Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tough racket

One of the perks of the reception position I'm currently filling is fielding the barrage of sales calls this place gets by the truckload every day. Whatever job you currently pretend to do (unless you're cleaning out sewers with your bare hands in the Philippines) I am absolutely certain that it's not as psychologically damaging as a job in fucking sales. Especially when it involves cold-calling people during an economic recession. Honestly, now, in 2009, it'd be easier to convince a person to consent to butt rape than it would be to get them to buy anything. So, I'm not shocked when these sales folk are audibly stressed out on the phone.

An example (the name of the company has been changed to protect the innocent):

ME (picking up phone): LBR Inc.

WILLY LOMAN: Can I speak to the person in charge of retirement benefits?

ME: No.

WILLY LOMAN: (in a strange mock weeping voice) WHY NOT????

No, I'm not kidding. These people call disinterested parties all day and they've lost their minds. Any semblance of cordiality or professionalism is thrown out the window as soon as they know you're on to them. Today's example:

ME: LBR Inc.

SHELLEY "THE MACHINE" LEVENE: Who is the person in charge of your photo copier equipment?

ME: We're actually happy with the set-up we have now, thanks.

LEVENE: (pause) HELLO?! THAT'S NOT WHAT I ASKED YOU!!!

Click.

Indeed, that isn't what he asked me, but I'm not sure my cutting to the chase should warrant his wanting to pull my balls off with his teeth.

What I've noticed is that these poor dopes are now resigned to one of two states of being: playful nonchalance or mind-numbing rage. After you pull back the curtain on their little game, you get to see which character steps out and it's actually pretty fascinating. I mean, can you imagine being a photocopier salesman in Manhattan, walking into work every morning knowing that your livelyhood depends on your ability to sucker people into purchasing items they most likely already have and are perfectly happy with? The very fact that you don't wedge the barrel of a double-action revolver into your mouth and pull the trigger while tears of relief cascade down your face is a blessed miracle.

3 comments:

d.w. said...

I find this handy flowchart useful:

http://www.xs4all.nl/%7Eegbg/counterscript.html

Timothy said...

do you know felicia mclaren? [any columbia university press employee]

Anonymous said...

wet out there tonight. WET! OUT THERE! TONIGHT!