Friday, October 20, 2006

no customer service awards won here...

I work with this receptionist named Dolores who is the most unfriendly receptionist I have ever worked with. I try to take her with a grain of salt; she is miserable, older, uses a cane, and closely resembles Jabba the Hutt wearing dangely pearl earings. I know that's mean but the visual it's going to create is pretty close to the real thing. Anyway, she seems to always be a little annoyed, or frustrated or flustered, and I try my best to be nice, help her out when I can, I try not to ask too much of her because I've seen her flustered and I don't want to be the one responisble for giving her a heart attack. When I arrive to work in the morning, I have to walk past her to get to my department. To be polite, I say "Hello" or "Good Morning." I don't make much small talk, just enough to be polite.

So get this:

The other day I was walking past her, and she stopped me. She started stammering, "you know, I know that you like to be polite, but I would just prefer it if you didn't say hello to me in the morning."

I was pretty shocked. I think my mouth might have been hanging open. I have never been told that in my entire life. Luckily, Delores' supervisor was walking by at the same time she started telling me this, and stopped to listen to what Delores was saying.

"I'm sorry," I told her, I was really confused now, kind of like the time I slept all afternoon, and woke up at 7 PM and thought it was 7 AM and i was running late for school. "I don't have to say anything to you if that's what you prefer." I was mystified.

"Yes, I prefer it. I'm just too busy and I don't have time to say hello to you. When you say hello it disrupts me." She was having a heard time making eye contact and seemed really upset.

"Ummm...okay." I turned to leave, and so did the supervisor, who shot me a look that read, "what the hell??" After we got down the hall and around the corner, Delores' supervisor said to me, "That was so WEIRD!" I agreed, and relayed that I had never been told that in my entire life. "It's not like I'm forcing her to make small talk," I defended myself to Delores' supervisor.

A week of no acknowledgement has gone by, it seems weird to me to walk past someone and act like I don't know them. I don't know how she's able to keep her job, because if she's that unfriendly to me, I can't imagine how she treats other people throughout the day. It's kind of a bummer because I really value the role of a receptionist in an organization, I have always felt that they were the face of the company. Sometimes I think the only company Delores could be the face of is some Tatooine smuggling depot.

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