Doing battle with daily dragons

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Fine Art of Obnoxious Conversation

In general, I would choose NOT to use my blog as a bitchspot, but today I am. In the words of a massively irritating geek I met once, “Let me give you a scenario.”

It is 5.20 on Wednesday afternoon. I have spent a thoroughly mind numbingly tedious day in Purgatory saved only by the rather spectacular book, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, which I’m not technically supposed to be reading at work, but since my boss, Ms. Personality, wasn’t in, I didn’t give a toss. Purgatory is a tiny little box of a shop with four close walls to bounce off during moments of extreme ennui.

Needless to say that Blogapotamus is ready to go home. The totals are tallied (not a large job as only 3 members of the human race (and 6 people in total) chose to visit our little hidey-hole of commerce, the heater is off, the CD player is silent and all I have to do is run down the clock.

Cue the absolutely worst kind of customer you can ever have at the end of the day; someone who has no idea what they want.

This is common in Purgatory. We have a bohonkus buttload of jewelry that often confuses lesser minds that enter. To be fair, I’m like this myself when confronted by a whole lot of shiny, but I do NOT possess the decision making disorder with which this woman seemed to be afflicted.

“Are you closing soon?” she asked, first thing. This, I thought, was a Good Sign.

“We’ll be closing at half five, yes,” I said through gritted teeth, “but can I help?”

“I know I want earrings to match a turquoise bracelet,” she says.

“Okay,” I said calmly, one eye on the clock, “which variety of turquoise?”

This might sound silly and rather boring to the non-lapidarily minded, but there are MANY different colors of turquoise. However, we only carry two; North American and Chinese, so my esteemed customer had at LEAST a 50/50 chance of getting it right.

Here we come to the heart of my bitch. She pulls out her mobile to phone a friend. Not only does she speak to this friend about her current conundrum, but also goes off on a gossiping tangent that lasts for nearly 5 minutes.

Perhaps after feeling the daggers that I was projecting into her head, she finally hangs up.

“Sorry,” she giggles, “I haven’t heard from her in a while.”

“How nice.” My saccrine is running near empty.

It’s now 5.27. She resumes her perusal of our wares when her dratted phone rings again. It’s Vodafone, doing a customer service check.

I know I’m in for the long haul when I hear, “Well, no, I’m not completely satisfied with my service and I’ll tell you why…”

The Rock Star put it this way: If you were in a shop being served and someone from the phone company walked up to you and asked if they could have a few minutes of your time, you’d tell them to cram it up their connection charge. SO WHY, IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY IS IT ANY DIFFERENT WHEN THEY RING YOU?

I don’t want to hear about why you’re unhappy with your phone service. I don’t want to hear about what you’re doing Friday night. I don’t want to hear about why Aunt Ellen isn’t speaking to Aunt Iris. I don’t want to hear about your kid’s soccer game. I don’t want to hear about which pub Gemma left her knickers in and I DEFINITELY don’t want to know why. I don’t want to hear about your report that’s due tomorrow morning. I don’t want to hear that you’re on the train. I KNOW YOU’RE ON THE FUCKING TRAIN! YOU’RE SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO ME, TAKING UP TWO SEATS WITH YOUR FAT, CORPORATE ASS AND SHOUTING IN MY EAR! NOW SHUT YOUR MASSIVE CAKE HOLE BEFORE I THROW THAT COCKING DEVICE OUT THE WINDOW!

“I’m sorry,” she giggled again, after hashing out her entire cellular plan, “that was a bit rude.”

I smiled wanly, dreaming of a day when etiquette and technology could meet happily on the middle ground.