Mistaken Identity

I recently read a post by a young woman who is a receptionist for a small firm.  She handles the few walk-ins, directs incoming emails and deals with the constant phone calls.  She wrote of the strange and wonderful telephone calls she has to deal with.

Steam ears

Like being a greeter at Wal-Mart, this is a job I could not handle.  I like to talk to people, but I don’t suffer idiots well.  By about coffee-break time the first morning, I’d want to injure someone.  Since I couldn’t get at any of the fools on the phone, it would probably be the loud blonde in accounting, with the nasal, Fran Drescher voice, who snaps her gum as she chews.


The lady with the post estimates that she knows 83% (what an interesting number 😕 ) of her regular callers by their voice, even before they identify themselves.  That’s a useful ability to have, but it should not be relied on unquestioningly.

It’s only good telephone etiquette, and business sense to identify yourself on the phone.  When I worked as a Purchasing Agent, I always did so when I called someone – until that fateful day.  I had called a supplier one day, and told him who I was.  He replied, “Oh, you don’t have to tell me who you are.  You have a very recognizable voice.”

Once upon a time, my company required a small amount of…widgets, ASAP.   We needed them by 11 AM the next day, to allow assembly time, to make a 4 PM shipment.  I called a supplier, and in the excitement, merely started off with, “Hi Bill, could you do me a big favor?”

He replied, “Oh hi.  Yeah, sure!  What can I do for you?”  I told him what I needed, and how soon.  He put me on hold, and picked up again in a couple of minutes.  “You’re in luck.  The machine running that item is in production right now, and we have a bit of extra raw material.  I’ll tell the operator to run it out.  We’ll load your stuff tonight, and you’ll be the second stop for the truck tomorrow.  You should have them by 8 or 9 o’clock.”

I gave him a Purchase Order number, and promised to mail the confirmation.  The next day, when I arrived about 8, they weren’t there – no biggy.  They weren’t there at 9, when I took a washroom break – Hmmm.  They weren’t in by 10, when I called the receiver – startin’ to worry.  They hadn’t arrived by 11, when the receiver called me in a panic.

I finally got through to the supplier about 11:30.  “What happened to my widgets?  You promised they’d be here much earlier!”

“Oh, they’re there.  I knew how important they were to you, so I asked the driver to call me when they were unloaded.  He has a bill of lading, signed by your receiver at 8:37 AM.”

“But they’re not here!  The receiver just phoned me.”

“They must be there.  Maybe he unloaded them and just forgot.  Just call him back, Bob, and ask him….”

“BOB!!??  I’m not Bob!  This is Archon!”

“Oh shit.  You and Bob sound so much alike.”

He didn’t ask, and I didn’t tell.  The other company’s receiver unquestioningly unloaded parts they’d never previously ordered, on a waybill with a purchase order number not in their series.  The truck driver got paid overtime, because he had to go back and reload, and deliver to our plant.  And we still got a non-compliance late/short shipment demerit.

If it doesn’t say Styrofoam SM®, it isn’t, but you can be sure you’re getting the real Archon, because every one of my babbles is clearly identified as “Archon’s Den. ™”


14 thoughts on “Mistaken Identity

  1. BrainRants says:

    So how can we be certain the real Archon wrote this?


  2. Dan Antion says:

    I might still need you to mail me a confirmation Bob.


    • Archon's Den says:

      The confirmation is in the mail, along with the check. 😆
      ‘Bob’ is my go-to name for any joke. For a while, my work partner was a Bob. I’d be halfway into a gag about some klutz who couldn’t even tie his own shoes, and realize I should have named him Ralph, or Ernie. 😯

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I can relate, Bob. As a real estate paralegal, I often deal with employees of the County Clerk’s Office, both in person and by phone. One day I had what I thought was a rather silly question for which I needed to call the Clerk’s Office. I didn’t want them to know it was me so I never gave my name. I went through the main switchboard instead of the direct line to the teller window, got transferred a couple of times, and finally got a teller I had dealt with many times. I asked my question, safe in the knowledge that they get thousands of calls every day, so I would be safe in my anonymity. The teller immediately asked, “Is this [CookieCakes] from [law firm]?” I was stunned and asked her how she recognized me from all the other callers, and she replied I had a very distinguishable voice. I don’t think I do, but who knows?


  4. Jim Wheeler says:

    There is a lady who answers the phone at the heating and air company we use who always seems to be there, and has been for at least the last 15 years. She has been completely reliable every time I’ve called and she follows up – if she says it I can count on it. She knows the answer to all the questions. (I can’t think of her name now, but I know her voice and her style.) I have the feeling the whole business would founder without her. Such people are worth their weight in gold.


    • Archon's Den says:

      I am somewhat dismayed that you call an HVAC firm numerous times, even over 15 years, hopefully just for yearly inspection and adjustment. Like me building Jeep parts, after you’ve made three-quarters of a million of them, you start to get good at it.

      Like this lady, I am always pleased and impressed by someone who can take, what I fear will be a complex, difficult, time-consuming process, and roll through it quickly and easily. Such folks are not common these days. If the cash register doesn’t tell them what, and how much, today’s young can’t even make change. 😳


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