I think I figured out the name of that pouched food product I wrote about yesterday, Continental Kitchens. As I was securing the last 10 of 50 pounds onto my dumbbell when I took my “lunch” break yesterday, the name just came to me as blood rushed to my head while I was leaning over to unscrew the end cap. I worked with that name online to see what I could find and nothing exactly to what I was looking for, however on an image search on Google, I did see a picture of a meal in a foil pouch. So, I’m going with that. It was Continental Kitchens and until I find out otherwise, it shall remain so.
That brought back a flood of memories from that market research job. When I first started, I’d say the space of the room, sectioned off into mini-cubicles, held about 20 to 25 phones and the walls of each cubicle, made of a drab faded pea soup green plastic or hard rubber textured material that rose about 2 feet from each desk did little to muffle everyone else who was talking. Oftentimes, in the middle of my scripted spiel, I’d inadvertently pause to hear how this one was charming the socks off the person on the other end of his phone with his pulse altering baritone, or to the cadence of this one’s lovely and dainty Chinese accent.
It was a joyous day when we broke through to an unoccupied office next door and added another 12 phones. It was back there that during an excruciatingly long survey, someone told me he was going to have me arrested. Honestly, I couldn’t blame these poor people, but all they had to do was hang up the phone. But even when they did, I took it personally. I didn’t (and still don’t) speak in a baritone, except when I have a cold and I don’t have a dainty Chinese voice. The surveys we conducted could last as little as 5 minutes to one I remember that if the person answered the questions in just the right way, he or she’d be on the phone for no less than 45 minutes. I am not lying. If we thought breaking into the vacant office was reason to celebrate, you should have seen the glee abounding when we overtook the entire 6th floor.
Ironically, one day I got reprimanded by Betty, whose true last name we never knew, but we attached the name of our firm to her and it fit because she was a behemoth of a woman, with tight curly hair and horn rimmed glasses. You weren’t gonna mess with Betty B. (That’s as far as I’m going; the firm still exists, but I can’t say the same with any certainty for Betty B.) I got finished with a call and she was sitting right next to me, observing me, like a flesh and blood wire tap and ripped into me asking whoever told me I didn’t have to use my last name on the phone. I didn’t want people knowing me on the phone. What if they came after me? I wanted to be safely and anonymously Brian. She suggested using an alias, but I wasn’t “feeling” Smith or anything, so I started using my last name and my throat dried every time I said it, figuring in the back of my mind someone was writing it down for future reference.
She also guarded the candy box like a lioness protecting her cub. One day I think I saw her actually smile and I thought, I like her as a person. No, I didn’t. That backhanded complimenting phrase didn’t get really popular until just recently. I like you as a person. Hmm. As opposed to what? A pencil sharpener, perhaps? Is that supposed to be the new disclaimer like “No offense, but…” “Not for nothing, and no offense, you’re not the one for me, but I like you as a person.”
I used to take pity on those who would call my house to conduct a survey because I knew the suffering we on the other end of the phone also went through; being berated; being hung up on, making us feel inadequate; having to say we picked their number at random when we sometimes actually had to ask for a person by name (that one made a lot of sense); threatening us with arrest for disturbing people’s privacy; having people actually staying on the phone for 45 minutes. But 30 plus years later, I don’t have time for such nonsense anymore. And come to think of it, it’s a been a while. Maybe that “do not call” list really works.
Here it’s Wednesday AND it’s the last day of September and I just decided to tempt fate and check out conditions for our upcoming weekend getaway. I thought you might like to know we haven’t lost our touch. I guess having two clear weekends in a row during camping season was enough.
Have a great day.