Spoonie Booking us a Tee-Time: There's no need for crank calls...
By: Gene Yuss
As previously indicated in a prior article, I work in Big Business. I love the smell of commerce in the morning. I’m currently stationed on Wall Street for a project. Yes I consult – I’m a problem solver. I stay in nice hotels, eat at lavish restaurants, and rub elbows with executives.
In the course of wheeling and dealing I come across some things that completely blow my mind. I can’t fathom what exactly the genius that made the decision was thinking… This will be the first of a weekly series that will air these grievances (I’m aware it is very “Grinds My Gears”-esque… Deal with it).
You will recognize my rise to power as these grievances become fixed. Someone has to bring some logic to this topsy-turvy world that we live in!
DIALING OUT WHEN IN AN OFFICE BUILDING
For those of you that are unaware, there is a certain protocol that businesspeople have to follow when attempting to place a call in an office building. You must first dial “9” to get out of the building connections, then “1” for the long distance, and finally the number you intend to call.
Twice in my life I have had an extremely unpleasant result from placing a call while in the office. These incidents were extremely uncalled for and could have undoubtedly been avoided.
Picture this: you need to call the Ritz in Boston to make sure the simpleton at the concierge desk properly arranged for your suite. You dial “9”, then “1”, and then you unexplainably sneeze on queue and press the “1” again. The natural reaction is to realize your error, hang up and place the call again. You have just inadvertently crank-called 911.
The cities of Denver and New York (New York being a week or so ago) have both felt the wrath of a 911 crank-call from myself.
Denver: Three years ago. The police responded in record time. There were five cop cars that arrived to the office within 10 minutes. Several of them stormed the office building and eventually made their way to the conference room that I was stationed in. I was still speaking with my supervisor at the time, but the phone call was unfortunately cut short by the irate questioning of Denver’s finest. They appreciated my honesty and left glad to have a potential crisis averted.
New York: Apparently in the wake of 9/11 and during an economic crisis the NYPD has trouble finding the lighter side of certain situations. Accompanied by a team of secret service / SWAT / miscellaneous security personnel, New York’s finest stormed the office on Pine Street. The first two officers had their guns drawn and swept the floor while the supporting cast locked down the elevator area. I explained what happened and attempted to crack a joke about them over-pursuing a perpetrator like Enos chasing the General Lee. I didn’t even get a chuckle!
Why does the first number have to be “9”? Why are we setting ourselves up for this disaster? We could have probably used any of the other numbers and not created this possibility for disaster. Granted that “1” wouldn’t make very much sense for redundancy and “0” is dedicated for the operator, but that leaves seven other numbers that are all great choices.
211 – information about local health and human services
311 – information about government services
411 – white pages phone directory
511 – provides transportation information (traffic, public transportation, etc.)
611 – used to report problems with telephone services
711 – a relay service that allows deaf people to converse over the phone through an operator
811 – a direct line to your telephone company that is providing your current service
Taking these current conventions into consideration, the obvious choices are “6” and “7”.
“6” would probably be my first choice. Obviously if you are having a problem with your telephone service, then CALLING the company to tell them is going to be difficult. For those of you that have another phone, cell phone, stripper that lets you borrow her mobile, etc. than you can simply call 811 or the company’s designated 1-800 number. Also, “6” looks very similar to “9” so the transition should be seamless. However, “6” is close to “9” on the keypad and really leaves open the possibility of a miss-key. Yet, being the first number dialed you should recognize your mistake well before striking a second “1”.
“7” is also a great choice. I vote this second simply because someone somewhere is going to freak out that we are taking away rights from the handicapped. While I prefer to avoid such arguments, I’m not going to turn a blind eye to this one (zing!). With all of the technology and telecommunications in the world that we have today there is absolutely no need for a deaf person to rely on the telephone. The mere thought of this is incredulous. I called the company while I was writing this article to get further information. They were furious that I was not deaf and using their service. I started responding “What?!” every time they asked something and they hung up on me. Again my humor was lost… “7” is probably a better choice because of location on the keypad, but I’m not volunteering to have a discussion with the deaf on why their relay service was discontinued.
In conclusion, “9” was a terrible choice simply because 911 is a line dedicated for emergencies. The emergencies that go through their switchboards should never be delayed because of juvenile mischief or ill-timed mucus. Really – What was the Business World Thinking?