Thursday, September 27, 2007

I roamed around trying to be social at Daisy's back-to-school picnic earlier this month. One woman, Monica, with whom I've chatted a couple times, was seated at one of the informational tables. She greeted me warmly and patted the seat next to her. I plopped down.

Monica was trying to get people to sign up for various volunteer jobs at the upcoming school fundraiser. It was a thankless job, but she soldiered on, hitting up each passing parent in between bits of chit-chat with me.

We had a nice little conversation and she expressed some surprise at how hard it was to sign up volunteers for such easy jobs. Being a human-in-training, I expressed sympathy and asked contextual questions about the jobs and blah blah blah. The next thing you know, I'm staring at a job description, politely saying, "Shoot, that doesn't sound so hard." She smiled and nudged the sign-up form towards me.

Doh! I had been suckered! This was two years in a row that this woman did this to me. Last year she corralled me into doing trash runs and clean-up with her after the picnic and now I was signing up to be a... phone solicitor!

AAAAAAAH! Or, to paraphrase Skot:


How on earth did I get suckered into being the lowest of the low? The slimiest of the slime! The damndest of the damned! Unbeekeepinglievable. I've become what I detest!

So, tonight I began my descent into hell. I studied my script and began calling all the parents in my daughter's class. I was supposed to remind them of the upcoming fund-raiser, and our fund-raising goals, and ask them if they'd be willing to sign up for any of the remaining jobs.

I've called about 15 parents so far. I've been hung up on once (in MID SPIEL!) and rudely refused another time. The first time I actually got a friendly person, I got so flustered, I forgot to ask her to volunteer for any jobs. And, of course, I forgot to tell every single person about the fund-raising goal for each family. Nice work, Mike!

Two minutes after I quit for the evening, my phone rang.

Me: Hello?
Person: ....
Me: Hallloooooooo?
Person: Hi, this is Wayne calling from the Window Factory. How are you doing tonight?
Me: Oh, ducky, just ducky.
Wayne: Great. I'm calling to tell you about our new green windows. We have a deal where you can get our these great new windows and a $100 rebate...
Me: Wayne, I'll tell you what. I've had a rough night, so I'll meet you half way here. I'll take your $100 AND I'll let you keep the windows. How's that?
Wayne: (laughing) Well, we can replace ALL the windows in your house for no money down and no payments for TWELVE MONTHS! How does that sound?
Me: Wayne, accept my offer now before it completely disappears. Right now you can still give me $200 and keep your windows FOR TWELVE....

Then Wayne hung up on me. Pfffft. I've been hung up worse than that.


Tasty said...

Love, love, love this entry. I seriously cannot believe parents would hang up on a fellow parent. Wow!

Mike said...

Tasty, to be honest, it was a weird hang-up. When I announced to the woman that I was calling about the school fundraiser, I asked if she had read the informational packet that was sent to every family. She immediately explained (apologetically) that she was a single mom with three kids and was having a hard time keeping up with it all. So I launched, delicately (I thought) into the speech and suddenly heard dial tone. I'm bad at reading signs, but I didn't really expect her to do that. Maybe we got disconnected. Maybe I'm an idiot. Who knows.

carey said...

Ugh. Not the phone. Aren't you still the PTA secretary?

Good god, have they erected a statue of you in town yet?

Mike said...

Carey, I am still the goddamn PTA secretary. I take notes, I use the phone, I even bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan! They SHOULD erect a statue of me!

Neel Mehta said...

Ugh, you are such a parent. Soon you'll be antagonizing single people and childless couples.

Mike said...

Neel, I antagonize everyone else. Why should they be left out?

Meg S. said...

Ah see now, at our state of the art school in middle CA, they have an auto dialer call us. If you hang up on it, it makes a note and calls back. I'm absolutely torn on this one. As a teacher and parent volunteer I think it's brilliant.

As a mom who hates the sound of the phone ringing only slightly less than hearing a huge crash and scream from upstairs, I hate it.

Anyway, it's another way for the school to go :) Less work for you, but then less erections. Of statues.


Mike said...

Meg, I will forgo both statues and an erection or two to get out of making cold calls. No auto-dialers though. Those are evil. Haven't any of these people heard about email?