Friday off-topic – “Do I have to tell you?”

Friday off-topic posts are unrelated to the general theme of the earlyinitiative blog, ie not related to career development.  They are observations or comments; things I’ve overheard which have made me laugh, cry, wonder or even just imagine.  There is no intended theme or thread – I hope you enjoy them.

Whilst standing at the counter being served in a busy mobile phone shop recently, a man (probably in his early thirties) arrived and started to speak to the only other available assistant. I’ve no idea what the issue was, but it somehow related to his contract rather than his phone, since the assistant didn’t ask to see the phone – indeed the two phones the man was carrying remained clasped in his hand throughout.

As I looked across, I heard the assistant ask “can I take your mobile number please?” – a perfectly innocent question to ask, especially in the circumstances – we were in a mobile phone shop. The man looked around the shop rather suspiciously, his eyes sweeping from side to side before leaning in to the assistant and asking “do I actually need to tell you?“.  Until that moment, everything had been quite straightforward, nothing particularly unusual going on. But that question changed it all, and now I was intrigued.

How did he think the assistant could help without divulging his number? Telepathy?

So I now craned my head over in order to hear the details of the conversation which went like this:
Assistant: Yes, I need to know your number so I can check the details.
Customer: But do I actually need to speak it, now?
Assistant: Yes, so that I can check the details on the computer.
Customer: But I don’t want other people to hear my number.
Assistant: Well I can’t really help you without knowing your details.
Customer: Okay, I’ll say it quietly. I just don’t want loads of people knowing my number and then calling me when I don’t want them to.

The funny thing is that his number was one of those odd ones, with plenty of confusing doubles in it, and it took many attempts to get it right. Something a bit like this – obviously I’ve used a different number so the poor chap doesn’t get loads of spoof calls 😉
Customer: zero double seven three; seven double two three; three double seven
Assistant: zero double seven seven; three double two three; three double seven
Customer: no, it was double seven three, not double seven seven
Assistant: zero double seven three; three double three two; three double seven
Customer: no, it was seven after the three

… and so it went on. Although the customer started off whispering, the assistant didn’t and in any case it soon became clear that everyone in the store knew the number by heart. The customer was becoming more and more irritated by the whole saga, annoyed that so many people now knew his “secret” mobile number. Eventually the assistant got it right, logged in to the system successfully and fixed whatever the problem was in an instant.

It was so ironic that had the poor chap just said it at the first request without hesitation, everything would have been fine and nobody would have taken the blindest notice. He only had himself to blame for making it into such a big thing. I wonder how many people called him afterwards – just to annoy him!


2 thoughts on “Friday off-topic – “Do I have to tell you?”

  1. Why did the man not just ask if he could write his number down for the assistant?
    He must think he’s pretty special if he thinks people would take the time to listen to his number, wirte it down and then take the time to call him (wasting valuable minutes)!

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