Monday, 28 February 2011

Sunday Sunday, So Good to Me

Time for another commentary on your favorite subject and mine, my job. But first, I feel the need to clarify a few things about the last writings I posted on here. Those were just things that I had lately been thinking, ideas that I've been trying to find the strength to vocalize for some time. If you're reading this, it probably doesn't apply to you, at least not as long as our friendship is concerned. If it does, I'm apparently getting some publicity of which I was unaware.
Moving on the current subject, people know who I am before I introduce myself. I don't mean someone saying "I know" when I say that I'm Scott White, and I'm conducting a customer service follow-up call on behalf of (car rental company). I mean starting out my phone call with "Hello, may I speak to Christine Everheart?" and hearing in response "Yeah, hang on. (away from the phone) Phone! (car rental company)!"
Either these people get a lot of calls from my company, or they don't get a whole lot of phone calls in general. No matter the reason, it's a bit on the unnerving side, and definitely impressive. Perhaps I've been calling people with extra-sensory perception.
On a somewhat related note, in that it was something I noticed while working on a Sunday, there are apparently a large number of people who get incredibly irate if you call them on weekends. One woman was kind enough to ask me if I was aware that it was Sunday, which was a rather stunning revelation for me. No, ma'am, that particular fact had not escaped my notice. Given that I am the one who is at work on a Sunday, and will be here for eight hours rather than just having a two minute conversation about a rental car, I can understand why you might think that I'm unaware of what day it is, but rest assured that I have been informed what day of the week it is.
You see folks, we used to have laws that said nobody worked on Sundays. "Blue Collar Laws" are what I've heard them called. Plenty of liquor laws have their roots in the very same tradition, the one that said Sunday is a holy day of rest. Well, APPARENTLY most of those laws aren't on the books anymore. And, as they are no longer on the books, there are certain companies that are open on Sundays, such as grocery stores, or telemarket research centers. And while I am displeased that there are a few people who are getting incensed, I bet you're not too upset that you can still run out to McDonald's after church in the morning, are you?
In summary, I call people who know things about me that I haven't told them, and people like to get self-righteous and indignant for religious reasons. Have a good day, y'all.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Stop Hiding

Stop making excuses. Stop backing down. Believe what you believe, and don't be ashamed of it. I understand if you don't want to take my survey. Tell me as much. Don't pretend that you aren't home. Don't tell your boyfriend to say you aren't there. Don't tell your wife to take the survey for you. Just say you aren't interested.
Don't tell me you're busy if you're not, tell me that you're not interested. Don't make excuses in order to save yourself a little bit of guilt. Stop expecting that you can get something for nothing.
If you don't like me, tell me. If you don't like what I believe, tell me. If you think you're better than me, tell me. If you think maybe I don't like you, ask. I don't have time to coddle your insecurities if you don't have time to be straight with me. Your problems are not my problems. I will help you with them, if you ask. If I want your help, I will ask.
You are not better than me. I am not better than you. A friend told me once that I needed to stop letting my pride get in the way of my life. An author told me that I needed to love myself before I could be happy letting anyone else love me. Now I'm telling you to do the same, because you're my friend, too.
It will be hard. It will be a change. If you can't do it, I am willing to help you. If you won't do it, I have no patience for you in my life. You are who you are. You are not facts about yourself. You are not lies about yourself. You are you. If you can't deal with being you, figure out why.
Stand up. Be yourself. Tell the truth, and don't apologize for it.
I'm not just talking about my job. If you think I might be talking to you, I am. Think about it.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Classical Ringback

So there's another thing that I've noticed at work, and that is the choices people make regarding ringbacks. For those of you who, like me, do not necessarily stay hip the curren jive, ringback tones are what you hear when you call someone rather than the standard ringing noise. Some of them are interesting, some of them are obnoxious, but they're all a personal statement by the person you're calling. I've heard the How I Met Your Mother song, which pretty much made my night. I've heard some club songs, and couldn't resist swaying to the beat. My supervisor, of course, always tells me to status it as an answering machine and move on (It's a tie whether she tells me to do that more, or to read our company responses verbatim), which I do sometimes if it's an annoying song, but most of the time I'll listen for at least a few seconds. People who have ringbacks set up on their phone deserve to let (car rental company) know about their experiences, too.
Back to the point at hand, I've heard some pop, some rock, a fair amount of country, and a surprising amount of classical. But here's the catch with the classical music, it's the same song. Every single classical ringback that I've heard in my two weeks of calling has been THE SAME SONG! I couldn't tell you what song it is, specifically, as I'm not incredibly familiar with the genre, but it sounds a fair bit like Vivaldi. I hear Garth Brooks, and Alan Jackson, and Toby Keith. I've heard Ke$ha, and the Black Eyed Peas. I've heard Metallica, Jimmy Buffett, The Rolling Stones, and at least four different songs by the Flaming Lips. But out of classical music? One song. Period.
The one thing that I can most certainly not tell you, of course, is WHY. Why this one song? I'm interested in getting some conversation going here. Why do you think they're all the same song? What do you think about ringbacks? Or about telemarket researching as a profession? Or, for that matter, about this blog as a whole?

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Charleton Heston Said it Best

"I am not an animal! I am a human being! I ...a man!"

