Service With A Sniffle




 A wise man uses his head when using a headset.

I had to call the customer service department of a major software company the other day, which is trip to the third circle of hell at the best of times. Imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered that the young man on the other end of the line was a native English speaker. His every word came through loud and clear! Unfortunately, so did his every bodily noise.

My knight in shining headset had a cold.

The more I think about it, though, he was probably afflicted with seasonal allergies.  Someone who is suffering from a cold is miserably aware of that fact, and this guy seemed oblivious to the noises coming forth from his nasal region. Those noises were being picked up with nauseating clarity by his ultra-sensitive headset microphone.

“May I help you? (snort)” he started off.

“I’m having trouble with this program,” I replied and went on to try to explain the problem. With my limited knowledge of computers it was like a 5-year-old trying to explain Euclidean geometry.

“Let me check that for you (snxxpt!)” he replied.

There followed long minutes of silence broken only by the sound of him tippy-tapping on his computer… plus throat clearing and moist-sounding snorting every couple of seconds.

“Maybe I should just reboot. I can call back later if that doesn’t work.” I suggested. By now I was eager to get off the phone.

“Just one more minute (ptooie!)” he coughed in response.

After 10 minutes spent listening to him snorting and snuffling, I no longer cared if my issue got resolved. I could visualize the exact color and consistency of his nasal discharge with pinpoint accuracy, I was flinching and sympathy-swallowing with every phlegmy utterance, and I wanted out – right now.

“OK, great! Thanks so much.” I said with false cheerfulness.

“But you need (skxxxtp!) the reference number…” he started.

“Nope! We’re good. Gotta run now.  Bye!” said I and I slammed the phone down.

I still need to resolve the problem that prompted my call, but it’s not really that urgent.  I figure I’ll call again in March. By then cold and flu season will be over, and the pollen count will be low.


About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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78 Responses to Service With A Sniffle

  1. nrhatch says:

    Yuck . . . and nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!


  2. AthenaC says:

    “A wise man uses his head when using a headset.”

    Ha! Good one!


  3. Daddy Bear says:

    I can really sympathize! Although I’m technically retired, I still do the books for an old psychiatrist that doesn’t have all that many patients (he’s sort of retired as well). Mostly I go into his office at night, but occasionally I can’t avoid being there in the daytime…when his patients are there. I was sitting at the computer working with Quickenbooks the other day and a middle-aged lady came in with a cold. Although there are boxes and boxes of tissues everywhere (psych patients tend to get emotional), she ignored them and snuffled her way through three phone calls and some game she had on her smart phone. Every few seconds she’d snort and pull the mucus back up into her sinus cavities (a sound that’s almost as sickening as hearing someone vomit), then make an ungodly noise trying to clear her throat, then hack and cough (without covering her mouth or using a hankie) and start all over. It was only 15 minutes, but I swear I was ready to just go home by the time she went into the doctor’s inner office.

    I breathed a sigh of relief — too soon. Her Hubby (?) came in a few minutes later to wait for her. He also had a cold. For the next eternity it was “hack, cough, sneeze — snuffle, snuffle, snort!”. He also didn’t believe in covering his mouth or using a hankie.

    Since I knew she wouldn’t be out for another half hour, I just closed up shop and went home. It was too much to bear!


  4. FO!!!! That’s Spanish for ew. You get a person who speaks English and then that happens. AY, Dios Mio! Fo,fo,fo!!!!


  5. If I were head honcho in a company with a service team like that, I would make them initiate random recordings of their calls and play them back at the end of the day before they went off shift. Most would be horrified at what they heard and take steps to self correct. The problem with headsets is they block us from hearing ourselves.


    • pegoleg says:

      That’s such a great idea! I was on with someone the other day that had a headset that deadened all sound when they weren’t talking. Didn’t get any gross noises, but it was kind of creepy, too – like talking into a vacuum.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LOL! lets start a business designing and manufacturing the perfect headset that blanks snorts, but make tiny comfort noises when muted. Of course I have no engineering experience, no design experience, no manufacturing experience, and am not really much good for anything. Maybe I could be a spokesperson??


  6. Blogdramedy says:

    It’s a little known fact that call center representatives are well schooled in phlegm-cology. Be happy that so far, they limit their interaction with the public to the audible. Not the visible.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Al says:

    I wouldn’t feel too bad. Every customer service rep I ever talked to had a snotty attitude.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Carrie Rubin says:

    Well, that’s just nasty. Nothing like a snotty customer service rep (literally) to ruin one’s day…


  9. newpollyanna says:

    I believe I would have gently told the young man what he was doing. It would have been an embarrassing couple of minutes for you both, but ultimately would have made him a better person.


