Harried phone survey taker pleads for respect
DEAR ABBY: I’m hoping you will pass this on to your readers. Many of us these days have to work two jobs to make ends meet. In addition to a full-time job, I work a second one in a call center. Yes, I’m one of those dreaded people who call and ask you to do a phone survey.
What I would like to remind everyone is that we are just people on the other end of the line. I have been cursed at and called names you can’t print in your column. I have had the phone slammed in my ear. A little courtesy would go a long way.
If you don’t want to participate in the survey, that’s fine. We understand that. But have the guts to say, “Not interested” or “No, thank you,” and show a little respect. We’re simply trying to do a job, earn a living and pay our bills like everybody else. — HAPPY TO BE EMPLOYED
DEAR HAPPY TO BE EMPLOYED: I am not excusing poor manners, and I do sympathize with your position. But when companies make these incessant calls, they are entering people’s homes without being invited, and it can make some of them very angry, particularly if they have been interrupted while were eating, working, napping or caregiving.
The people you call might be less hostile if they hadn’t been called repeatedly and asked to participate in these surveys after they had refused four, five or six times and had asked not to be called again. They might be more polite if they hadn’t registered on a “Do Not Call” list that was ignored.
DEAR ABBY: I am recently retired. I enjoy it, and my daily routine is filled with activities that keep me busy.
My problem is relatives who retired a few years ago who are bored out of their minds. They show up at my home unannounced at all hours of the day and disrupt my routine. They assume I have nothing to do like them. I am not interested in baby-sitting these people so their wives won’t have to put up with them. What should I do? — RETIRED IN BOSTON
DEAR RETIRED: Tell your relatives -- nicely -- that you have a definite routine and things scheduled that you must attend to. If you feel they would be receptive, suggest that they drop by a senior center and ask about what activities it offers or look for volunteer opportunities in the community. Then suggest that instead of dropping by, they CALL FIRST to see if you are available.
DEAR ABBY: My best friend’s mother has dementia. It is usually worse in the evenings, but she can function during the day -- somewhat. My friend and her husband both work, leaving the mother alone at home during the day with the door locked from the outside so she can’t wander off.
I have told my friend many times how dangerous this is, but she continues to do it. It makes me sick worrying about her mother, but I don’t know what to do about it. — FRIEND IN FLORIDA
DEAR FRIEND: Your friend and her husband may have the best of intentions, but locking a demented person inside the house is not the answer to their problem. If a fire were to start, she might not be “with it” enough to know how to put it out or summon help. She could also fall and injure herself.
A better solution would be to find a day-care program where the mother would have company, be entertained and safely looked after. Please suggest it to them. However, if they are not receptive, Adult Protective Services should be notified because the woman’s life could depend on it.
TO MY MUSLIM READERS: It’s time for the breaking of the Ramadan fast. Happy Eid al-Fitr, everyone. May God make yours a blessed feast.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.