Monday, 1 September 2014

No one Likes A Smart Arse

Charity lines , get their fair share of prank calls
Unfortunately that is the way of the world, and last night I was on the receiving end of such a call, a call made strangely by someone with insight and education.
The call started off plausibly . A well spoken, obviously articulate upper middle class doctor was having intolerable pressures at work. His private life was in tatters, a mistake at work had floored him.
It was a story I could believe in given my background and experience.
Although I didn't believe him.
Sure I made all the right Samaritan noises, and asked all the right questions but from the start I felt the caller was acting and playing to an audience.I also had the sense he was recording the call

Our conversation went on for sometime until after I repeated a somewhat heartfelt and emotion phrase about his medical experiences , the caller changed his tone completely and delivered his pièce de résistance line " now that's the plot of episode 7 of Grey's Anatomy ..do you think I should buy the DVD  of episode 8?"
Smart arses like the " oh duh" moment when the  realisation of a prank is seen to hit home, and although we are trained to end calls like these on recognition of a prank status, I wasn't having any of it
" can you tell me the real reason why you phoned this evening?"I said in my best, quiet and caring voice
The caller then repeated his punch line again which I ignored again
" there must be a reason why you needed to contact us, something that is hurting you , something you need to talk about" I asked quietly
He tried to save face by laughing and repeating his punch line a third time, but by then I had turned into his grandmother and I needed to shame him by kindness.
" well if you do ever want to talk about what is bothering you please call us anytime, we are always here to help" I dropped my voice even further
" but I do find this kind of joke disrespectful, not only to me but to those thousands of volunteers that give up their own time in order to listen to distressed and vulnerable people in need"
It wasn't a joke anymore  and he knew it and my angry need to rattle the man until his teeth fell out had passed.
I ended the call before he could either switch off his recorder or say another word.
Intelligent people taking the piss.....you cannot forgive them
They really ought to know better

60 comments:

  1. Let's hope for his sake that if he is ever in need of calling the Samaritans, there isn't an idiot prankster clogging up the line.

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  2. Nicely handled. Well done.

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  3. Some people are just prats. I'm glad you made him feel a little less of a smart-arse. Well handled, John.

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  4. I am filled with admiration, a perfect way to handle a sticky situation. I used to keep a referee,s whistle next to the phone for nuisance callers. I was born impatient and do not suffer fools gladly. I have mellowed over the years and tend now to back away from troublesome people.

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  5. John, you handled that in a way that left the caller vulnerable, open to the idea that he may indeed need help. Perhaps something he could not admit to before. You did good.

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  6. What an arsehole! You handled it brilliantly, however.

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  7. Handled it far better than I would have with my base Anglo Saxon, then again I never was a people person glad you are Mr. Gray

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  8. Your response will be with him for a long time and he may in fact call again...only not in a jokey arrogant way....well done John x

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  9. It could end up as a case of 'cry wolf'.

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  10. Well done. It is the sexual fantasy callers who do my head in. We get a lot of them - because we are cheaper than the sex lines. Much cheaper. Probably not as satisfying though.

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    1. Luckily my nature of my gender... I don't get many of those...

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  11. Sad git. Maybe he phones the fire service, police, and ambulances too.

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  12. that idiot needs a hard kick to the cojones!

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  13. That sounds absolutely the right approach John keep your cool and make him feel an idiot, which he obviously is.

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    1. I did feel cool pat
      I felt irritated

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  14. Well done on your response to that call, it's just such a shame that some people feel the need to do fake calls like that. Shame that you can't name and shame him!

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  15. Well done!! If that had happened here, I suspect you may have ended up on a radio show or YouTube -- Instead he's ended up on your blog, whose the joke on now?

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  16. It sounds like you handled that one perfectly.

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  17. Well handled Earl! It is almost incredible to me that there are people out there who find amusement in making hoax calls to The Samaritans. What if somebody else - a genuine caller had been unable to get through because of that numbskull?

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  18. My mum-in-law worked with the Sams for years and had her fair share of similar calls (and worse if you know what I mean!). She learned how to handle them firmly and as she said, calls like these took up the time of volunteers who could have been helping someone with a real problem. Well done.

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    1. It was the tine wasted that irritated me the most

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  19. Good job John. There is a problem there somewhere....

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  20. And you know he didn't learn a single thing, because the really sad thing is that in his world he's complaining about you.

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  21. Bravo! Well done. Your answer opened the door to the caller exploring the underlying reason why an educated adult would make such a call, - there might be an underlying issue or ten.

