Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Conversations in Retail: First Installment

Four days a week I am tasked with the rather unglamorous duty of spending nine hours answering phones at a car dealership for low-income citizens. Tedious conversations ensue. I am hoping to post regularly with detailed accounts of the tedious-ist.

Scene: Paula is sitting in her cubicle, eating a cup of yogurt and looking at Facebook. The office is quiet except for the sound of typing and a buzz of fluorescent lights. Large window panes reveal a gray sky and an expansive lot of haggard looking vehicles. The phone rings. Paula puts down her spoon and picks up the receiver.

Paula F.(with mild enthusiasm): Thank you for calling ---Auto Sales. This is Paula, how can I help you?

Fast talking customer (with indistinct accent): Paula I am looking at the website and I am seeing a 1995 T-t-t-Toyota Camry. Is this true?

PF: Let me see...I have a 19-

FTC: Is, is the 1995 Camry. It is 1995. What are you trying to say?

PF: If you're looking for the 1995 Camry, it's sold. We have a 19-

FTC: I am seeing the 1995, this is what I'm looking for. Do you still have it? It is sold?

PF (with increasing irritation): If you'd give me a chance to speak, I'd tell you that we no longer have the 1995. We have a 1990 Toyota Camry.

FTC: Oh, oh, oh. OK. Yes and that is there. Ok so we will come. And thank you Paula, so you have a 1990. Ok, ok. Thank you, bye. We will be there.

PF (concealing laughter): Ok? Bye.

Paula hangs up the receiver and resumes staring at the computer screen. 15 seconds pass, the phone rings again. She picks up the receiver.

PF (again with enthusiasm): Thank you for calling ---Auto Sales, this is Paula. How can I help you?

FTC (panicked): Uh, uh, uh yes Paula. How do you get there? 75, 75. And exact address? We need to get there. And we need to come. The 1990 Camry.

PF: Ok, we're at 714 W. Potter.

FTC: 783 Toppert? T-O-P-P? We will GPS?

PF (frustrated): No, 714 W. Potter. P-O-T-T-E-R.

FTC: Ok, ok. 815 E. Potts Ave. Uh, uh, ok.

PF: 7.1.4. W. P. - O. - T. - T. - E. - R.

FTC: Ok, ok, ok. Ok, ok. Yes we will come. And there are two or three Camrys that we will be seeing?

PF: No, there is only one Camry. The 1990 Camry.

FTC: Oh, ok. And this is Paula? Thank you Paula, we will see you soon.

The line goes dead. Paula hangs up the receiver and clicks over to Gmail on her computer. 20 seconds pass, the phone rings. Paula picks up the receiver.

PF (with manic enthusiasm): Thank you for calling ---Auto Sales, this is Paula. How can I help you?