“Out of Area”…Not a Good Sign

A telephone call comes in. On screen the telltale message…Out of Area. I prepare a flat, sullen voice of rejection. I could do friendly, but I don’t want the caller to feel good about calling on a Saturday morning at 9 am.

“Yes”, I say, dripping rancor and previewing the rough seas ahead.

“Is Mr. Scher there?”

“Who wants him?”

“This is Miss Curtains from an organization he’s supported in the past.”

“What organization is that?”

“It’s a political organization…is Mr. Scher there?”

“Does the organization have a name?”

“Can I assume this is Mr. Scher?”

“Did I say it was Mr. Scher? I only enquired who was calling.”

She did reveal…realizing that she was sinking fast…the political organization and, indeed, it was one to whom I have thrown my ‘generosity’. But I was too heavily invested in rancor to walk any of that rancor back.

Then there is the call, when the caller, throws out any pretense of amity from the start and assumes a hostile tone.

“Yes”’ I answer in my practiced “Out of Area” voice.

”I need to speak to the person who handles the Con Edison bill.” The authoritarian tone is meant to sound as if the call is official and cooperation is required.

”Do you work for Con Edison?

“I work for a company authorized by Con Edison.”

That cleverly ends the call, as I smoke out another tawdry sales call.

Lately, I have picked up on calls and a recorded voice says, “please hold”. Could the call be something important or simply a way of maximizing the impact of robo calls. I always opt for the latter and put down the receiver quick as a flu shot.

In some board room, somewhere, some bright, young, naive MBA will suggest that upfront honesty might be a better way…the Walmart greeter method. The downside of that, of course, is washing off the sticky sweetness.