I’m a switchboard operator for a big company. Never in my life have I been so frustrated with a caller who was polite and friendly. He sounded around 30, native English speaker calling from a UK number, clear line… but communication broke down. Here’s how the most awkward interaction I have ever had went:
Caller: Introduces himself politely Can you put me through to Peter [UNINTELLIGBLE]
Me: I didn’t catch the family name, can you repeat that?
Me: And the family name is?
Caller: Peter. Thanks.
Me: Can you spell out the family name? The surname?
Caller: The name is Peter [UNINTELLIGBLE].
Me: I still didn’t catch that, can you spell it out for me please?
Caller: Just put me through to Peter, he knows me.
(For company policy reasons, I need the full name before I can put him through.)
Me: We have more than one Peter. What’s the family name? U-N-I-N-T?”
Me: The FAMILY name, the LAST name. Peter and then what?
Caller: Yes, Peter.
Me: Can you spell out the full name for me?
Caller: Oh, okay! So it’s P for Peter…
(You don’t say! I’m facepalming so hard I’m getting glances from co-workers.)
Caller: …and, E for elephant and uhh…. realizing what he just said well, the name is Peter, haha.
Me: Yes. I understand the first name is Peter. I still need the family name.
Caller: I don’t know that.
Me: You told me it’s something like [UNINTELLIGBLE]?
Caller: I don’t know any [UNINTELLIGBLE].
(No, me neither.)
Me: So the name is P, E, T, E, R, U, N, I, ? ? ?
Caller: P for Peter, e for elephant, t for tea, e for elephant, r for, umm, r, for rat.
Caller: P for Peter… Maybe he doesn’t work there anymore. Can you put me through to [Name]?
Me: Yes! Yes I can!
I literally have no idea what happened here. I would have thought I was getting prank called if he wasn’t polite, slightly confused and apologetic throughout the convo. Pretty funny stuff.