I’m going to do another guerilla-strike visit to my parents’ house in West Virginia this weekend. I’m leaving on Sunday, returning on Tuesday. I need to visit them on a regular basis, and don’t have a great track record with it. It’s in the top five Things I Feel Guilty About. The list is long, mind you, hundreds and hundreds of entries long. But that one is in the top five.
I know it’s just an excuse, and where there’s a will there’s a way, etc. But one of the main reasons I don’t go more often is that it’s at least an eight hour drive. That’s best-case, without two or three Chick-fil-A stops, or whatever. So, it’s a considerable excursion. Hell, if you drove eight hours from London you’d probably be in Luxembourg. I don’t really know what point I’m trying to make here, but thought I’d throw that in.
I need to get an oil change before I leave, and called a couple of places to see if they could fit me in tomorrow or Saturday morning. No dice. They’re all booked up. What the? Am I on some kind of list? Are there homemade signs hanging above phones all over the valley that say, “If this number pop’s up DO NOT engage! Extract yourself from the conversation ASAP!!” That’s what it feels like, anyway. And notice how I put an errant apostrophe in there, for authenticity’s sake? Good stuff. Of course they would never use the words ‘engage’ or ‘extract,’ but whatever.
Also, there’s this… I called Monro Muffler a few minutes ago, and the guy answered, “It’s another wonderful day at Monro! How may I help you?” Seriously? I’m extremely skeptical about that statement. I’ve been in that place, and don’t believe there’s anything ‘wonderful’ going on there. I imagine there are a handful of people sitting around on metal chairs, breathing in the aroma of new tires and swamp ass, and flipping mindlessly through copies of Sports Illustrated from the fourth-quarter of 2014. Every one of them thinking: “I bet this guy is fucking me.”
I assume they’re required to answer like that? Have you ever worked a job where you were forced to answer a phone in a way that annoyed or embarrassed you? I can’t think of any particularly bad ones in my past. However, I went through a way-too-long phase when I worked at WEA where I was answering the phone, “Thank you for calling Peaches!” I was stuck on my previous job, and couldn’t transition into the new one. And it lasted for years. Not 100% of the time, but it would occasionally pop up. It was disturbing. It made me worry about early-onset dementia.
At my current place we’re supposed to recite some mantra when we answer the phone, and I’ve never done it, not once. I just say, “This is Jeff.” Nobody’s ever said anything to me about it, and we’re coming up on ten years now. In fact, there’s a guy who works for me who always answers in the proper way. And I say, “Well, aren’t you Mr. Fancy-Pants?” It’s become a tradition, of sorts.
A million years ago I dated a girl who worked at McDonald’s, and she was always complaining about the “stupid shit” they wanted her to say. Like “Welcome to McDonald’s. Would you like to try our new McDLT?” That was literally one of them, which will tell you how long ago it was.
I’ve been lucky enough to avoid most of that stuff. The only time I’ve felt totally ridiculous at work, because of some corporate requirement, was when they forced us to wear ties at Fas-Chek. Which was like putting a monocle on a dog turd. Also, when they made us wear uniforms at the Toll Bridge. Ha! I already took an inordinate amount of abuse in that place (flying quarters at my head, airborne Frostys) without making us masquerade as the world’s most out-of-shape and ineffective military unit. I don’t remember sporting a jaunty hat, but the uniform worn by my toll collector brother above is very similar to the one I had to wear. I was mortified, almost to the point of tears, on the first day they made us come to work in those stupid things.
What do you have on this one? Anything? Have any of your employers forced you to say or wear things that made you feel ridiculous? If so, please share. This website comes equipped with a comments feature, where you can leave your thoughts. How cool is that? It’s very modern.
I need to go to work now, where I’ll continue to be a phone answering anarchist.
See you guys again soon!
Now playing in the bunker
Support us by doing your shopping at Amazon! In Canada? Here’s your link. Thank you guys!
According to Google Maps, it’s only six and a half hours from London to Luxembourg City. Eight hours would get you all the way to Frankfurt.
I like Google Maps.
…if Eurotunnel is working properly, which it won’t be.
Weather permitting I wear shorts and t-shirts every day. If I had to wear “office wear” again I would not like it, not at all. Ties are absurd, mankind needs to say fuck that shit and be done with them.
6hr45m is the time by ferry. Knock an hour off if the tunnel is operating on schedule.
Ages ago had a dot-com job, wore sandals, t-shirts and shorts daily. Company somehow went under, and at my next job had to wear (gasp) collared shirts and normal-length pants. Man if you would have heard my twentysomething bitching and bitching about such draconian rules. Now I’m forty, my latest company treats the occasional “Jeans Day” as a celebration but I’m so used to the routine I can’t break the suit pants habit. Oh well, aging sucks.
Never had a ridiculous phone greeting though.
Loving these more frequent updates Jeff. Keep kicking ass.
