionally there’s a good one and you know you’ve hit the jackpot, but most of the time, you’re just wading through garbage.

And so concludes another grand ol’ day. The weekend’s almost here again, and yet I’ve miles to go before I sleep.

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