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  22. Not a nice man, John, probably got some cross wiring going on in his head.

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    1. I am used to talking to mentally ill people. This man was a joer not ill
      I could have forgiven illness

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  23. Obviously someone who doesn't take the very real needs of others seriously.

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  24. Why on earth would a grown man feel the need to do something like that? He obviously needs something to do....

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  25. After the click he turned to his assembled audience, called you a name, and they all laughed. Kind as you are, John, we would have allowed you a rude name after the click, too.

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    1. PS--thanks for deleting that bit of spam before I returned to comment. Must have slid over from Cro's place. Like zucchini's knocking at the back door by August.

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    2. Joanne it's from some called Beatrix who seems mad as a box of frogs

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  26. Athough people like that are wasting your time John, I guess that we ought to feel sorry for them. They obviously have some sort of troubles of their own to do such a thing and probably need some help themselves. I'm sure that your training taught you to treat that sort of call exactly how you did { although, it must take an awful lot of self-control and patience !! }. Lets hope that he sorts things in his life out and has some happier times ahead. XXXX

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  27. No caller ID there or on that line?

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    1. I was wondering that myself. Probably not for confidentiality reasons? But what if you really need to reach someone...

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    2. No caller ID samaritains is confidential

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  28. Effective, very effective!

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  29. You handled it so well!!

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  30. Several other commenters have already said what my first thought was - he was taking up time that might have benefited someone in real need. I wish I had your presence of mind! Hopefully your comments made him think about his actions. You never know what seed you may have planted.

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    1. I am not so sure...... He was obviously a bright cookie.....the motivation baffles me

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  31. What a complete chump. He must have a very empty life if he has the time and motivation to make a stupid call like that. Hopefully because you didn't react in the way he thought you would, you took the wind out of his sails.

    Jean

    x

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  32. I honestly don't think he was that intelligent and you handled the situation perfectly

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  33. John, you are far more tolerant than I would ever be. We keep one of those orange Search and Rescue whistles by the phone. Undesirables get an ear splitting high pitched blast that usually keeps them from calling back.

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    1. I'd be chucked out of SAMs if I used one of those lol

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  34. You would think intelligence would include compassion and sensitivity rather than gloating ridicule. Sadly that isn't necessarily so. I like the way you pointed out to him the negative effects of his so-called joke.

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  35. Every dog has its day - he'll get his. Excellently handled, I thought.x

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    1. I am still baffled by the whole thing.....and that bugs me

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  36. You handled that very well, John. Idiots!

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  37. You've said in the replies that you're surprised, something because he was obviously intelligent. I'm surprised at that. Like you, I've spent a lot of time in our chosen field, and I've met a lot of smart, intelligent people, and not all were nice, or good. I once knew a oncologist who gave near-lethal doses of cisplatin to cancer patients just to see what it would do....when I confronted him he just grinned. "Hey, it's interesting." The local medical board declined to investigate.
    They are more common than you think, pal.
    Cheers

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  38. Right on, John. I hope your words will stay with him longer than his stupidity.

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  39. You'd think they'd know better, wouldn't you? I hope he has just enough of a brain left to feel a little shame for what he did.
    You handled it brilliantly!

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  40. The world is full of creeps no matter how smart or what their profession. You handled this person way better than I ever would have.

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  41. Good job, John. I think he has a problem.

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  42. Unlike most your readers I do not think much wrong with prank calls. Depends how you define 'prank'. Sometimes it's literally just market research. If anything the 'pranker' puts himself at huge risk, not to say ridicule.

    I offer you two versions of what really happened: Firstly in-house quality control (a bit like mystery shoppers sent to test an outlet's customer service) - on which, I dare say, you passed with flying colours. Secondly, and slightly more worrying that, yes, you were victim of undercover investigative journalism. They will stoop low to get the story. What I do admire is your instinct. Namely that you felt the conversation was recorded. Take heart, dear John. My own sister recorded a conversation (with me - and unbeknown to me) and blasted it all over the place.

    Good luck to the "doctor".

    U

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  43. Well done, John. I'm shocked that someone would call such a line as a prank. Someone who is depressed/suicidal might be trying to get through.

    Love,
    Janie

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  44. whatever the motivation of that person, it is so heartwarming to know that your compassion, experience and sensitivity is there to help those that really need it. Well done!

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  45. You are my hero. I keep a big brass cow bell I bought in Mouchard France next to the phone for prank calls. And after ringing it I yell into the phone "congratulations you just won!” And then of course I hang up.

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  46. Well done...that's outrageous

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