Man, almost first. My wife spent many years in telephone customer service, and among the things they made her do was end every call with “have I answered all your questions?. It was the perfect invitation for some smarmy asshole to keep her on the phone for an extra hour.
Obviously, we need to mention the Office Space restaurant scene at Chotchkie’s, with their pieces of flair. He really nailed it.
Oh, and “making us masquerade as the world’s most out-of-shape and ineffective military unit” elicited an uncontrolled guffaw out of me.
Wisey in Ttown says
Daaaaamn. Your brother kind of looks like Barney Fife in that picture!
Joe T. says
During my radio days, it was lucky if I even zipped my fly. Same now working for the government. But when I dealt blackjack, we had to wear a uniform that included an apron across the front, so errant chips didn’t happen to fall into my pockets.
The Qweezy Mark says
I remember popping in at WCDL (or whatever) on a few Friday nights with a six pack and trying to make you laugh when on air. I think you were in your big time country disc jockey phase at the time.
“Happy Holidays, thank you for calling Peaches. May I help you?”
I got busted by the GM for not answering the phone in that manner one holiday season. It’s on my permanent record.
Also, don’t they have any Jiffy Lubes in PA? Oil changed in 10 minutes, no appointment.
And the McDLT, remember the ridiculous first generation Styrofoam box with two separate compartments to keep the burger hot and the tomato and lettuce cold? Later they came out with normal box with a Styrofoam divider you had to remove. Exciting times.
Remember Jason Alexander singing and dancing about it?
That I don’t remember. I remember corny commercials though.
Good God! Talk about doing something ridiculous for your job!
Yeah, ’cause most SAG-AFTRA actors have sitcoms.
Jiffy Lube is great. During an idiotic lapse of judgment, I bought a Mercedes. Has a weird filter and a particularly finicky requirement for specific oil. I would go to the local Autozone and hope that I only had to go to one store for the specific oil and mail ordered the Mann filter. I was familiar with the odd filter and set of o-rings and provided the oil. I would pull up and the manager would come running out and say “we don’t work on Mercedes”, I would show him my stuff and assist the techs, not that there is any rocket science involved and save myself hours of annoyance and a hundred bucks over the dealership.
I like Valvoline Instant Oil Change better than J-Lube. If you show up at opening time there’s no wait and you’re out in 15 minutes. They will want to rotate your tires and so forth, which generous offer I decline.
Lew in Bama says
We just received a dress-code memo from upper management this week. I’m guessing the new Director came to town, witnessed all of the ripped jeans, short skirt, flip-flop wearing shenanigans and decided that was far too casual for a government agency. It seems like for most, though, the unofficial uniform is dress slacks and a button down, no tie, pocket protector optional, thick glasses not so much. We do have active duty military, so they are always dressed appropriately.
I’m sure there is some sort of standard phrase I should use when I answer the phone, but I don’t. My phone line is to my desk only, so if someone calls me, it’s intentional and they know where I am.
I get embarrassed for the folks in those places that have to yell at you when you walk in. I cringe every time.
‘Welcome to Moes!’
Funeral homes should do something like this. Cheer the joint up a little.
“Hurrah! A live one!”
Not being allowed to wear shorts in the lab, but skirts were fine. Explain that to me.
Pretty sure there was a standard way to do the call signs at the radio station I worked at, and I KNOW there was a specific way to present the weather/news/traffic. Classical music and NPR fans like to keep things familiar, ya know?
Now I work at home 100% and am generally only reachable by email, and thus life is awesome with so many rules and people removed.
I was taught that a legal station ID consists of your call letters, followed by your city of license. The only thing allowed in between was your frequency or channel number. So “Music Radio, WABC, New York” was OK, but not “WABC, Music Radio, New York.” Not that I ever worked there.
But when you went on or off the air (remember when stations signed off for the night?) you had to ID your microwave link when it was on but the main transmitter was off. KNM-45, Troy. KEF-79, Albany. Not sure why I remember those after 40 years.
I worked for a place once that spent hundreds of dollars on uniform shirts they wanted us to wear. The place went out of business not long after that.
My first job was at Roy Rogers, of course we had the “howdy partner” greeting as well as “happy trails!” To the departing customers.
Many years ago, I was a senior manager at a bank, and the CEO wanted everybody to answer the phone, “_____ _______ Bank; this is John ______ speaking. How may I help you?”
Once my guys installed digital telephony, everybody had Caller ID, so if the CEO, another senior manager, or a member of the board of directors called, which they rarely did, I’d answer in the prescribed way. For all other calls, it was, “Yo, this is John.”
I don’t think the CEO, who was otherwise a pretty bright guy, ever caught on that the only person getting the official phone greeting was him.
Worked at Sheetz many years ago. I made coffee, this was before barista coffees, and I had to wear a chef’s jacket. Those behind the counter, in food service, wore t-shirts. And luckily, I missed this one, the visor hat that had “Nice Buns” printed on it.
