Throughout my life responding to the whims of my consuming public, there have always been a certain number of Unreasonable People who have rather curious expectations of what I should be providing to them.
This was illustrated to no bigger extent today – a bank holiday – when the phone rang at 6:30pm. Until that point, as far as I had been aware (as I’m not always there to hear the landline ringing) – it had been a quiet weekend. Exactly what you might expect on a bank holiday weekend. No calls. Good.
But someone did ring at 6:30pm. A few points.
It was a bank holiday.
Even if it wasn’t a bank holiday, it was out of hours anyway.
They didn’t leave a message.
Because I am such a neurotic individual, shortly afterwards I did 1471 to find out the number, and perhaps cross-reference it against my phonebook to see if I could track down the anti-social individual. Tragically, there was no match.
But then my brain was getting really annoyed with this person. I decided I would try to hold back on my anger. They may have forgotten what type of day it was. They may have forgotten the time. It happens. I have quite a few retired customers to whom the weekends are just another day. Every day is a weekend.
So if that was the case, they would call back tomorrow.
They didn’t. They didn’t even call back the next day. Or the next. Or the next.
So what is the mentality of this person? It is an exercise in futility to get angry over things like this, but I do. I can’t help it. I have tried to stop my brain being so obsessed with social norms and customs like this, but at times I feel more like Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm. It just happens…
What kind of person gives ONE opportunity to take their custom, and offers it at such an incredibly inconvenient and thoughtless time? One single call, leaving no message, on the evening of a bank holiday day?
If they’d left a message, it would have eased my entire worries. Leaving a message is a tacit admission of “I will wait for when it is a more convenient moment for you” – that is OK. It recognises that you are not the centre of the universe, and that just because it is convenient for you right at this moment, it might not be convenient for the object of your call.
Over time my brain has come to accept that these things are inevitable. There are some massively rude people out there. They could even be the type of people where, should the boot me on the other foot, and I call them at 10pm at night, they would be greatly offended. Rude, rude, rude. They are out there. I know all too well from my brothers who have worked in call centres.
I also wonder, if I had answered the call, would they have said something like, “Oh I wasn’t expecting you to answer!” – I have heard that before when I’ve answered calls at slightly odd times, which I used to do a lot more than I do now. In fact, I try to be very strict with the cut off times now.
I honestly never thought I’d be able to exercise my social observation powers so much through business. An unfortunate, and unwanted, side-effect.
Then again, I guess not everyone’s like me.
And the customer is not always right.