telephone etiquette

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telephone etiquette

Postby Felipe » Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:01 am

Does this experience sound familiar to anyone? I am woken up at 7:00 a.m. when my cell phone rings.
Me: Aló
Caller: Aló
Me: Aló
Caller: Aló
Me: Aló
Caller: Buenos días
Me: Sí ... Buenos días
Caller: Disculpe la molestia ... pero ... ¿con quién hablo?

At this point, I figure it is just a wrong number. I hang up and try to go back to sleep. If she is calling me, shouldn't she know my name? She calls back and the whole process starts over again. On the third call, she gets around to telling me that she is a friend of one of my former English students and wants to know if I am still giving classes. I tell her that I am not, but that I am happy to give her the number of a friend who is.

Maybe it is because of the culture I was raised in, but I figure the caller should identify himself or herself and state the purpose of the call without wasting the receiver´s time with a lot of small talk and guessing. I say it is cultural because this was also my experience when I worked at the hostel. Here is a typical call from an English speaker:
Me: Aló, Black Cat.
Caller: Do you have any rooms available tonight?
Me: Yes, would you like to reserve one?
With Spanish-speaking callers, there would often be at least a minute of "aló" and "buenas tardes" and "disculpe la molestia", etc., before they would get around to asking if we had rooms available. Or, like the above conversation, I would just get frustrated and hang up on them. Maybe it is rude to hang up on people, but I think it is rude to call a busy worker and waste their time with small talk instead of getting to the point of the call. What do others think?
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Re: telephone etiquette

Postby xelawho? » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:04 pm

I think you're lucky to get the whole "aló", "buenas tardes", "disculpe la molestia" routine.

My wrong number calls generally go like this:
Me: Aló
Caller: ¿Quién habla? (which I think is just plain rude, so I usually say...)
Me: Yo soy yo. ¿Quién eres tu? (which tends to throw them a bit so they say something like...)
Caller: ¿Qué número es esto? (which seems to me to be a dumb question, now that they've figured out that they have the wrong number, so I say...)
Me: ¿Qué número marcaste?

And sometimes they actually tell me, but mostly they just say they have the wrong number and hang up. I think the onus is on the caller to identify themselves, which they will generally do UNLESS they think they have the wrong number, which seems to be the wrong way around to me. I have a sneaking suspicion that alot of the time these wrong numbers come from husbands who think they've caught their wives having an affair and the lover (that would be me) has answered their phone for them.

You would think that if you were having an affair you wouldn't let your lover answer your phone, but I know a guy who got busted this way, and his girlfriend told the wife her full name and then asked who SHE was. The guy tried to squeeze out of it by turning off his phone and then claiming that he never got the call (ie, that she had dialled a wrong number), but the wife heard the girlfriend say "papito, tienes una llamada" before he could hit the off button.

As for the preamble, it seems to be fairly standard practice in any situation. Like alot of things, I guess I'm getting used to it, and it kind of jars me now when I go into a store in other countries and they either just look at me or say "yes?" without any of the hello, come in, good afternoon, how are you, how can I help you rigmarole... but I think that we've all noticed that time is measured differently here and the idea that you could actually be wasting somebody's time isn't really very popularly held.
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Re: telephone etiquette

Postby admin » Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:11 pm

"I might be paranoid but that does not mean they are not out to get me!!"

I have trained my family to NEVER give info over the phone to random callers in Guatemala.

When they ask where am I calling or who am I calling my response is "con quien quiere hablar?" There are 100s if not 1000s of prisoners in Guatemalan jails dialing for Q. They dial random numbers and if they get little bits of info they will make a note of the number and hand it off to the next person. That person calls up and tries to get a bit more info. They often times say that you have won a prize or are trying to sell you something in order to get more info.

Once they have enough info such as name and address they then hand it off to the professional extortionist who begins making threatening phone calls using the info they have gathered. Most of these calls are bogus because the guy calling is in prison but they are scary and even more so if the guy knows your name, where you work/live and maybe your child's names..etc.

The telemarketing industry is starting to open up Guatemala. I get a few random telemarketing calls every week but they all end the same way. If you want my business come see me or send me a letter. I do not do business over the phone with random unknown people, then I hang up. If they are legit and they want my business they will contact me another way.

They just found and shut down 27 bank accounts used as the drop accounts for telephone extortion. That random wrong number might not be so innocent.

Tom
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Re: telephone etiquette

Postby Felipe » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:37 pm

admin wrote:That random wrong number might not be so innocent.


Good point. When an unknown caller asks ¿Con quién hablo? and you tell them, you are not only reinforcing their bad manners, you are putting yourself at risk. When I lived in the states, I occasionally got calls where the first thing I heard was, "Who is this?", especially if the call was to a workplace where various people answered the phone. My standard response was, "How about you tell me first."
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Re: telephone etiquette

Postby Richard Free » Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:37 pm

I'm sure my phone needs are much lighter than you three. Therefore, it is easier to just not answer if the caller number is not listed in my phones or I'm not expecting a call from someone. If I do answer and am unhappy with the caller, I rapidly forget how to speak Spanish--no great chore. I figure the caller has initiated an intrusion in my life and owes me an explanation in whatever language we are working with before I offer anything in return. <<Aló>> is all you get.
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Re: telephone etiquette

Postby luis soto » Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:06 pm

you guys... it's all about fellowship, latin people are like that,they use so many tactics to get to know you and have a quick idea about who you are, but usually they always friendly. :roll:
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Re: telephone etiquette

Postby Richard Free » Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:59 pm

Luis, you make a good point and it is a valid one. However, the issue here is the unknown voice from an unsolicited telephone caller, not daily, verifiable interpersonal contacts. Refer back to Tom's epigraph. It's valid everywhere.
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Re: telephone etiquette

Postby luis soto » Sat Aug 28, 2010 4:16 pm

ok
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