Don’t interrupt…

I’ve noticed that a lot of my posts recently have been highlighting all the frustrations and annoyances of living in America.  It’s been very anti-USA and that’s not entirely fair

I do actually enjoy living here….there is so much about America that is awesome and I will share events when they arise. However, if I wrote about all the things I like about my new life, my posts would be less ranty and more unicorny and rainbowy.

So in keeping with the negative trend, I want to share something that really annoys me when speaking to an American customer over the phone.

Firstly, let me give you some context…

Let’s say a woman is calling our company to order a new jacket for her son.  She bought a jacket with us last year and wants the same one again but in a larger size.

Got it?

Good.

Now, in England, the conversation would go something like this…

 

Customer – “Hello, I’d like to ask you about a jacket for my son”.

Me – “Uh huh, OK”. (verbally nodding to demonstrate I’m listening)

Customer – “Now, I ordered this jacket from you last year…”

Me – “Mm Hmm”

Customer – “…but it’s too small for him now, so I wanted to check if you had the same one but in a larger size”.

Me – “Sure, no problem.  Let’s bring up your details so I can find the jacket from last year.  Do you have your account number?”

Customer – “Yes, my account number is 123…”

Me – “…123…”

Customer – “…456…”

Me – “…456…”

Customer – “…789…”

Me – “…789, thanks.  So your account number is 123456789?”

Customer – “Yes”

(Brings up account details)

 

Right, now here’s the same conversation with an American customer…

 

Customer – “Hello, I’d like to ask you about a jacket for my son”.

Me – “Uh huh, OK”. (still verbally nodding)

– Silence –

Me – “Hello?”

Customer – “No it’s OK; you go ahead”.

Me – “What? No, it’s OK.  I was just listening; you go ahead”.

Customer – “OK, so I ordered this jacket from you last year…”

Me – “Mm Hmm”

Customer – “Sorry, go ahead”.

Me – “No no, please continue”.

Customer – “OK, so I ordered this jacket from you last year but it’s too small for him now, so I wanted to check if you had the same one as before in a larger size”.

Me – “Sure, no problem.  Let’s bring up your details so I can find the jacket from last year.  Do you have your account number?”

Customer – “Yes”

– Silence –

Me – (rolls eyes) “So what’s your account number?”

Customer – “123…”

Me – “…123…”

– Silence –

Me – “Hello?”

Customer – “Yes, I’m here, go ahead”.

Me – “So you said it’s 123..”.

Customer – “…123…”

Me – “123123?”

Customer – “…456…”

Me – (getting annoyed now) “…yep…”

– Silence –

Me – “Go ahead”.

Customer – “No it’s OK, you go ahead”

Me – (through gritted teeth) “I need the rest of your account number, please continue”

Customer – “…789…”

Me – “…789, thanks.  So your account number is 123123456789?”

Customer – “Yes”

(No account details…unsurprisingly)

 

Farkin’ ‘ell!

Now, let me be clear, this isn’t the case with conversations face to face, this only happens over the phone.  If you so much as fart it spooks them like a deer in the headlights of common sense.

During a face to face conversation I don’t have people stopping mid sentence…unless I flop my cock out.

raise eyebrows

I’m a stand up guy when I sit down

I’ve written a lot of entries that have been toilet related.  In fact, if you type the word ‘toilet’ in my search bar you will get an almost endless list of posts.

I clearly need to get a lot of things out.

(smirks smugly to himself)

Today’s log (smirk) is no different, and yet it is; it’s about certain observations and forms of etiquette I’ve noticed when using a toilet cubicle [stall].

Firstly there’s the ‘call to attention’.  This is a customary noise you make to alert any new toilet visitor that you’re already there, sat down, mid performance.

This customary noise usually comes in the form of a cough, a clearing of the throat, a loud sniff or the dropping of a big, heavy turd.

Often, when I’m the new arrival to the toilets this ‘call to attention’ comes in the form of general grunting and groaning, like the cubicle occupant is attempting to shit out a small donkey.  Even after I’ve dropped my dignity and taken a seat, the grunting and groaning continues.

Is their turd coming out sideways?

Imagine your grandfather sitting in a big comfy chair after a huge meal; that’s the sound I can best liken it to.

So anyway, regardless of who came in first or last, the next thing I’d like to comment on is the deafening silence that follows when the coughing, grunting and sniffing has subsided.

I mean, you can literally hear a pin drop, let alone anything else.

This is a level of silence that actually hurts your ears.  It’s quieter than being in church, or so I’ve been told; I don’t tend to hear it over the sound of my burning flesh and the screams of a thousand tortured souls.

Or is that just me?

This silence is counterproductive to the task in hand when all you want to do is push out some bum rope, especially as it’s likely you’re in the most echo efficient room in the building.

It’s almost a battle of wills to see who will set free the first fart, or something decidedly more sinister.

This is exacerbated if you have a bad stomach and want to let loose the fizzy beast within.

Personally, I reach around (easy now) and flush the toilet in time with each contraction; evacuating my bowels in perfect time with the masking sounds of the flush.

And while I’m on the subject of masking sounds, it’s a huge frustration of mine when people don’t use the hand dryer KNOWING their fellow man is attempting to curl one out – with sweaty brow and trembling knees – a few feet away.  Instead they opt for a paper towel or trouser wipe.

Give me some cover noise mate, come on.

I’d do it for you.

cover me

Now, I don’t know about you, but I had an epiphany the other day whilst sat on the loo.  I was sitting there, spending a little too long on Facebook and creating those infamous red thigh marks…

red thigh

…when I heard the guy in the neighbouring cubicle stop grunting and groaning and reach for the toilet paper.

In the library-like silence I could heard the rumble of the roll as he pulled at the paper, followed by the soft but definable snap of the paper.

It then occurred to me that the rustling that followed wasn’t him practicing Origami, it was the actual act of wiping his arse.  I could literally hear him smearing poo from his balloon knot.  And what made it worse was that he kept going, returning to the loo roll two or three times for back up.

Now I think about it, the word ‘wipe’ should be replaced with ‘vigorously scrub’.

Now, whenever I hear the rumble of the toilet roll, I know I’m about to hear a guy cleaning out his chocolate tea-towel holder with wads of tissue paper a foot and a half away from me.

I want to hum or sing to drown out the noise, but I feel that would just make the hole[1] situation worse.

Once you’ve had this epiphany and heard that noise, you can’t un-hear it.

You’re welcome.

But all of this pales into comparison to my last observation and experience.

This one has resulted in three words of advice.  Three simple words that will ensure you are not mentally scarred for the rest of your days.

When you’re next sat on the toilet, pay close attention to the floor.

Is it shiny?

Has it been buffed to a mirror-like perfection?

If the answer is yes, and someone joins the cubicle next to you, remember these three little words.

Don’t look down.

my eyes

[1] Not a typo