Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Hello?!? Part II

This morning I called a colleague at work.

She answered, "Hej, det är Emma!"

I heard, "HEDEAREMMMMMM!"

I said, "Ursäkta?"

She repeated, ""HEDEAREMMMMMM!"

I said, "Huh?"

She repeated, ""HEDEAREMMMMMM!"

Switching languages, I said, "Ummmm, who am I talking to?" even though I was pretty sure I had called Emma.

"Emma!"

"Emma?"

"Yes."

"Good! Just the person I was trying to get in touch with."

That was ten seconds of my life I'll never get back. We were supposed to discuss some articles she is using for a book chapter she is writing, and I'm pretty sure she thought she was talking to an individual who was unable to put together a coherent sentence, let alone offer any useful advice on academic writing. But the whole situation could have been avoided if she had just answered, "Hello?"

12 Comments:

Anonymous broken-english addiction said...

hehe,for me it's also very strange when Swedes answer the phone and say thier name..

7:28 PM  
Anonymous mia said...

Du kunde kortat konversationen väldigt lätt genom att säga:

Ursäkta jag hörde inte - vart har jag kommit? :)

Och hade hon bara svarat hallå så kunde du fortfarande inte vara hundra procent säker på att det faktiskt var Emma som svarade!

:)

Mia

7:55 PM  
Anonymous tuff said...

I'm a live-in nanny in canada and it's a pain in the ass to have to explain everytime someone calls who I am. I'm not answering the phone anymore :) It would be easier if I presented myself first so they didn't start saying all this crap, before I have time to say I'm not the one they think I am. So yeah. I prefer the more "polite" Swedish way. :)

9:49 PM  
Anonymous dorcas said...

Do people in the States never use the form "Blake residence, Emma speaking" or is this just the brits? Just answering "Hello?" is to me quite unconstructive, cause you can't usually know who is answering the phone, unless you are calling someone's mobile.

Though, usually, when someone calls me up on my mobile I tell them who they are: "Tjenare Anders, hur är läget?"

9:15 AM  
Blogger Jaenelle said...

I suppose this situation could also have been avoided if the one answering the phone was forced to go through 2 hours of 'how to answer the phone' class that my work sponsored... *shudder* Now THAT is two HOURS I'll never get back. But they did say whenever you answer the phone, speak like a zombie because no one will understand you if you speak normal speed. ;)

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in the states this is how most telephone converstaions begin:

ring ring

"hello?"

"may i speak with so and so?" or "is so and so there?"

"this is she;" or
"she's not in, can i take a message?;" or
"you have the wrong number, sorry."or
(if recognize voice or caller id)
"hey, what's up?"

with friends and family, most people recognize the voices they are trying to reach on the other end...so it's seems slightly irrational to spend time fretting about the highly unlikely event of beginning an intimate conversation with the wrong person...

but...none of it is a matter of good or bad, right or wrong, it's all just what one is used too...like liking or loathing kimchee (sp?)

9:39 PM  
Anonymous korova said...

Talking about wasting time - why did you ask if it was Emma when she had already said it was Emma?

1:04 PM  
Blogger Mattias said...

I concur with korova :)

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Mio said...

Anynymous, I myself has a voice very similar to my sisters and my moms. It has happened several times that people has started talking to the wrong person. This is easily avoided - by saying your name :)

7:39 PM  
Blogger von Adler said...

We Swedes are effective. Effective and shy. Effective, shy and polite. We'd like to know for sure that we got to the right number before starting with the reason for the call - asking for Kalle at a stranger's residence would be awfully embarrasing. So you answer with your name so that the person in the other end can determine wether they are at the correct spot immediately. Polite, effective and avoiding embarrasement. §;c)

1:51 AM  
Anonymous wee1 said...

Will you let go?

To me the american way sounds incredibly rude. To you the Swedish is. Guess where you are?

Talk about Industrialized world-problems...

"Ooooh, nooooes - people don't answer their phones like I waaant them to in culture where I am the guest!"

There is a very simple solution to that, you know.

11:44 AM  
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9:43 AM  

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