Phone Trouble

Story Circa 2001

I was working for a competitive local exchange carrier. I was working at Advanced TelCom Group. I was taking provisioning phone calls in ultra new Network Operations Center, or NOC. We had new phones, new chairs, and new responsibilities.

For the most part ATG catered to professionals. Nine to five operations that varied from day traders to printing houses, any business around that needed phone or internet access. We had one customer of, how should I say, questionable professionalism. He maintained a dirty website, and we were required, as employees, to help him when he had questions. I probably don't have to tell you how I felt about this.

One day Carl calls in and complains about something not working. I put him on hold. "Pervert King Carl on the line" I shouted. It had become a pet name for a client who was not only quite disliked among the other employees but also technically clueless to boot. Nothing like being foul and stupid, with your only redeeming quality that you paid your bill on time.

I start going off about how dumb he was, how I hated it when he called and how it always turns out to be his problem. I'm unable to see a problem so I bring in some help from our resident Unix Admin. Once Paul arrives I restart my "Carl’s so stupid" rant! After we all decide we don't have a clue what he's done to mess things up, I pick up the phone.

"Hello" I sweetly say, "Carl?"

"You know," He begins, "I wasn't on hold.."

"What" I started to shake slightly.

"I was on speakerphone." He says "I heard everything you said."

"Oh that!... Uhmm...I knew that," I lied, "...that's just shop talk Carl..."



I spent the next half of day recounting the story to co-workers and bosses. I truly felt like one of the biggest idiots that ever was. Had it been anyone but Carl I can't imagine what would have become of me. I imagine I would have been looking for other work. I'm only thankful that the only time something like this has happened to me was to a client who held such little respect no one seemed too put out over it. Carl folded up shop shortly after this, and I was one of the many people who was rejoicing.

FYI The logo at the top was a model I coded in POV-Ray. I later ended up making it into an animated file that blew itself to cosmic dust. I was a little surprised to see the file is still on a customer facing website, so I thought I'd share it.


J Crew said...

You are incredibly amazing.

kludge said...

We're begining to get the moments that I was really humiliated by, they are getting much harder to type up every week.

I think so far my Mr Ed post was the hardest pill to swallow.

jenylu said...

That was pretty funny Kludge! It would be the perfect scenario for a new Southwest Commercial..."You wanna get away?"

SJ said...

That is very funny!

kludge said...

Jenylu & SJ-

Glad you like it. It feels good that at least if I'm going to spill my guts on the Internet someone else can find joy in it.

That was the point of the Saturday posts, to make everyone elses moments feel a litte less embaressing.

Ando said...

I've been inspired by your many tales of embarrassment and have been moved to share one of my own on my blog soon. Don't worry, I'm not trying to compete with you.

Your bosses should've given you a raise for helping drive Carl away.

SJ said...

I love the Saturday posts.

kludge said...

They were none too happy with me... It was a very bad day.

I look forward to the post!

Paul said...

wow, i'd forgotten that incident.

i shared your pain. but you know, it couldn't have happened to a more deserving fellow (the perv, not you!)

kludge said...


I will never forget that day, and I'm a nut about the hold button now.

I suppose it slipped your mind, since you didn't say anything incriminating, rude, or slanderous.

Joshua P. Allem said...

"Pervert King on line 1"

That's just great, Kludge!!
I'm glad he heard every bit of that. That sounds like something I'd do on purpose and pretend ignorance later.