If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Tuesday, 4 January 2011


As eny fule who hav worked with the telephone kno, getting things like spelling and people's names right is essential. Ask them to repeat; get them to spell it; use the phonetic alphabet if necessary; but GET IT RIGHT. Our new receptionist has yet to learn this vital lesson, and yesterday she sent out a message to say:
Derek from Corse Bruises will be here tomorrow to fix the tap.

I was asking all round the building who the bloody hell Corse Bruises were, until it dawned on me.

Coors Breweries.

I shall have to have a word.


  1. Give her a break, she got 'Derek' right!

    Unless when he turns up, he's 'Eric', of course....

  2. I think she needs a "tap on the head" - then we'll see who has the corse bruises....

    Unfortunately the phonetic alphabet isn't always much use, as a lot of people don't understand it anyway, or try and use various bastardised versions of it!

    They usually understand if I tell them to Foxtrot Oscar, though....

  3. Julia - the name wasn't Derek, in fact (changed to protect the innocent), but she got that bit right. I haven't met her yet (she's new), but when I do I will decide whether she gets a break or not :)

    microdave - for many years I have worked in an environment where proper telephone procedure is important (call centres etc), and it can be quite amusing to hear young girls barely out of school sounding like something off The Bill ("so that's postcode Sierra Alpha one niner faif Yankee Zulu, Madam?"). This girl will learn, I am sure. There is a more general malaise, though - and not just amongst the young - that says that nearly right is good enough. When you are dealing with addresses and bank details, nearly right is useless. And to me, even the small thing of getting someone's name right is an important courtesy. But that's too much like work for some.

  4. Specify a knowldege of shorthand or the International Phonetic Alphabet for your next receptionist. /'korz/ /'brʊərɪz/.

  5. Good old Daniel Jones! It's years since I studied all that. A little OTT for a receptionist, maybe?

  6. Richard - I bet your receptionist can spell knowledge correctly. :-)

  7. This blog has a policy of tolerance towards typos, mainly because the owner has so many of his own.

    And eny fule kno it's 'knolege' anywa.

  8. One thing that really gets my goat is the way that most companies only address you with one initial. As both my father and myself have Christian names starting with the same letter it's always guess work who should open the envelope. I've had excuses that "the computer will only take one letter", which as far as I'm concerned is bolleux...

    Then you get the unsolicited phone calls asking for "Mr Bloggs". "Which Mr Bloggs?" I enquire, at which point it becomes obvious they've just bought a mailing list from another crap company...

  9. And if they are really crap at customer care, the letter is addressed to "Mr M Dave", and starts "Dear M".

    I like the "which Mr Bloggs?" trick. I shall use that, even though there is only one of me in the house. Anything to spike their guns.

  10. @ microdave yesterday 22:24

    "As both my father and myself have Christian names starting with the same letter it's always guess work who should open the envelope."

    ? Mr Micro Dave & Mr Macro Dave? It's your father's fault!

  11. That made 'oi larf!!

    Actually, if you'd been paying attention, you would realise that it's Dave Bloggs, and D***** Bloggs.....

    Not so funny, though, I grant you!


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