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Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Another day

I worked with a guy way back in the day, doing a rather tedious job phoning up people in companies trying to get from them the expiry date of their vending machine. This job did have a number of funny moments, such classic gems as:

- "How many people work there?". "About half of them!".
- "Do you know when your vending machine contract ends?". "When the tea lady dies."

We also had this technique that, to be honest was probably the sort of behaviour that would warrant a warning at the least, maybe even the sack. But anyway, neither happened, so it remains a jolly good story. Anyway, the technique was that if someone upset us, we would ring back and when they answered, we would talk while pressing the mute button on and off, doing a kind of Norman Collier, which obviously confuses the other person no end, and provided much amusement to us. Oh how we laughed over that one.

Another time, we were asked to record some calls for playing at a company conference, to demonstrate what we were doing. In hindsight, I cannot help but think that this is, and was, illegal, but as with the Norman Collier trick, no-one found out so none the wiser. The recording kit had a headphone, and so one person did the call while the other listened on the headphones. The kit itself had a variable sensitivity thing built in, so if you were ringing a Yorkshire man, it would wind the volume right down, and if you were ringing a church mouse, it would wind the volume right up. This technical wizardry presented us with an unexpected benefit to the person on headphones, as follows. The usual way the call went was us to do introductions and ask about their vending machine expiry, and often the person had to put the phone down and wander over to a filing cabinet to find details. They would also often mumble to themselves, or grumble to a colleague, and to the caller on the phone, this was not audible, but to the person on the headphones, with the volume cranked right up, they could hear everything. So they would get to hear all the interesting, rude and daft comments made, such as "another f##king tele-marketer" or "It is up next year, but I will tell them in four years time just to get them off our case." We were the James Bonds of the teleconferencing world.

Anyhow, this guy I worked with used to work somewhere else. This somewhere else was a place in Loughborough, where indeed the first job was located, and I cannot remember the name of this somewhere else, but if you know Loughborough, then it is a big old engineering company over the back of the train station. I am guessing the environment may have played a part in the story. So, the guy I worked with (let's call him guy) worked with an old guy (let's call him old guy) who, at 5.29 precisely would put his lunch box and thermos flask in to his Army Surplus rucksack, and using two arms ease his considerable bulk out of the regulation office chair, possibly breaking wind in the process (depending on what the missus had done for his lunch box) would exclaim "Well, that's another day nearer 't' grave."

Happy days.

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