Am I sensitive or just raised in Lower Alabama?

July 1, 2018

Telephone Etiquette, Old School

Growing up, I spent a lot of time at my Grandparents' home.  Before the advent of answering machines or cell phones, they had rotary phones in their home.  The main house phone was a tan Bellsouth rotary model that sat on the wooden top counter in front of the bookshelves that were filled with the book of the month club books. 

The tan rotary phone never moved, that was its place.  There were other phones in the house, but that was the phone, THE phone.  It was the phone that everyone rushed to answer and say "Holley Residence, May I help you?"

Someone always answered the phone swiftly and answered it with a cheerful greeting.  No matter whether the housekeeper answered the phone, my grandmother answered the phone, or anyone else in our household, the greeting was always "Holley Residence, May I help you?"  Come to think of it, everyone where I grew up, regardless of their economic status answered their phones that way.  Isn't that a wonderful way to be greeted, with a 'May I help you?'

I am working on a project, where I am dealing with a lady who just rubs me the wrong way.  If I am completely honest, she has infuriated me on two occasions. I always want to believe the best in people, no matter how poor their form, until they show me that they are, indeed,  a jerk.

This morning, I saw her phone number come up on my caller id.  After my last interaction with her, I was dreading seeing her number pop up on my phone.  I answered and said "Good Morning, Sarah.  How are you today?"  First thing out of her mouth was "Blah blah blah, YOU YOU YOU, blah blah, he said, she said, you said, YOU need to blah blah, followed by "Holly, You obviously have selective hearing."


Yes, after she has already insulted my crew and me weeks ago regarding something so trivial that I dare not ever mention it again, out of fear that God will smite me for wasting another precious second of life that He has given me, I am going to let it go. 

I would like to believe that she has no intention of coming across so vile, wretched, mean and evil, but I have to wonder if she doesn't treat everyone like this.  My husband, Jimbo, swears that some people just wake up with their knickers in a knot and that I should never take it personal when someone acts this way.  His theory is that she most likely treats everyone with the same disregard as she does me and that everyone who knows her dreads her calls as much as I.

Let's not be like Sarah.  Let's learn from her ignorance and meanness.


When I am calling someone and they answer I always say "Good Morning, Sarah.  Thank you for taking my call.  Do you have a minute to talk?"  If she says no, then I immediately ask "When would be a better time for me to call you?  I just need a minute of your time to discuss abc..."

Most people are very courteous and appreciative and will either continue the conversation or give you a better time to contact them.  I often will text people and ask when would be a good time to call.

In a world where we communicate via text, email, and social media, a telephone call out of the blue isn't as common as when it was our sole immediate form of communication.  Since texting before a call is a very common practice, wouldn't it make sense that bitching at someone the second that they answer the phone isn't the way to ask a question.  To begin a conversation with "We have a problem" is absolutely uncalled for in any situation, unless someone has been in a car wreck, someone's home has burned, or a relative has passed. Those are problems.  Your temper tantrum is not my problem- not now, not ever.

I am forty six years old.  I survived an abusive first husband who beat me, I have raised three teenagers to adulthood, I have severed relationships with people whom I love because I refused to be talked down to, and I have lost and rebuilt everything twice in my life.  The very last thing that I am concerned with first thing on a beautiful Monday morning is a first world problem created in the head of someone who probably doesn't have many friends and never has, who is probably on a micro-power trip because this is the first time that she has been able to talk anyone into putting her in charge of anything?

So, what is the moral of this story?  Be kind on the telephone and, if you are going to volunteer to steer a committee or chair a charity event, don't be an ass.  That's all.  Be kind to one another.

Love Y'all,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground