Sometimes as I leave a comment on someone else’s blog, a post I should write occurs to me.
That happened the other day. Carla at Four by Forty posted here about someone leaving a phone number on her home recorder sooo fast that she had to listen to it over and over again before she could get it down. I understand totally!
In fact, for about 20 years, a large part of my workday was spent calling and receiving calls from truck salesmen. And, because those of us who did the quotes were so busy, many times they would have to leave a voice mail that was supposed to include their name and phone number, and even the information we would need in order to give them our quote when we returned their call, if they had it.
Those voice mails, and the garbled, careless way the information was sometimes given, were a frequent source of amusement and/or irritation to those of us who returned the calls.
Carla’s post reminded me of one time in particular when my co-worker, Al, expressed his frustration with this problem to the salesman he was calling back in what I thought was a very funny way.
Here’s the comment I left on Carla’s post about that:
For many years I worked in a job where we took calls (and received many voice mails) from truck salesmen. One time, I heard my co-worker in the cubicle across the way return a call to a salesman who apparently had done what you just bemoaned, because I heard Al say to the guy, “Get your pen ready, because I’m going to do my best to give you the information you requested just as fast as you left your telephone number!”
Same with names. People would say the most unusual names in a “throw away” tone as if it were as common as Jim Smith! Amazing.”
And that leads me to the story of Eee-vee Boo-too. If I didn’t tell you this story, I’m pretty sure Linda would tell it to you in a comment. It’s a favorite of hers.
When Linda and I worked for the Truck Manufacturer, we were in different departments, but our cubicles were across the wall from each other, so we could sometimes hear what was going on in each other’s area.
I hadn’t been doing the quotes very long when I got my first call from Quebec, a voice mail. A man in a dealership in Quebec had left his name and I just could not understand it. I played the recording over and over again, and every time it sounded to my not-used-to-a-French-accent ear like the man was saying his name was Eee-vee Boo-too. I knew even at the time that that didn’t really sound like a French name; it sounded more African. But, even after playing it again and again, that’s what it sounded like he was saying!
So, I called the dealership and asked to speak to Eee-vee Boo-too. The receptionist sounded a little incredulous that I would think there was someone there by that name, and kept asking me to repeat it, so I said Eee-vee Boo-too, Eee-vee Boo-too multiple times, each one increasingly louder. Why is it that when we are being misunderstood, we tend to increase the volume? Finally, I gave up after I was told with finality that there was definitely no one there by that name. Period. I hung up and decided the guy, whatever his name was, would just have to call back again.
I was then sitting at my desk thinking that I hoped all calls from Quebec wouldn’t be that hard (and unsuccessful!) when I heard some soft laughter coming from the Accounting area across the wall, where Linda and her co-worker Janet sat. I knew what they were laughing about, so I went over to see the gigglers who were getting such a kick out of my failed pronunciation of a French name. And, who could easily laugh because they had not just had an unsuccessful, stressful conversation with a not very helpful receptionist in Quebec!
Linda and Janet helped me see the humor in the situation when they told me how the conversation with the receptionist had sounded from their perspective. And, I think Linda has reminded me more than once of the call to Eee-vee Boo-too! In fact, now, as soon as either one of us just says the name Eee-vee Boo-too, we both immediately laugh.
So, when I leave my name and number on someone’s recorder, I do it pretty slowly, and then repeat it, again slowly. It really helps to remember to do that when you’ve been on the other end of a call from Eee-vee Boo-too!