28 August 2007

Twenty four seven

I interrupt the program for this minor ranting.

Some hour and 30 minutes ago, my cellphone rang. At 2:30 in the morning, sometimes that can spell something alarming. Is someone from my family having an emergency? My husband, who is out of town on business, was naturally the first one that came to mind. I looked at the cellphone and did not know the number. It could not have been my husband because it came from a Manila landline I didn't recognize.

So, at 2:30 in the morning, I ignored the call.

After 5 minutes, my cellphone rang again. And it rang a third time when I still ignored it. By then, my body was unwilling to nudge from the bed, but my mind was racing... It could be from a hospital, someone in my family must be calling my cellphone using a landline....But why would they do that, they have their cellphones with them all the time? Maybe they got into an accident and crushed their cellphone? Unlikely! Maybe it's a stalker? A prankster? It has happened before.... Did I just reveal too much on the internet this week?

From initially a feeling of detachment, to curiosity, to concern, to worry and finally, to grief, in briefly five minutes I was experiencing minor emotional torture.

At 2:30 in the morning.

While tossing and turning in bed, my landline suddenly rang. This time, I could not ignore it. It really must be an emergency!

I picked up the phone and tried to find my sleepy voice....

Me: (voice croaking) Hello.....
Guy on the phone: Uhm, good morning. Is this [business name]?
Me: ....Yes? (It sure doesn't sound like an emergency!)
Guy on the phone: Uhm, hi! I got your number from the email.... (noticeably perky voice at 2:30 in the morning, noticeable accent, the ESL accent). I called [husband's name] but he told me to call this number instead (You called my husband? At 2:30 in the morning? You woke him up? Oh, no! I feel so sorry for you now...Did he snarl at you? He must have snarled at you! You woke him up!)
Me: Uh-huh....
Guy on the Phone: I was wondering if you have [proceeds to talk business] ..... (You called me up at 2:30 in the morning for that? What kind of person are you?!) ...

He proceeded to ask me questions about products and service. And I was shaking my head in frustration. On a normal, godly hour, say between 8 am to 6 pm, I would have been a lot more accommodating. Sensing that I was in no mood to discuss business with him at that time and sensing that he had awful timing (Hah! Understatement!), he apologized and then said that if it works out, he was going to be a regular client or customer.

Is that supposed to make me feel okay about it? >:(

I asked him, in my most polite voice at the very least, to call back at the proper time and then I tried getting back to sleep, to no avail of course.

A similar incident happened over the weekend. It was from another one of my husband's clients. I think I should mention that yes, I do handle some of these "customer service" matters for him, especially when he's out of town. Anyway, the client sends a text inquiry on a Sunday morning, while I was doing groceries at a crowded mall, with my 9year old who kept wandering at the store, making the situation a bit more stressful than it already is (crowded malls, ugh!). Being a weekend, a holiday weekend at that, I decided to just lay low and address the inquiry later, as in --- on a proper business day.

To my annoyance, the same person sent an email a couple of hours later. His message went something like this: I sent a text message but did not receive any reply. I hope you're not closing business.

I wanted to email back: WTF?! You did not get a reply right away....and you conclude we're closing business? It's a Sunday!!! Tomorrow's a national holiday! Did it not occur to you that people do take advantage of this?

But instead I sent a courteous email, albeit with a similar message...I took out WTF. Haha.

These people should not get away with it.

In the advent of businesses taking it to the next level, with all these 24 hour services they offer and the fact that a slightly bigger percentage of the work force now keep jobs during graveyard shifts (thanks to a booming call center industry), it occurred to me that the term "business hours" is no longer applicable and is observed less and less. These two clients are from that industry and this is not meant to generalize people, please don't mistake that. But maybe some of those who work these shifts may have forgotten how it normally is. Or worse, they assume everyone else is on the same frequency.

I just find that rather insensitive. >:(

On the other hand, I do make the mistake of bothering clients who, I find out later, have worked the graveyard shift and are sound asleep at 9:00 AM. :P

Still, the two particular clients must have to be made aware ours isn't a 24-hour service, right?

To not be perceived as insensitive, who's gonna make the adjustments with whom? Am I supposed to understand when a client incessantly calls at 2 AM?

And so...here I am beginning my day with a rant.

I was all bent on starting this day right. My itinerary and to-do list was already carefully mapped in my head. The Virgo freak that I am, I even planned the time for my r & r today. It was gonna be smooth and perfect. I'm one of those who superstitiously believe that if I started the week right, it will extend for the whole week.

That call at 2:30 in the morning threw me off-track. Shit.