Blog Posts Process Management

Take the call first, die later

Ever notice how people put even the most tense situations on hold in order to answer the phone?

Scene: Couple having a screaming fight.  Phone rings.  Spouse reaches for the phone.  The other spouse waits until the call is done.

Scene: Intensely romantic scene – quickening pace – frenetic action – phone rings.  Action stops abruptly and things cool down until the call is done.

Scene: Burglar holding up a liquor store.  “Your money or your life?  A case of vintage Bordeaux will be fine too.”  Store manager’s cell phone rings.  “Just a minute,” says the manager to the burglar, and answers the phone.  Burglar waits patiently.

Scene: Villains surround the hero, guns drawn.  Mafia boss about to pull the trigger on our hero when the hero’s phone goes off.  Everyone waits patiently while the hero takes the call.  (Of course, the call dramatically alters the status quo – for example, the Mafia’s boss’s son has been kidnapped by the hero’s sidekick –  so it’s just as well.)

Scene: Hospital.  Loved one about to die.  Relative by the deathbed.  Final words and farewell.  Emotionally charged atmosphere.  Relative’s cell phone rings.  Relative stops weeping to answer it.  Patient postpones dying until call is done.

Either scenes like this really take place or maybe I’m reading too much into TV shows.  Speaking of which, the country or culture doesn’t seems to make any difference.  Hollywood, Bollywood, Tollywood – same diff.

Landlines, cell phones – same diff.  The phone trumps all.

Seriously, though, the phone always goes to the head of the line.

Scene: Airport.  Flight cancelled.  Angry line at the airline’s customer service desk.  Phone rings.  Customer service person picks up phone and deals with the caller before turning back to the customers in line.

BTW, I’ve taken advantage of this last situation to call up the airline’s customer service while standing in a long line of frustrated travelers trying to reschedule.  Result?  I was able to re-book before I could advance two places.  It’s even more hilarious if you can actually connect by phone to the desk agent handling the line you are in.  There you are, number 57 in line, on your cell phone, and the desk agent is on the phone too, making the 56 people ahead of you stomp in impotent fury.  You finish your rebook, desk agent puts phone down at the same time, and you step out of line to head off to the coffee shop.

The looks you get!  Priceless!



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