By contributing Nicole Rougeot
When I took a job as a university telephone operator last October, I was just looking for my $8 an hour at a place where I could do my homework and surf the web. As a fitness instructor and a camp counselor as well, along with previous experience as a waitress, bartender, and front desk clerk, I pretty much thought I had seen and heard it all in my 20 years of experience on this earth. Turns out rich bratty campers and drunken college students have nothing on some of the idiots who call the main number of my university.
Here are some of my favorites…
Hello, yes, I’m John Smith’s parents (hi 20,000 students, like I know who that is) and I need to know the password to their email, their grades, their financial status, whether or not they have been attending class, and for good measure how often they drink, smoke, and have sex.
Listen lady… your precious baby boy is legally an adult, we can’t give you any of that info. Hey, it’s the law, not me—but personally, I’m damn glad my ‘rents can’t find out that I’m half an inch away from academic probation either.
Potential Student Parent
Hello, my itty-bitty-big-baby-boy is thinking about coming to your schooly-wooly in the fall—but I just needed to make sure that he can talky-walky with someone beforehand? And you have people to change diapers?
This is a breed very similar to the Overbearing Parent, but almost more annoying because they make their children sound like such helpless imbeciles. Sorry, we don’t accept students who haven’t been potty-trained yet.
Hello, my name is Susan Smith and I work for such-n-such company and I’ve been thinking about taking a class at your school because my son’s girlfriends’ second cousin’s neighbor goes there and well… haha, this is actually a funny story…
SHUT THE FUCK UP. I was annoyed enough when the phone rang in the first place (you interrupted my CSI episode on cbs.com), and now you think I work here? …Either way, all you had to do was call and ask for admissions, or continuing education, or say you wanted to register for a class. I couldn’t give two shits about your husband’s mistress’s son or whoever you were babbling on about…
Assume I Know Everyone and Everything on Campus People
Hello, is Mary there? And is that one office that’s located in a building over on that side of campus open?
Are you KIDDING me? Did you fall off the dumb tree and hit every branch on the way down? There are at least 25,000 individuals on this campus and I’m sure there’s like 754 people named Mary. Do you know her last name? Department? Is she a student? Faculty?
No, of course you don’t know anything. That’s why god invented clairvoyant telephone operators. Too bad you didn’t call one.
By the way, do you even know the name of the “office” you’re looking for? This campus is MADE of offices and unfortunately I don’t know where they’re all located, or their hours… because I’m an OPERATOR—I’m here to give you numbers. You don’t call 411 and ask them what the hours are for that pizza place down the road from your sister’s house do you? (Eh, then again, I’m sure dumb fuckers like you just might.…)
Herro, yes mmmi needmm that placemmm how you say mmmdept grad school, admissions…fin mmm aid? Si?
Okay now I’m annoyed because not only did you interrupt my game of solitaire, but I can’t even understand you. Get your foot outta your mouth or signup for English as a Second Language and try again.
Now, I’m transferring you to admissions and they can deal with you there.
Hello, yes, I’m Mr. McFuckUp who did not graduate from college, so now, as a punishment, I have to make sales calls to universities. May I speak with whoever is in charge of purchasing your office supplies?
Again, are you fucking kidding me? We are the size of a TOWN, everyone does their own thing. If you’re attempting to win the entire school’s pen and paper account, my advice would be to have an affair with the president of the university, then demand an order for 10,000 cases of Uniball pens and extra large legal pads.
I Deserve Special Treatment
Hello, why yes I tried calling financial aid/admissions/bursar and I heard a recording. I did not feel like clicking through the menu options and waiting for my turn, so is there a special number you can connect me too? I mean I already had to wait 25 seconds to speak with you… this is so ridiculously uncalled for… I need to speak to your manager about this unacceptable use of machines.
If I have to navigate through menus in order to talk to a live person on this goddamn campus then so do you. Deal with it like everyone else—trust me, I’m sure your shit stinks, too.
And just when you want to chuck the phone at the annoying co-worker, you get a phone call from a very special breed…
The crazies are a whole new ballgame. Here are some personal favorite phone calls from them…
Hello, do you have some place that does chemical testing? I think my neighbor put rat poison in the bread she baked me.
Excuse me while I put the phone down and laugh until I cry…okay I’m back. Sure lady, I’ll connect you to our “CSI Department” and uh…they’ll help you out. Or better yet, why don’t you just make your neighbor a sandwich with that bread and feed it to your neighbor? Consider it a science experiment…
This next call started out fairly normal: a lady had taken an online class and was on campus for the first time to take the final, so she needed help getting from one of the parking garages to the building where her exam was. So even though it wasn’t my job, I decided to help her. She thanked me for explaining how to get there, and then there was a long pause…
Okay…but um well how do I get out of the parking garage? These exit signs are very confusing…
Now I understand the stress around finals, I mean I’m a student too I even set aside the listening to music and surfing the web at work to try and get some studying done…unless I’m interrupted by calls like these…
Hi, sorry to bother you but I called you on my cell phone ‘cause my daughter is on the house phone and she’s really upset and she called me ‘cause she didn’t know what to do and her exam started twenty minutes ago and she doesn’t know where it is and her TA isn’t in his office so she doesn’t know what to do.
Newsflash lady—your daughter hasn’t been going to class, that’s why she doesn’t know where the exam is. She’s also dumb as a rock, or else she would have checked the online finals schedule and realized that her TA is most likely administering the exam; so no, he wouldn’t be in his office. And if your daughter had half a brain she would have realized all this. Now if you’ll excuse me, I actually know where and when my finals are and I’ve accepted the fact that I’m failing, so I need to get back to playing Diner Dash.
Then there are the just damn skeevy phone calls…
Hello, my you have a nice speaking voice. How old do you think I am? You know you sound young… my, my, if I was any younger I’d have half a mind to ask you out… even though I’m old I’m still potent.
Ugh, gag me much? Sorry, I had to gargle some Listerine after you made me relive my breakfast (note to self: cold pizza while hungover… not a good idea). This is the kind of phone operator you call for numbers, not SEX.
And if the phone calls weren’t enough, you should here about the skunk hair kid, crazy old lady, and transvestite I work with. But that’s for another time.