Saturday, May 26, 2007

I am a mouse, really I am

I grew up being a very typically shy, quiet, Chinese girl, who only spoke when she was spoken to, especially with adults. During kindergarten, when my teacher would take attendance and call my name I wouldn't say a thing... then she would look up and say with exasperation "Karen, you're supposed to say PRESENT". But I just didn't like to open my mouth. I suppose it didn't help that I spoke only Cantonese until I started school, so it was difficult to communicate with my teacher and other kids around me. And I started school in a new city, away from my Grandma and everything that had been familiar to me.

So I've always considered myself on the quiet side, "mousy" if you will. I know a lot of my friends told me their first impression of me was that I was snooty - which wasn't the case, I just felt awkward and chose not to say much or interact. It's only when people really get to know me when I totally open up and don't really shut up.

To remedy this, my mother enrolled me in all sorts of lessons, and whenever there was a speech contest at school she would make sure I participated. She really wanted to beat that shyness right out of me. And I suppose it worked, if two recent incidents are any indication.

Incident 1
I was shopping for a little outfit for our friend's new daughter, and I found the cutest dress with matching pants and socks. We were the only people in the store (me and little G) so when I went to pay I figured it would be pretty quick. The sales girl took the merchandise from me and commented on how nice the outfit was, and I concurred. Then I asked whether the sizing was right for a 15 month old, as it was a gift for a friend. She said it was perfect, but she said they could always exchange it if it didn't fit. So we continue to pleasantly chit-chat while she folds the clothes into the tissue paper and she says to me "so you don't need gift receipts, right?" Uh, what do you think the first clue was lady? But anyway, I said, "Actually, I do as it's a gift." And then she proceeds to check the bar codes, and request my phone number, to see if I'm on the customer list.

While she does this she offhandedly says to me again, "Do you need gift receipts?". And I patiently say, "Yes I do." But then my telephone number comes up with another customer, so she does what she needs to, takes my credit card and puts the purchase through. I sign the chit, she gives me the bill and I say, "So you put the gift receipts in the bag?" And she says, "Oh, you need gift receipts? You didn't say you did." UH, EX-SQUEEZE ME??!!!

I felt my "shiny, happy, shopping" face drop quickly to be replaced by my "WTF, you dopey girl" annoyed face in a millisecond. My next words, dripping with ice:

"Yes, I did say I needed gift receipts. You asked me TWICE and I responded YES I NEED THEM, BOTH TIMES."

So then she spent the next ten minutes trying to re-do the transaction. An awkward ten minutes. I felt a bit bad for her as she apologized, but only sort of.

Incident 2
I hate telemarketers. Especially the ones who call right at 6:02 PM while I'm trying to get dinner on, and it's much later than I planned (as usual). Normally when the phone rings at that hour, I don't answer it, and I don't let my kids answer either. But Hubby was away, so I let L pick it up in case it was his Dad. Big mistake. L listens a bit, then he hands it to me, "For you, Mom".

"Hello there, we're in your neighbourhood and are pleased to offer you a free estimate on all windows and doors" this voice on the other end says. Well, I would hope it would be a free estimate, why would I pay?

I respond, "I'm sorry, we're not interested". So trying again he says "We're in your neighbourhood and there's no obligations". To which I reply, "Well, we're not in the market for windows right now, so no thanks". Then he says, "When can we call you back?" and I say again: "Sorry, as I said we're not interested."

This is what he comes back with: "Well, let me speak to your mother"


By this time, my patience is gone and I YELL into the phone, "I am the mother and I've already told you no thanks GOOD BYE!" and I hang up as I hear him sputtering. Liam says to me, "Are you OK mom?" I guess it was quite uncharacteristic of me, I can only imagine how red and foul my face looked.

Don't you think I did my mama proud?


Dina said...

okay those two "customer service" people are both dopes! The first one perhaps needs to invest in a good hearing aid or some listening skills improvement lessons (which i used to teach BTW)
the second were way too nice to him! I would have just hung right up on him or told him to FU!!

kailani said...

The first one - why did she bother to even ask the question if she wasn't going to listen for an answer?

The second one - telemarketers are the worst. I know they're only doing their job but I still can't handle them. Thank goodness for caller ID!

Chrissy121875 said...

Oh my gosh, Karen! I feel so sorry for you! It's almost funny (but not really) how dopey or clueless some people can be! I can't stand stupid people! Well...if they can't help it because they really are slow, then fine, but if they're just ignorant and don't listen, then I get really annoyed.

Naomi (Urban Mummy) said...

Wow. I hate poor customer service.

As for the telemarketer - next time - just tell them to please take you off their list.

Karen MEG said...

Dina - I know, I worked in customer service for a few years when I was first out of school and listening is such a huge part of it.
Kailani - I know, I feel badly sometimes that telemarketers are only doing their job, but it's such a pain, as they always call at dinner.
Chrissy-it is almost funny, but as you've said I suppose some people can't help it. Gives me fodder to blog about though, doesn't it :)
Naomi - thanks for stopping by. I should get "de-listed".

Kami said...

HA! Karen, we have a LOT in common, this post could have been about me. I am still not one to strike up a conversation with just anyone - maybe my mom should have taken your mom's approach! She didn't and I am still a bit shy - oh and I got called a snob more time than I could count. You'd think that would change me but oh no, I am super stubborn!

But I will yell at people like Mr. and Mrs Grouchypants I am the strong silent type but if I get ruffled, LOOK OUT!



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