Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What Would You Do?

The other day I was on a conference call at work. I held the phone to my ear and listened to the conversation unfold. Then a heard it. It. The worst noise I have ever heard piped directly into my ears.

“So,” crunch crunch crunch crunch, “when the {work related jargon} and the {work related mumbo jumbo}…” crunch crunch crunch, “then what happens?” client asked.

“Um, I’m sorry, what?” I asked distractedly.

Crunch crunch crunch “The {work related stuff} at the {work related place}, how does that work?” crunch crunch crunch.

“I’m sorry, can you say that again?” I asked, fighting the urge to swallow a thumb tack in an effort to scratch the itch that developed on my spinal cord.

See, client was eating while on the phone with me. She was chewing the world’s crunchiest food, and thought that I might want that noise amplified over my ear drums and directly onto that spot in the middle of my back that was causing me to shudder uncontrollably at the sound. I cannot stand it when people eat while talking on the phone. Not only is it gross for the person on the listening end, it’s rude. I just want to shout out “Can’t you wait just a few minutes before stuffing your face and loudly chewing into my ear? What the hell is the matter with you?”

So, what would you do in this situation? You have a client on the phone who is eating while they are talking to you. You are on the verge of losing it, because you are completely grossed out by having someone chew in your ear. Do you:

A. Let it go. They’re a client, after all, and they are paying you to do the work. Suck it up.

B. Passive-aggressively ask, “What is that noise? There seems to be some sort of interference on the phone. Do you hear that? It sounds like a crunching noise…” and hope that they take the hint and stop eating.

C. Just flat out say “Will you please stop eating? It’s very distracting.”

What would you do?

The real life me, went with response A, then after I hung up I had to do the “skeeved out” dance. You know the one. I’ll bet you’ve done it. It’s that maneuver you where you say “Blech” a lot, and you shake your hands rapidly, as if you have mud and dog poo on them. Then you do a full body shake, as if you are a dog that just rolled in something thick and stinky.

The pretend me, however, would go for option C, and pretend me would still have the respect of the client and still be gainfully employed after the call was over.

The things we put up with to make a client happy.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Carol said...

How about saying, "I'm sorry, I'm going to have to call you back. We must have a bad connection. All I can hear is static." Then hang up, wait a half hour and call back. Hopefully they'll have finished their food by then.

September 30, 2008 at 9:56 PM  
Anonymous Taoist Biker said...

Could be worse. Could be a perfectly normal conversation, until... *flush*

October 1, 2008 at 8:19 AM  
OpenID prayingtodarwin said...

The skeeved out dance: it finally has a name!!!

The one I like to use (even if the person called me) is "Oh, it doesn't sound like this is a very good time for you. Would you like me to call back when you're done eating/yelling at your kids/hacking up a lung?"

October 2, 2008 at 2:40 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

In real life I also would have done A, but the snarky in me would want to say B. I've always wanted to say something to people like that.

October 3, 2008 at 8:16 PM  

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