I have to wear a chefs jacket every day, since im the head chef. They are do fucking hot. I usually rip it off by nine on sunday am. Owner shows up at eleven and asks me why im wearing a tshirt. Every fucking week! I tell him to come back where i stand and try to last five minutes. I have a thermometer and its 140 degrees. Stupid!
I’ve not had to answer the phone with a ridiculous greeting but the early 80’s striped smock and head scarf from Wendy’s still haunts me.
Oh God, I had the Long John Silvers striped smock and head scarf. The scarf had a metal ring sewn on it to look like a pirate ear ring. One guy always put the ring on his forehead and we’d laugh and laugh. Young adult in the ’80s was a great time.
Stuart in Oz says
Classic WSVR!! I rang a business somewhere the other day and a woman answered ” hello this is the fabulous Fiona speaking…..” I was dumbfounded for a moment, I thought it was a recording but then she carried on, and I don’t think anyone was making her say that..except maybe the voices in her head
The Divine Miss E says
I work in retail, and we’re supposed to greet every customer we see out in the store and say “thank you for coming in today”. The greeting I can do, but the other part…the closest I get is laughing every time one of my coworkers does it. It sounds so lame.
I worked in a pharma pilot plant for many years. Standard dress was coveralls, changed after each shift, provided by a local vendor. We avoided rolled up sleeves and machinery wipes in the pockets, too many opportunities to get caught in the various rotating machine parts. A new boss wanted all operators to wear ties with our coveralls,…he felt it demonstrated a greater professional look. The concept of a high torque, high speed chicken choke apparently never entered his mind. Within 2 months our plant was issued safety violations by the state and federal inspectors. The tie requirement disappeared with the boss.
Customer service? Being put on hold for 45 minutes by Johnny Mathis singing “Chances are” through an over modulated, 1940s hearing aid is not customer service.
my uncle had us all wear funny clothes and march around in big herds
Seems we’re related through the same uncle. I recall a similar experience in the faraway distant past.
My current job (big box, sporting goods store, rhymes with Rick’s…) tried to make us learn ‘corporate speak’, for greeting customers, for answering the phone, for departing customers, etc.
They’re lucky if anyone gets a ‘hey, howareyoudoing?’ out of me. Run on intentional.
Also, I worked at a call center for internet tech support (for dial up!), and I was always fighting their dress code.
A dress code…for people that are never seen by customers…let that sink in.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see midriff pajamas, flipflops, or a Who Farted t shirt, but button up shirts tucked in? Go fuck yourself. Business casual, enough said.
Anyway, this place was always harping on me to tuck my shirts in. One day I snapped and pointed out that men did not have to, if the shirt was not designed for that (straight bottom vs the curvy ones(?) ). And I always wore Dickies work shirts, that are designed as such.
Surprise, surprise. The dress code was ‘amended’ soon after. My employment soon after that. Good riddance.
I too once dated a girl who worked at McDonald’s, but I also worked there and we were both 17. Exciting times for sure.The McShirt and the paper hat are the only retarded garments I’ve had to wear for a job. My “uniform” at work today was khakis, sneakers and an aloha shirt. That’s more or less what I’ve worn to work (although usually a regular shirt) since 1980.
Jeff, I’m digging this week’s veritable firehose of updates. It’s like the old days. Thanks so much.
Speaking of which, I could go for a bowl of corn right now. Motherfuckers.
I smell an erection!
Not Oprah says
” a monocle on a dog turd” Thanks Jeff- that is going to make me burst out laughing at the most inappropriate times.
I think during the development of fast-food uniforms the designers are are always asking themselves, “We’re getting there, but what can we do to remove the last vestiges of human dignity?” One of my first jobs was at a place that had uniforms with polyester burgundy corduroy pants, matching burgundy corduroy vest built onto a plaid short-sleeved shirt which had a yellow collar with ridiculously long points. Still makes me cringe to think about it.
I noticed during my time at McDonald’s that the managers had uniforms that were more like normal clothing. We teenaged peons had the full-on polyester shirts and paper hats; but the shift managers had less-obnoxious uniforms. The store manager had a normal-looking button down shirt with a McLogo over the pocket. The franchise owner just had a McTie-tac with his otherwise-normal jacket and tie.
We peon boys had to supply our own black pants. The peon girls had company-supplied McPants with an elastic waistband. I do remember one item in the dress code, pertaining to shoes: “No brogans.” What the hell is a brogan?
You’ve been at your current job for close to ten years? Holy shit! That means I’ve been reading TheWVSR for a lot longer than ten years. I remember you being laid off from your last job like it was yesterday. Congratulations, I guess!
Zach, the same thing occurred to me. Of course, that means you’re at least ten years older too; I goddam well know I’m at least five years older.
Man, work blocked thewvsr.com several months ago and I’ve gotten way behind on the action. \\
I need to catch up.