Phone rings – me busy, but …nice – because thats how I do try to be.
Anyway, whirr click “Ello ello” Oh crap it’s a telemarketer and I have ten thousand things to do.
“Yes hello” I reply – still nice but now it is pushed a little further back behind my teeth.
“I am wishing to speak to the owner of the business because from today your landline phone which is…” slight pause in the sales pitch – great! I jump in.
“No thankyou I’m really not interested I only speak to Telstra about my….”
Only thing is we are both talking together and my goodness she is certainly very strident so I give up talking my end just as she says
“WHAT WHAT WHAT!”
Bloody hell! That’s a bit rude. So I hang up. If she wants to be rude then she can get rude back.
I walk back past my husband who is doing his office work on the verandah and say “well we’ve taught them well – those telemarketers are getting as rude as us Aussies” Kaching! Lightbulb moment.
I’m usually nice to telemarketers – I try to be at least polite as I tell them that I’m not interested in listening or buying or changing phone plans. Pesky Karma see – don’t want to touch that hot stove more than I have to. I have been guilty of the odd sigh and telling them I’ll put them through to the boss and hanging up on them because I am the Boss and I just don’t have time to be talking to someone about my phone.
But I am not rude, mainly due to a funny conversation with an Indian guy one day a few years ago which humanised them for me.
This is what happened.
So imagine Raj from Big Bangs voice. Raj begins his sales pitch introducing himself as Arthur and then asks for my name and because I am in a funny mood and not frantically busy I tell him it’s Cinderella . “No” it is not he says, just a bit peeved with my humour. Then he says very seriously “you shouldn’t lie about your name it is very wrong to lie” so I said he shouldn’t ask for my name when he is a stranger and didn’t he know that was wrong?
And back and forth with the “well you shouldn’ts etc” we go. I refuse to be pushed around by some telemarketer but am still in a funny mood so I say “well I’ll give you my name if you tell me what yours is because I don’t believe it is Arthur”. (They use Anglo names to try and seem more like the guy next door – except of course they are not)
“Arthur” is horrified that I would questions his name and call him a liar. This starts another furious round of debate because he says his name is indeed Arthur and that I am now calling him a liar and that is wrong. But it is getting lighter and lighter because we are both enjoying the conversation which is a bit different from the norm. Finally Raj says he will tell me his real name – I wait. Drumroll.
“My name is…Peter Parker” it takes me two beats into the silence then I say “Oh bull! that’s Spiderman!” and we giggle a great deal. Finally I say “Righto mate hanging up now” and that was that. I didn’t change phone plans but I did change the way I viewed the person on the other end of the phone.
Every time we are rude to a telemarketer (and yes I know they are invasive) – we are telling someone over there that we are rude and nasty over here – plus imagine that job all day – people being rude to you and all you’re trying to do is keep your family alive.
But I realised how we are teaching the people around us too. We are teaching them to be impatient with us, to have no time for us, to be rude to us. Every little thing that we send out as a reaction – is teaching people what we expect back.
When the lady at the checkout is rude and so I become short with her in return – I am not teaching how to be anything but rude with me. So I try instead to be kind, to ask how her day is going. The change sometimes is so amazing that it humbles me. Everybody is carrying a load. The load of being human.
In teaching others how to treat us we create a massive ripple effect each day. Because no one leaves a conversation with us cranky or upset. And they don’t pass those negative emotions on to others either.
After my lightbulb moment the other day with the telemarketer I was even more determined to ensure that no matter how rudely or unkindly someone treats me – I had a choice not to pass that forward, I also had an opportunity to show that person how I expected to be treated in future.
If we don’t partake in the drama – it doesn’t follow us around and eventually we don’t have to see it anywhere in our vicinity.