Considerations re: Blood Pressure

Complaining about one’s job is quite literally the lowest form of blogging there is, especially when you do the same job as millions of other people. It was at least novel back when I was the Peemeister, because not everyone gets to play with pee for a living, and because drug testing is one of those things that most people have experience with only from one direction. It’s at least slightly more entertaining, therefore, than reading yet another tirade about how people don’t know how to tip properly.

That said, it is incredibly therapeutic, and right now I am going to indulge myself. Since my primary job function right now is to “Answer Phones” you may expect I have long reams of lulz stashed away in my nightly conversations with the teeming masses. And you’d be right, if you wanted me to sit here and play to the lowest common denominator.

You’re not the lowest common denominator, are you? No. No, of course you’re not.

That being said, I feel I have no choice but to share this choice nugget from the Bucket of Cheap Lulz: the forty seconds between the moment you say “Hold on, lemme get a pen,” and when you say “Okay, go ahead,” are filled with agony. It’s like, did you not realize you were calling a business? Did you not expect useful information to be forthcoming? It’s bad enough when I catch people off guard, for instance, folks who have inadvertently reached the wrong department and need to be directed elsewhere. It’s much, much worse when people call me for a specific type of information, who then must briefly interrupt me when I try to give it to them, because they didn’t think far enough ahead in the conversation to imagine what might happen when they had to transcribe it.

I’ve spent my entire adult life making sure I had a pen handy before making a business call of any kind. I’ve just settled into this routine where I make these kinds of calls from my desk, where there is a pen close at hand. I just assumed this was a common practice, but I’ve come to realize I’m some kind of super-tiny minority.

There is an even worse form of this conversation: the type where the person not only doesn’t have a pen handy, but expends not a twig of effort to retrieve one. Observe:

“I can tell you [whatever]. Do you have a pen?”


*awkward silence*

That’s where people leave it, as though I’m supposed to somehow divine the information they want directly into their head, or as though I can push a button and make it descend from the heavens on a pair of illuminated scrolls. I still don’t know what my next line in this production is. I suppose I could just ramble off the stuff for them anyway, then hang up on them, but something about that strikes me as fairly rude.

Some folks have never heard of a pen, but are happy to punch phone numbers etc. into their cell phones for later retrieval. This irritates me too because, and I’m not sure most people realize this, even if you have a state-of-the-art Android superphone where the beeps sound like soft morning rain, the dude on the other end of the line gets an ear full of old-fashioned sounding 1953 “BEEEEEEEP“. Programming a number into your phone is bound to deliver ten of those blasts directly into the other person’s cerebral cortex. But as much as I hate getting repeatedly punched in the brain, I can’t stay angry at those folks. At least they’re meeting me halfway.

I realize complaining about this is the call center equivalent of waiters bitching about bad tips. But what can I do? I am terrified that one night some clown from Biscuitville, NE is going to tell me he doesn’t have a pen, and I am going to just burst into flames… which would set off the sprinkler system and just cause a whole host of other problems.

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