I definitely don’t have thick enough skin for her job

This story is also an entry into Sally’s contest for the upcoming Halo game. If you’ve got one of your own, hop over to her video and leave a comment to enter!

I got a call yesterday from an unknown number. I pick it up, and am immediately greeted with the strangest voice I’ve ever heard, barring Chocolate Rain. The lady on the other end starts speaking with an almost artificially clear, precise voice. It’s like the recorded voice that you’d hear on a subway train announcing your stop. It’s so deliberate and pitch perfect that I actually do think it’s a recording, until she says my name.

“Hi, I’m calling from Staples for a Mr. Steven Li.”

I had recently purchased something from Staples, but I was still surprised that they were calling me. Maybe I finally used stacked one too many coupons and they were blacklisting me from their stores. I figure I might as well get on with it.


“I’m calling to ask you a few questions about the quality of your last visit. Is now a good time to talk?”

Ah, a survey solicitor. Now you have to understand, my parents instilled in me a strict sense of politeness. Solicitors are annoying but they’re still people, and they’re simply doing their job. I wouldn’t hang up on one, even though she called me while I was busy at work. Instead I try to deflect her, hoping she’ll take a hint.

“Sorry, now’s not a good time.”

“Alright, could we schedule a time that would work better for you?”

I meekly murmur, “……is it possible to say no?”

A beat. My face is flushing red. Then she bursts into laughter.

“Of course sir, you can say whatever you like! It’s a free country!” She laughs some more, and it washes over me like a cool breeze. I’m thankful that she sees the humor in this; that I’m just like every other guy that wants to dodge a solicitor, but I’m simply too polite to verbally muscle her around and hang up. Her voice takes on a softer, gentler tone, like she’s speaking to a child who wants one more story before bedtime. “Have a nice day, sir.”

Phew. “You too.”

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