He’s Got My Number.

The line of storms that crossed the country this weekend mostly missed us. We had some heavy rain, a lot of wind, and a lot of branches down in the yard but I just assumed the worst of it had passed by all of Nashville. Then, in the afternoon, with the sun already coming out, I went on an errand and realized how lucky we’d been. Just a few blocks from the house I had to back up and take a different route because a road was completely blocked by a fallen tree. It was the only one I saw across a road but there were a lot of trees and large branches down everywhere else.

Then in the evening I called a local restaurant. The guy who answered sounded really cheerful but when I told him I wanted to place a takeout order he said, “Oh, I’m so sorry, our power has been out most of the day. It just came back on but we’re still getting things up and going.”

“I’m just glad you’re okay!” I said.

We ended up having about a five minute conversation, longer than I think I’ve ever been on the phone with anyone at a restaurant, and I got reassured that all the staff were okay too and they hoped to be back to normal the next day. He seemed grateful to talk to someone, or maybe he was just glad I wasn’t a jerk about it. Why would I be? Well, I remembered something that happened when I worked in customer service. All of us sat at phones and computers in a single large room on the first floor of an office building. One day there was a bomb threat and we had to evacuate.

I was one of the lucky few taken to a remote location where our phones were redirected and I got to answer them with, “I’m sorry, our system is currently down. Could you please call back in a couple of hours?” I’m not sure why we had to use a cover story since I think “WE HAD TO LEAVE BECAUSE OF A BOMB THREAT” would have gotten a lot more sympathy but I didn’t make management decisions.

One guy called and before I could finish saying “Hello” he started telling me all his information. I stopped him and gave him the cover story. There was a pause. Then he said, “Well, I guess we’re going to have to cancel all our business with you!” and he hung up.

I was quick enough to get down his information and a sales team was dispatched to placate him, which he didn’t deserve, but that was another management decision.

It only occurs to me now that the restaurant I called has caller ID, since everybody has that now, and if I’d been rude they could easily block my number. But it had been a difficult day. I didn’t need to be a jerk about it.

Facebook Comments



    We’ve all got your number, Chris, and we’re glad to know you.

    Sometimes I notice strangers being very happy to talk to me and I realize that part of that is the fact that, like you, I am not a jerk. Non-jerks, unite!
    ANN J KOPLOW recently posted…Day 3729: It all worked outMy Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      For various reasons the number of jerks in the world seem to outnumber the non-jerks, but I think we should follow your suggestion and unite. I believe we’d find there are a lot more of us than we realize.


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