Since I started my current job a couple of years ago, I have on occasion received phone calls from people who want to buy Georgetown basketball tickets. When I get these phone calls, I explain that they've called the wrong number and give them the correct one. That number doesn't resemble my extension in the slightest, nor do any of the other athletic department numbers, so I began asking people where they got my number, thinking that perhaps the university had run an advertisement with the wrong number in it. Every single person I've asked has told me they got my number from 411. The university seems to think there is nothing they can do to help me with the problem.
It's been an ongoing issue, but one that hasn't bothered me particularly. Until a couple of weeks ago when I came in on a Monday morning to 14 messages on my voice mail requesting basketball tickets. I returned calls from people who had left messages that I could understand to give them the correct number.
I am amazed at how rude people are. I don't have to return calls when someone dials the wrong number, but I do it to be helpful (and because I'm afraid they'll call again). I explain who I am and why I'm calling and give them the correct number. Then they hang up on me. Either that or they just don't get it and can't figure out why I'm calling them back if I can't sell them basketball tickets.
The calls continue to come, and the callers always ask me "Is this Georgetown?" When I confirm that they've reached someone at Georgetown, they ask about basketball tickets. I give them the correct number, and then many of them hang up on me immediately without thanks. If I do catch them in time to ask where they got my number in the first place, they sound impatient as they tell me that they got it from Information. I'm not sure if they're bothered that Information gave them the wrong number, if they're annoyed that they have to take the time to answer my question, or if they think I ought to know where they got my number.
Others just seem amazingly dense. If they get my voice mail, which now explains that if they are trying to get basketball tickets they need to dial this other number, they leave a message anyhow. And if they reach me (or if I'm a sucker and call them back), they don't understand why I can't sell them basketball tickets. After all, I am at Georgetown, right? There must be something too complicated about dialing this other number I am trying to give them and something too complex about the idea that there are academic offices at a university that have absolutely nothing to do with the athletic teams. "I'm sorry, but I can't help you with getting tickets. You need to call this other number," I explain.
"But aren't you at Georgetown?"
"Yes, but I'm at a research institute. I have nothing to do with the athletic department."
"Well, who do I need to talk to?" I give them the number again.
I just had a new experience, which was more on the rude side of things than the dense side. I gave the correct number to someone who called. She hung up on me, and I guess called the correct number. I'm thinking she was told she had to mail something in, because she called me back a few minutes later. "Is this Georgetown?" she asked again. I confirmed that it was and started to explain again, but she interrupted me: "What's your zip code?" I gave it to her and she hung up on me again.
It would be wrong of me to try to sell tickets to the next caller, wouldn't it? I imagine taking their credit card info, telling them where their seats are, and giving them an imaginary confirmation number to take to the will-call office. I would only do it to the people who keep insisting that I help them after I give them the right number. I wish I could think of a way to do it to the people who hang up without saying thank you.