My job has made me (occasionally) hate my cell phone. I am required to put my cell phone number at the end of every press release so that I am accessible to the press at all times. This has also led to the public calling me when they require information on a certain product (though why they look for contact numbers on press releases I simply do not know, as surely, surely, Customer Service would be of more help). As a result, when I see an unfamiliar number appear on the display screen of my cell phone, I sigh, do a little why-do-people-keep-calling-me-? huff, then pick up after a few seconds.
So when my phone rang twenty minutes ago, I was contemplating ignoring it because I was not of a mood to be speaking to anyone today. But, slightly alarmed at the thought of getting into trouble with my boss two weeks down the road because of an important call I failed to answer, I did my sigh and huff and…
Caller: Hi, Sandra is it? Is this Sandra?
Me: Um… yeeees…
Caller: This is the laundry calling!
Me: (pause as trying to wonder why was receiving a call from ‘the laundry’, then realized it might actually be the dry cleaners) Oh… OK…
Dry cleaners: Your mother’s dresses and your dresses are ready, but my shop is closing so if you want to pick up today you must come before 6PM, OK?
Me: (residual disorientation from yesterday causing momentary assumption that he meant he was closing down) Well, I can’t come to pick them up today if it’s before 6PM, so —
Dry cleaners: Oh, never mind, never mind! Then tomorrow can? Because today closing early so just in case —
Me: (relieved as confusion of possible folding of business cleared) Oh, yes, yes, I can come tomorrow!
I don’t remember the last time anyone called me to tell me that my dry cleaning was ready, that my alterations had been done, or that my shoes had been resoled (probably because nobody has ever called me for any of said reasons, and calling to tell me my car had been serviced didn’t count because they only wanted more room in their garage), so this little phone call from the dry cleaners — which he probably had to make to all the other customers whose dry cleaning could be picked up today — struck a little chord somewhere in my being. It makes me feel that common courtesy and just plain good service have not faded into extinction, and that there are still some people out there who care about something more than just making money.
I suppose part of the reason I feel this way is that this was coming from a man whom I’ve been bringing my dry cleaning to every other week for the last ten months, but who only remembers me as ‘Lilian’s daughter’ when I drop it off and ‘Sandra’ when I pick it up.