Saturday, October 06, 2012

is this the party to whom I am speaking?

My family tells me that I should change the way I say "hello" when I make an outgoing phone call. This is the way I like to do it:

1. I dial the number.
2. The phone rings.
3. Voice on the other end: "Hello?"
4. Me: "Hi Mary-Lou! It's Sue!"
5. Voice on the other end: "Um...this isn't Mary-Lou, it's her son Edward."
6. Me: "Oh, sorry Edward! Can I talk to your Mom."
7. My family members, overhearing this: "Groan!" "Mom! Don't do that!"

So today I phoned the home of my sister Barb and her husband Kim, in Cranbrook. A deep male voice answered. I said, "Hello Kim!" but of course I was wrong. It was Adem, the young man who lives with my sister and her family. Adem sounds a lot like Kim when all he says is, "Hello." Most people sound very much alike when all they say is hello. So I had a nice short chat with Adem, who was home studying while the rest of the family was out for Saturday breakfast at BJ's Restaurant in Kimberley. (loaded hashbrowns - yeah!) I told him I would call back later.

I think it's friendly to greet the person who answers the phone by name, even if the greeting is somewhat less than accurate. After all, what are the alternatives?

1. Phone rings.
2. Voice: Hello?
3. Me: Hello, this is Sue, may I please speak to Mary-Lou?
4. Voice: This is Mary-Lou!
5. Now that was awkward!

Besides, this sounds like I am a stranger. If I know Mary-Lou and her family, I think this approach is just too formal.

Here's one our friend Bill uses. It works for him:

1. Phone rings.
2. Me: Hello?
3. Bill: THIS IS BILL!
4. Me: Oh hi, Bill, this is Sue, how are you?

But I'm afraid that it would work like this for me.

1. Phone rings.
2. Voice: Hello?
4. Voice: Hello Sue!
5. Me: Who is this?
6. Voice: NOT SUE!
7. Me: Oh. Sorry. Can I speak to Mary-Lou please?


1. Phone rings.
2. Voice: Hello?
4. Voice: SO WHAT! (hangs up the phone)
5. Me: Now what?

I could just ask at the outset:

1. Phone rings.
2. Voice: Hello?
3. Me: Who's this?
4. Voice: What do you want? (hangs up)

No. that wouldn't work. Maybe, "This is Sue. Who's this?" would work better? But if I'm going to be all inquisitive, why not go for the gold?

1. Phone rings.
2. Voice: Hello?
3. Me: THIS IS SUE! Who's this? Do you like my hat? Do you like the tin man? Did you floss your teeth last night? What time is it? Where are you? How do you like me so far?
4. Voice: (hangs up the phone).

I think, for now, I'll stick with the way I am currently greeting the person who picks up the phone. Most of my friends know I do that, and will forgive me when I guess wrong.

question: Who's this?

mompoet - THIS IS SUE! Do you like loaded hashbrowns?

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