That's right folks, I am a human being. Let's rap about this for a little while, shall we? Because there are some points I feel that need to be discussed, and it seems that there are a few people in the world who have lost sight of some certain facts. For instance, if you're going to make comments about me to someone else in the room, please have the basic courtesy to wait until you've put the phone on the hook, yeah? Because, maybe I'm being sensitive here, but I find it a little fucking insulting to hear you tell your boyfriend I'm "Some automated shit from (car company name)." This coming from a woman who I talked to for at least three times longer than I talk with most people, because she actually had some comments that she wanted to make to (car company name). I understand, she was probably just having a rough day, or was in the middle of dinner, or something to that effect, I don't really care that she made the comment. But she had to know I was a person (Or a BRILLIANT computer with some wildly varied inflection in its voice), and she couldn't wait until she'd hung up the phone to say that?

Instance number two: "Again, I'm so sorry to have bothered you sir."

"Yeah, I bet you are." *click*

EXCUSE ME?! What kinds of choices do you think I've made in my life, sir? That I went through high school and college, managing to keep myself going only by thinking "Man, I can't wait until I can call people at home using numbers THEY PROVIDED to (car rental company), who TOLD THEM THEY MIGHT BE SURVEYED, and annoy the ever living crap out of them by politely introducing myself, asking two brief questions, and then thanking them for their time?" But wait, that IS harsh of me. That poor fellow couldn't have possibly known I would thank him for his time, because he told me I was trying to get in touch with his girlfriend, who had given me the number. Yeah, man. It's my fault, there's nothing I would love more than to talk with 300 people like you per night, that would just make my eyes twinkle with glee. No, I said I'm sorry to have bothered you because--stay with me here folks, this reasoning gets tricky in a second--I'm sorry to have bothered you.

So what can we all take away from this pair of delightful conversations? Well, we're in the telemarket business. We might be trying to sell you something, we might be getting feedback on something you've already bought, but we're still people doing a job. You know what a computer sounds like, and we're not them. We're people, we're trying to be polite to you, and more often than not we succeed, no matter how difficult you might make that. If you don't want to talk with us, feel free to tell us it's a wrong number, and hang up the phone. Or ask to be put on a no-call list, most places have those, too. But don't lose sight of the fact that we are people, with pulses, and jobs, just like you. Our job just happens to suck.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Perhaps a new trend?

Horror didn't work out so well, I burnt out on it. So let's try something that's been an interest of mine for a while longer, yeah? Springfield and Kirksville, my two homes, got something in common: They're both college towns. Kirksville's just a smaller Springfield, really. Fewer people decided to stick around there, I guess. It's too cold. But there's one thing pretty much any college town is guaranteed to have (Except maybe Provo, Utah)--A bar. Probably more than one, but at least one is almost a guarantee.
So I'm going to use this place to talk about them. The ones I've been to, the ones I've heard about, what I'd recommend, etc. This is the internet, after all, and I think this site has been a pretty good soapbox for me to stand on.

First in this series: The New Key Largo, on Republic Road, Springfield, MO. The place has been around for three years, recently under new management.
The front of the bar faces away from the street, with a small parking lot leading straight into the entrance. A small alley could cause some problems for two-way traffic, but the place is small enough that doesn't seem like much of an issue.
The owner doubles as the main bartender, a fellow named Matt. Decent guy, pretty attentive, chattier with females than males unsurprisingly, but aware of what's going on in the place.
As for the bar itself,'s a theme bar. From the name, that should be no real surprise. It tries to capture that lackadaisical Florida Keys feel, including some indoor decorations of palm trees and what are meant to look like cheap, tin roof shacks. Lots of green abounds, with lazy ceiling fans and plenty of AC vents.
The setup looks like a small concert venue, with tables and bar near the door, and a dance floor by the far wall. The front half of the bar feels like a dive, albeit an accepting one. The back half is definitely the draw on weekends.
Music is live, or there's a juke box that defaults toward predictable-but-comforting club music when nobody's paying. Nothing really jarring for the atmosphere, but nothing novel either.
Drink prices aren't bad at all, especially not by Springfield standards. Beer flows cheaper than it does at most places downtown, but the selection is limited. Hard alcohol, again in rather limited supply, also runs a little below the average.
The crowd looks to be on the younger side, mostly under 30, which makes sense given that the bar's draw is music and dance. I'm sure the cheap alcohol doesn't hurt, either.

In short, this is a place I'd recommend if you're looking to go out with friends and have a good time. It's a little loud, and a bit small, so don't expect intimate conversations, but Key Largo walks a pretty solid middle line.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Father's Day

Father's Day has been around for about 100 years now. We shouldn't need it, we should remember to thank them for what they do every day. But some days, that's harder than others. So we have a day to remind us all about what they do for us.

So today is about them. Happy Father's day, Dahl. Happy Father's Day, fathers and grandfathers of my friends. Hell, I hope you make today count even if I've never met you, or you're not a father yet.

Today is about celebrating the fathers, the fathers to be, the fathers that might be someday, and the fathers that have been. The grandfathers, too. Even the uncles and cousins. I even celebrate today for the sons who make fatherhood possible, because they're an integral part of the equation.

Water, Whisky, beer or coke, raise up your glasses for menfolk.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

One Fine Day By Ed Gray

One fine day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight,
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other,
One was blind and the other couldn't see,
So they chose a dummy for a referee.

A blind man went to see fair play,
A dumb man went to shout "hooray!"
A paralysed donkey passing by,
Kicked the blind man in the eye,
Knocked him through a nine inch wall,
Into a dry ditch and drowned them all,

A deaf policeman heard the noise,
And came to arrest the two dead boys,
If you don't believe this story’s true,
Ask the blind man he saw it too!