  10. You could have offered him some cyber soup. Poor guy. Imagine the next tech who takes over his station. It’s the movie “Outbreak!” all over again in a call center. 😐

    Liked by 1 person

  11. lisaspiral says:

    At least it’s not contagious via the phone lines (the next phase of germ warfare, surely!)


  12. franhunne4u says:

    Yummy. Delicious young man – so juicy …


  13. Linda Tharp says:

    I can so relate. I was a medical transcriptionist for years and had the pleasure of listening to doctors cough, sneeze, and belch their way through reports. I could almost smell that sausage they had for lunch. Or, at least the remnants of that sausage they had for lunch.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m surprised you’d give up an English speaking tech expert just because his head phlegm noise was so gross. Shoulda sucked it up, Pegonosnottysnooting-pu-lease! 🙂
    Good luck getting that tech thingy fixed anyhoo. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. At least it wasn’t contagious over the phone. I bet you still want to have a hot shower after, though.


  16. Ugh! Cringeworthy. At my office we have a monthly meeting which includes some folks calling in from around the country. There is one guy on the line who does exactly what your tech guy did. People say, “Please mute!” But I guess he doesn’t think we’re talking to him. 😛


  17. k8edid says:

    I gave a test today in class…the grossness of the cacophony of wet sounds was eclipsed only by the sight of a young man picking his nose, with great vigor. I have to grade those suckers now and I don’t even want to touch the stack. My husband, an otherwise perfectly delightful man, makes the vilest nasal sounds especially when he runs out of Claritin. I have written it into our marriage contract that he cannot discontinue the medication…EVER. Hope you get your tech issues resolved, with or without tissues.


  18. Maybe he’s one of those “lucky” people who get to work from home. You can’t exactly call in sick if you never leave the house to go to work in the first place.


  19. I wonder if he was just trying to score some chicken soup. You didn’t fall for it, did you?


  20. ajhahajhahahahaha. i have to say i haven’t laughed this hard in a long time reading a blog. I’ve been right there with you. oh my! what a hoot. But, sorry you never got your problem resolved.


  21. mrosemary says:

    Reblogged this on mrosemary and commented:
    I couldn’t help but laugh through the read. I can relate with this just the other day I had a bad cold and it was baaad! But I can assure you I had less of the snorting with other people and I generally kept some good manners.


  22. Uuuuuuht! Snifflers make me yak. Once I was seated near a horrible sniffler at a sushi joint and I could. not. eat. My husband and I ran out before the waitress could take our order. It was a tiny place, with no hope of escaping the Sniffler. Definitely put me off raw, slimy fish for the night.


  23. As a past call center employee it is horrid to work with a cold. I was constantly apologizing to people. You are probably right that it was allergies or something he was used to if he was oblivious to the noises he was making. Poor bugger.


  24. susielindau says:

    I don’t mind it if someone sniffles, but I find snorting positively GROSS!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Nicole Roder says:

    Hahahaha! Yuck! I’ve actually had a cold that just won’t go away for almost a month now. I’m super self-conscious talking to anyone. I keep prefacing everything I say with, “Sorry, I’ve had this cold forever! I don’t think I’m contagious anymore.”


  26. Shelley says:

    Ak. Ak. Ak. Can’t deal with stuff coming out of the nose or the mouth. Ak. Ak. Ak.


  27. Oh god![hack] That’s terrible! How disgust– [honk] disgusting! Just so icky and [bleearrrg….blaaaaaaallll….snkkkkkkk…..ackkkkkkkkk……] gross!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. When I’m sniffly, I just shove a tissue up my nose. So sniffles, no snot. Everybody wins. I’m sure it’ll be a fashion trend soon.


  29. Yucky yuck yuck. That’s on a par with someone eating on the other end of the phone, and you alternate between having to hear the chewing/swallowing noises, and that noise when people have pushed food to the side of their mouth so as to talk, and as they talk their voice sounds like, well, like they’ve got food stuffed in the side of their mouth, you know?


  30. Lily Lau says:

    Hahah, surely they congratulated him for solving all that day’s calls so quickly!


  31. arvyskocil says:

    Too funny! It is always awkward to have a normal person helpng on the other line versus someone with body noises. Atleast he wasnt sitting on the phone!


  32. thedailydish says:

    This could only be topped by someone with earth-shaking gas. Imagine the headset pick-up on that?


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