My Worst Call of the Day

From the dozens of idiotic calls I take each day as a customer service representative, I humbly submit the winner.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Shock and Awe

Today’s worst call was the most memorable one I’ve had for quite a while. As my loyal readers know, given the number of crazy-ass calls I receive each day, this is no mean feat. However, this particular caller managed to pull ahead of the pack with his first unforgettable sentence, which went something like this:

“Um, hi, I just wanted to inform your agency that I’ve been electrocuted several times by my telephone.”

It was, I confess, a phrase that I never imagined I would hear, and I was wholly unprepared for it. I had to stifle my first reaction (maniacal, snorting laughter) so that I could get more of the story, which I sensed would be exceptionally blogworthy. I also refrained from pointing out that, by definition, no one can be electrocuted more than once (and that they tend not to call customer service after the fact).

The caller went on to say that this only happened when he received calls from telemarketers, and he wondered (with no trace of humor or irony) if they were intentionally doing this to him. After coughing loudly to cover up my escaping laughter, I informed the caller that: 1) unless lightning strikes the wire, the very small amount of current in his phone line is not sufficient to deliver anything more than a mild shock; and 2) as unsavory as telemarketers may be, they do not as yet have the technology to conduct Pavlovian experiments on unsuspecting victims.

Finally, I suggested to my caller that he purchase a new phone to remedy the problem. And if I didn’t need this job so much, I would have added, “and while you’re at it, buy yourself some goddamn sense, ya dumbass.” But instead, I bid the caller goodbye, took off my headset with a sigh, and reached for the barbiturates in my desk drawer.


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  • At 3/31/2005 11:08 AM, Blogger My Life Is God's Comic Strip said…

    I can't drink or eat anything while reading your posts because they inadvertently get spewed all over my desk. I ruined a perfectly good shirt today. Thanks.

  • At 6/01/2005 11:23 AM, Anonymous Tom White said…

    1) unless lightning strikes the wire, the very small amount of current in his phone line is not sufficient to deliver anything more than a mild shock;

    Actually, you can receive a shock from a telephone. Most of the time the voltage is very low, but in order to ring the phone, 50 volts is sent down the line. This got started back in the days of mechanical ringers, which needed quite a bit of oomph to make that much noise. All POTS (plain old telephone service) lines still use 50 volts to signal a ring, which is considered enough to kill under fairly remotely possible ideal circumstances. But if there were a short and for some reason this person were holding the phone when it range, they would certainly feel it.

    Many moons ago I used to do a lot of phone installation, and sometimes we'd strip the wires with our teeth when we were desparate. Talk about a "wake up call".

  • At 9/09/2005 10:17 PM, Blogger AnonymousCog said…

    I would have said,
    "Thats right, we the people on the other end control the shocks. If you want it to stop, you will do whatever I say, do you understand my little phone bitch?"

    but I would lose my job then...


  • At 10/09/2005 8:02 AM, Blogger Quit Smoking said…

    Hello fellow fisherman,

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    Did you also know that over 75% of the nations fishermen do not fish during "prime time"; fish feeding hours?

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    Don't believe me? Check out Daniel Eggertsen's story, and a picture of a couple of his catches here : "Evening Secrets plus more"

    I want you to do me a favor and try it out so I can see what you think of it, and if it works for you as well as it did for me.

    You will be one of the first to try it out.

    Gone Fishin',



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