Saturday, January 9, 2010

Number Please

When one hires on to the phone company as an operator, the employee is told never to reveal anything that they hear during a conversation with the customer. Perhaps the caller turns to someone in the room with them and makes a statement. This is considered private and never to be repeated. And of course, listening in on a conversation is a good way to get fired.

But some of the requests made by customers were funny, odd and just plain strange. Since all these things were said directly to me, I'm not revealing any private matters. And anyway, since they all were said (and written down) before 1986, I think the time frame for being fired has passed. Fired? Are there any operators left working in 2010?

"Attach this phone call to my number."

"My husband doesn't hear well when he's not home."

"What is the fare to Omaha for three minutes?"

"Are the rates on?"

"I tried this number all day and it's engaged. Could it be default?" (British accent)

Operator: "A T & T" Customer: " Is this the cattle company?"

"I'd like to make a collect call to #784- xxxx and please charge it to the same number."

"Does it cost to pay you?"

Customer: "Collect." Operator: "Your name?" Customer: "Just a friend."

from a Garden City hotel - "If you're going to put me on busy again, I don't want to screw around with you."

I miss those days of the voice with a smile. Today we do it all ourselves but it was nice to have help when you needed it and it was really a fun job if you liked to interact with all kinds of folks!

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