I got this idea the other day when Leslie was talking about the walk of a receptionist. I am still one, of sorts, but I do a whole lot of other stuff. And iffin the phone rings and I'm doing something else..let the someone else get it or it goes to the answering machine...I luvs this gig.
The real test of a receptionist...IS...werking in a radio station. I worked at CJOB/97 KISS FM from 1998-1991 (it takes that long to burn out). I probably burned out a lot earlier, but didn't know because I was fried. I am trying to put this in words and it is so hard to explain...you really had to be there to experience the highs and lows of getting shit on day after day. The station I was working for had a "Talk" format (which only encourages lunatics to call the switchboard) if they were cut off by the host of any program of the day. Plus to deal with all the "talent," radio sales guys and gals ( who have only one agenda) IF I DON'T GET MY CALLS, I DON'T GET MY EFFIN COMMISSION, you lowly receptionist you!..Plus the promotion dept. and the Creative staff..who write the commercials...and never get any credit..because the sales guys always are always up there ass. I really have only touched the surface.....
I will just gives you an ferinstance of one day in my old life:
7:00 PM - Balonie rolls into the office. Okay 7:02...all the uncouth sales staff are sitting at their desks waiting for the switchboard to open. I get the gears...Joan, were you and the ole man bonking too long this morning;? etc. from 4 of them...relentless...
I open the board. No calls come in for those motherfuckers.. cause their clients aren't even up for theloveofmike. But they gotta try and cry.
I sit my ass down and get all the my stuff together. I'm talking about 1998 here. The first thing on the agenda is to take any calls that would be considered as cancellations for the day, if we had inclement weather... or that Bingo at the Seniors Centre was cancelled, pot luck suppers, at a church...you name it....and enter it into a fricking smoke encrusted old computer, so the guys in the newsroom could tell the Winnipeg public where to go, and not to go. It got pretty hairy when we had a snow storms...anywho... the job got done on that old computer...(amber monitor).
8:00 PM... Mail-man comes.....with at least 3 huge bags of mail. Most of that would be for the contests we are running. We had a huge bunk to place all the mail in for all the staff. It usually took at least an hour, while running back to the phone to answer dip stick callers and all. Once all the mail was safely tucked in there little bunkers..I had to go through the other two bags of contest applicants. We had so many promos going on...it was unreal. And people wanted to win the prize...desperately!!!
Promo's......you would not believe how many people would send in a "photo copied" pieces of a newspaper promo.....a million times... even when we said 1 coupon per person. I would have to actually go through all those bags to make sure it didn't happen. I made sure some reg's never saw the light of day after I caught on to it. They were professional contest folks.
10:00 PM.. Talk show host has just been advised that a huge bunch of farmers are going to be driving through our city with their tractors and combines and such , apparently they were going coast to coast) in protest of the governments handling of ..let's just say concerns...cause I can't remember the friggin cause), and there route was going down Portage Avenue ..right past our building. So, said host, who needed the ratings made a big mutha deal of it, and announced on the radio, that he wanted all these people to come into our offices for coffee and donuts... and they did.
...yeah rite...we had coffee, but we had no donuts............we all had to scramble and try to find some foods for these hungry farmers who the "host" was supporting in his show. Finally I remembered we had about 50 boxes of a chocolate bars in our storage room a customer had given us for give aways. I called the promo dept. and hauled them out for the farmers.
That was a morning to be remembered. Hundreds of farmers walked into our little reception area, and with the swift thinking of staff and such we didn't disappoint them.
All the farmers are gone. Time to clean up my area, from littered chocolate bar wrappers and old cups of coffee. Then go for lunch.
1:00 PM .. Same ole...
Caller: What time is it?
She says, my son bought me a new clock and I can't get it working, it just keeps flashing...
Joan: I tell her in in my 911 voice..m'am you will have to call your son and ask him to set it for you.
Caller: What garbage day is it?"
Joan: It's day 4 of the garbage day cycle, please, from now on check your telephone book insert which will give you all the information you may need.
Caller: I know I won a prize on 97/KissFm and when I came in at lunch it wasn't there.
Joan: Sorry, Brother Jake, left all the prizes up here with me today, but your name wasn't on it.
Caller: You F*n bitch...he promised me a coffee cup, I WON IT...IN HIS CONTEST!
Joan: I will call Brother, muther Jake, and ask him if he made a mistake and had taken too many drugs during his show...and forgot about your frigging MUG!
Caller: Very old man....."did I hear on your station, that you do hospital alerts?"...I said, sir are you talking about an advertisement we have with medic alert bracelets or another one which alerts the hospital if you are in need of care?". "I don't know, he says...and jeezus..he sounds like he is on his last legs..and me I don't know what to do,.....by this time the switchboard is lighting up like a Christmas tree, and I have to put him on hold. I field all the calls, and when I got back to him...he was gone.....Was he confusing the station with 911.? was he dying?... I don't know..it haunts me to this day.
Walk in: Excuse me miss....."can I talk to your engineer?". He looked a little weird, and I had a few reservations about him, (fingernails about an inch long) plus he was in his pajamas but just to get rid of him I called Keith and said, "there is a guy here that wants to talk to a engineer". I just wanted this guy out of my face. Keith comes up from downstairs, and (stupid Keith) says come to my office. It didn't take more than ten minutes when Keith came back up and said..."why the hell did you let that guy in the station"....ummmm..."well, he wanted to talk to an engineer" ...and that be you shit head............apparently, this guy told him that he had a chip implanted in his head after a car accident, and was picking up CJOB and he wanted Keith to change our signals so he wouldn't be hearing it anymore...(hey he could be your next door neighbour).
Walk in Prize Winner: 'My girlfriend won a prize yesterday, and I'm picking it up."
Joan:...Okay Mr. Nobel Prize Winner...what is her name? ....some hesitation...I think she used Jude this time, sometimes she used Judy. Sorry, bud, no one named Jude or Judy won a prize in the last week.
Walk in Prize Winner: Indignant...'What are you guys running here...she won the tickets...
Joan: If she won the tickets she has to come and claim them herself and we need identification, you can't come in here and just get the tickets!
Walk in Prize Winner: "Fuck you assholes"!!! ...starts to walk out...turns around, and asks if we have an 97/KISS FM T shirts that haven't been picked up by other winners...I tell him...( hmmm I will call our Engineer) LOL.................geez he woulda killed me...
Last one for tonite...but I haven't even scratched the surface:
7:00 AM...I turned on the switchboard. The first call I got was from a guy, who very calmly told me he had placed a bomb in our building, and then hung up. I sat there for a moment, and thought, well, who do I tell first, the NEW ROOM, this was NEWS!...or do I try to find someone in administration. Unfortunately, Admin. people only come in at 8:00 - 9:00 AM..
I had a switch under my desk, and when some weirdo would come in that I couldn't handle I was told to press it and someone from the newsroom would come and try to help. I pressed it...really hard...and they all came out arunning...phewww that one had me ascared..
I could go on forever, but don't want to bore you....I was never bored working there, but I was mighty stressed.
....but never bored...