Monday, July 4, 2011

WORST CUSTOMERS - Transfer Me to the Sports Department

For a year and a half I worked as the weekend technician at one of our local radio stations. It was mostly boring work, making sure commercials were kept on the air, troubleshooting relay problems, stalking the station with a fire-extinguisher looking for the source of "that burning smell.", etc. I was mostly working alone with ample free time and little supervision. That summer I had watched a lot of Frasier and when I got the job at the station I envisioned that I would be surrounded by quirky radio personalities all day and shenanigans would ensue. Instead, I was normally the only person in the building.

During this time all of the phone lines are channeled into one phone that I can pick up in the studio. People would call with ridiculous questions, but one sticks out in particular.

I was sitting in the studio monitoring our feed of a local baseball game when I get this call on the studio phone. I'll do my best to recreate the transcript of that conversation: [UPDATE: So it turned into a full screenplay of that conversation... so sue me. If some budding film student wants to re-create it be my guest.]


GRANT sits, glassy eyed behind the radio station sound board, staring at the screen that shows what commercials still need to be played. The LOW MUMBLE of a baseball announcer fills the room with background noise. Seconds TICK by on the clock in the hall way. The phone RINGS. GRANT is startled to alertness, but still lets it RING two or three times before he bothers to pick it up.

Hello, Broadcast house. This is Grant how may I help you?
Hello, Hello, yes I want to be transferred to the sports department.
We don't have a sports department.
I called there earlier today and I was transferred to your sports department, don't lie to me young man.
I'm the only person in the building right now, maybe I can answer your question for you.
What part about transfer me to the sports department don't you understand!?
I'm not trying to be rude, but I really can't...
          (Cutting him off)
Just do it, don't give me any more of your lip!
          (through gritted teeth)
Fine... Please hold while I transfer you to the sports department.
See that wasn't so hard.

GRANT puts her on hold and muses for a moment about just what to do.


He walks into the other room, normally reserved for the news team, clears his throat, transfers the call to that phone, and picks it back up.
            (Voice slightly deeper with a 
             no-nonsense attitude.)
Sports department this is John, how can I help you?
Oh finally I get through. I am sitting at the baseball game that you are broadcasting and I just wanted to let you know that the announcer is about thirty seconds behind what is going on in the field, it is very distracting.

GRANT holds the phone away from his head for a moment and mouths the word, "Really?", almost unable to believe her level of stupidity.
          (still in disguised voice)
Well ma'am. I'm sorry about that, I really am. You see the tower was struck by lightning earlier this week, and we've been getting our feed via internet relay satellite which is normally a bit delayed.
Oh, that sounds complicated. I was frustrated because the scores don't match up. How am I supposed to know what the real score is?
We anticipated there would be problems like this ma'am so last week we installed some large, light-up signs in the stadium to display the correct scores,just in case there was any confusion.
Oh wow, I didn't even see those until you pointed them out. How nice.
It's the least we could do ma'am. You're lucky you caught me in the office, I was just about to head home.
That reminds me, the boy you have answering the phones was very rude to me, I don't think people like that should work for this radio station. 

It is clear that GRANT is becoming increasingly annoyed by her. In stead of getting angry he smiles cunningly and continues.
Was he again ma'am? That's his "third strike". I'll be sure to
have a talk with him on my way out.
Well I wouldn't want to get him 
            (with sickening emphasis)
"fired" or anything.
I'm sure you wouldn't ma'am, but there is no excuse for rudeness.
I agree. Well thank you.
You're welcome, glad I could help you. Enjoy the rest of your game.

GRANT SLAMS the phone down exasperation. 

          (In normal voice)                       
What a dumb bitch!

           "Based on a true story."                                                             


I think the most appropriate quote for my collective customer experience has to be from Mel Brooks' "The Producers" :"They come here, they ALL come here.... HOW DO THEY FIND ME!?!"

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