Expressively American

In 2004 my son Steve (then 21) was allegedly “made redundant” from a Customer Services call centre, working for a major credit card company. I say “allegedly” because that is what he told me at the time. A few months later, discussing his old job,  he accidentally used the word “sacked”. Hmmm… Not a word you should use about yourself in front of your Mother.

Having established the truth (by now he had a new job, so I wasn’t as angry as I might have been) I asked him what he had been getting up to, in his old job. Then he told me all about the antics that he and his colleagues used, to make the task of endlessly talking to customers (about lost and stolen credit cards) more enjoyable. A proper Mother would have been horrified at his stories… But I am not a proper Mother and if something is funny enough, I tend to let my kids get away with it. This is his confession:

“We used to pretend to be different people.”

“What?”

“My mate did a great impression of Doc Brown from ‘Back To The Future’. He used to ask customers what was wrong and then shout ‘Great Scott!’ when they told him. He had the voice off brilliantly. One woman told him that she hoped his throat got better soon. Hahahahaha!”

“Who were you?”

“Michael Jackson. Of course the voice would be too obvious, so I just said that ‘Dah!’ sound that he does, at the end of every sentence…’You’ve lost your credit card? Dah! Can you tell me the account name? Dah! What is your address? Dah!’ Hahahahaha! My mate would be stuffing his f**king fist in his mouth, trying not to laugh. The customers were so stupid, they never asked what I was doing. In fact we quite often answered the phone and said ‘Hello, Ghostbusters!’ and they’d just go ‘Wha?’ and we’d say the proper thing… Nobody really listens. We were never challenged. Hahahaha!”

“Where did I go wrong with bringing you up?”

“Oh come on, it’s a boring job if you don’t have fun with it. We made sure they were OK. Obi Wan answered the phone a lot. He had the Force on his side, ‘In my experience there’s no such thing as luck’ my mate used to say. Really, he was a fantastic Alec Guinness. Hahahaha! I couldn’t do that but I spent a lot of time as Harvey Keitel’s Mr. White ‘You’re gonna be OK!’. HAHAHAHAHA!”

“Steven! You’re bad,”

“My mate was great though, he was such a realistic Alan Partridge that even if the odd intelligent customer DID catch on, they’d call people to listen to him and ask him to say ‘Aha!’. It was like an extra service really… Not like the water.”

“The water?”

“Oh, it was just a competition…Who could talk to a customer whilst holding the most water in their mouth. We measured it in paper cups. Hahahaha!”

“So that’s why you got sacked then is it? All this arsing about?”

“Nah. I just kept being late.”

Bloody kids.

 Mind you, he is a very respectable member of society now and works for a large company, who have awarded him “Employee of the Year” twice in three years (his office employs 400 people). I bet he still does some larking about though!

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14 responses to “Expressively American

  1. Oh, FUNNY! I would have laughed too! (former telemarketer in another lifetime) One of my friends at my old job used to do this, I just couldn’t be fast enough to get it right away, kept slipping into the old habit of reading the script.

    No shame in laughin’, mom, just don’t let them see you do it!!!

  2. In my old job, I used to answer the phone by barking in an American accent: “McCluskey. Homicide. Whaddya want?” – used to bring the otherwise quiet office into fits of laughter.

    Although I had to stop when someone repeated it back to me.

  3. That is pretty funny. It took me a minute to get the title of this post. I was like, what is American about this? :)

    (I’m a tad bit sensitive after traveling for so long and constantly being heckled for being from the USA.)

  4. Hot DAMN but I wish I’d thought of this when I was working in the Pizza call centre…

  5. Bravo! So, this is where Brandon learned the art of shenanigans!

  6. How funny!! I wish I’d been bold enough to use some of those tricks way back in the day when I did phone sales! LOL Great story. I’d have laughed at my kid too. :)

  7. In my very first job at Burger Queen (US company from the south that was testing the market up in Canada), whenever we worked the drive thru we would use different accents. It amused us and confused the customers. lol

  8. I think my husband answers the phone, “Hello Ghostbusters” from time to time.

    I once had a temp job answering phones, and we didn’t even have cubicles. It was a table divided up like a Trivial Pursuit pie holder. Anyway, the guy in the next triangle was named Stan. I changed his script to say, “Thank you for calling [Blah-Blah and Company Blah-Blah’s Program]. This is Satan. May I have your membership number please?” He would say Satan instead of Stan at least 25% of the time.

    I remember I would always get in trouble because I wouldn’t read from the script exactly. (First of all, the script was full of grammatical errors. Also, why should I tell a customer to visit the website right after they told me they are currently looking at the website? Argghhh!)

  9. I would love to have someone like that answer my phone calls rather than the English as a fourth language person that I usually get.

    With boring jobs you just have to get through the day. Spicing it up makes it much nicer.

  10. So funny. I wish I could have heard some of those calls!

  11. What a genius idea – shall implement imediately!

  12. well what do you know. i too, was “sacked” from a call center.

    i can’t blame them. its a HORRIBLE job.

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