GETTING MORE TALE #568: Time Traveler
Not a pet peeve, exactly, but annoying just the same: Why did customers ordering CDs often leave a work number as their only contact? Was this CD such an urgent issue that one had to be notified immediately at work? I’ve never left a work number as a contact for anything I’ve ever ordered from a store. Why would I? Call me at home. Leave a message if you have to. Let me know it’s in, and I’ll pick it up. I won’t make you jump through hoops or speak to my receptionist, just call me.
I would also tend to think that receiving calls at work about something as trivial as a CD might not be the best plan. “You have a call from a client on 201, and a call from a CD store about the new Sarah McLachlan on 202.” I don’t know and I still don’t understand. Leaving a work number was an annoyance to us all. A couple times, a customer left just a first name and a work number. Upon calling the number, I was told “We have three people here with that name.” Great. Can you put me on the line with the one who listens to Sarah McLachlan?
Then it would really grind my gears when one of the “work number” people would come in and say “I’ve been waiting for a call and you never phoned me.” Then I’d pull the CD and find the slip inside where it said “left message” and the date. Of course this could happen at home too, and you could usually tell when a disinterested parent or roommate wasn’t taking down the message. At least in those cases, you could make a note to do a callback because it didn’t seem like the person was going to get the message.
The most memorable “work number” guy was a fellow that used to come in during 1996-1997. I’m guessing he was self employed because he seemed to be the only one working at that number. What I remember most was how he answered the phone: “Time travel,” he would say. Ring ring,”Time travel!” That’s how he answered the phone. “Ummm, is Greg* there?” we’d ask. Then he’d act weirded out that somebody called and asked for Greg. I assume the business was called Time Travel and I have no idea what they did, though we certainly did speculate. Thus, his nickname at the store became “Time Traveler”. It didn’t help that he was a bit of an ass and nobody liked dealing with him. I think that’s why he stopped coming in. He could sense that nobody liked helping him.
Did he run a travel agency? Maybe he was building a time machine? Or better yet, maybe he had combined the two — a time travel agency! Want to see the Spanish Inquisition? Book a trip with Time Travel today!…or yesterday! Ask for Greg.
* not his real name