Day In The Life of a Freelancer #1
I have a number of jobs; Mom, significant other, part-time web and graphic designer, part time receptionist — Among other things. I think the worst part is dealing with people; Partially because of my social anxiety and also in part because people forget that I’m a person. People also forget that they can be fairly smart individuals if they just put their mind to it. It has been suggested on a number of occasions that I chronicle these random and not so rare moments — Perhaps this will explain why I am so jaded, cynical and have social anxiety. As such, what follows in these ‘Day in the life of’ posts will be a retelling of the best hand picked personas via internet or telephone.
I don’t think it occurs to too many people how stressful it is being in a service position. It’s so easy to forget that people are -real- people when there is a wall of technological devices that make it easier to not talk to someone face to face. It’s a form of dangerous, anonymous safety that far too many people take for granted or take advantage of. Being full of social anxiety, I regularly take advantage of being faceless and hidden behind circuits. My day regularly includes hours of online conversation so that I can fill my social card with some kind of chatter that allows me to feel like I’ve accomplished some type of interaction beyond the office I sit in. However, there are others that use this anonymity to make my life hell — Or at least attempt to do so.
One of my clients is a Massage Therapist. (I’ll probably post most often about the calls for this one because they tend to be the most entertaining.) Being the receptionist for a massage therapist has a special place in the service industry, I feel. It must also be noted at this point that all calls I get for this particular business come through a cell phone which has caller ID so often I can see the caller’s name and at the very least their phone number.
So I’m sitting at my desk and a call comes in. I give the usual greeting: “Hello! Thank you for calling (insert name of business here). How can I help you today?” … Silence from the other end of the phone, then a click and the caller is gone. I think nothing of it and put the phone down. A few moments later the phone rings again and I pick it up. Even before I get the phone to my ear I hear a giggle. I give the scripted greeting and the person on the other end of the phone clears their throat. “Do you do happy endings?” I sigh heavily and reply. “Sir, I’m sure you think this is an absolutely hilarious situation in which you’re making a joke. However, your serious accusation is unwarranted and I will thank you not to call our establishment again.” I hang up the phone. Keep in mind, the caller ID gives me the phone number, which I promptly add to the contacts labeled ‘Perv’.
Two days later the phone rings and the contact pops up on the caller ID. ‘Perv’. I can feel my eye twitching already. I slide my finger over the screen and answer the phone. “Hello! (Insert business name here). How can I help you today?” There’s a bit of silence, then a familiar male voice speaks. “I have a Groupon and would like to set up an appointment for a massage.” My lips twitch for a moment as I try to decide what to do. “Sir, you do realize that I have caller ID?” There are a few moments of silence, then a click and the call drops.
One hour later the ‘Perv’ calls. “So, uh… I have this Groupon..”
I take a deep breath. “You will have to call Groupon to get your refund. Due to your conduct, I don’t feel it is safe for you to be near our therapists.”
He stutters. “Can I use this Groupon somewhere else?”
“Sir, you need to call Groupon. I make appointments. I don’t deal with Groupon returns.”
“Could you make me an appointment with another therapist?”
“Sir, I only make appoints for this one business.”
“Oh. Well, can you give me my money back?”
“You need to call Groupon to get your refund.” At this point, I’m rubbing my temples and feel a headache coming on.
“But your phone number is on my Groupon…”
I pause for a moment to try to comprehend this situation. It takes me a few extra seconds to respond. “Sir, I do not work for Groupon. I do not do customer service for Groupon, nor do I know about their policies. I just make appointments.”
“Can you give me Groupon’s number?”
“I’m going to hang up now.”