“Daddy? This Rude Salesman Wants To Talk To You.”

by admin on September 9, 2010

A number of years ago, the owner of our company hired his daughter to work as our receptionist. She had recently completed an advanced graduate degree, but was having serious second thoughts about entering the field she had studied for. Even though she was way over-educated for the receptionist job, he offered it to her so that she’d have some money coming in and some time to think about her future.

We were located in an industrial park area and had numerous solicitors drop in trying to sell anything from real estate to meat to office supplies. One day a business equipment salesman approached the receptionist desk and demanded to speak with the owner of the company. The owner of our company does not deal with such purchases himself, does not meet with visitors without appointments and was in a closed door meeting at the time. The receptionist advised the salesman that the owner would not be available to him.

The salesman accused her of lying to him because she did not announce his presence to the owner and ask if he would come out to meet him. She told him that she was following protocol and would not be disturbing the owner. The salesman then said, “Listen missy, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll announce my visit. You’re just the receptionist, so who do you think you are, messing with business that doesn’t concern you? I’m here to talk to the owner about a major deal and you have no business shutting me out.”

The receptionist sighed, said she’d call the owner, picked up the phone and said very audibly into it, “Daddy….” 0209-09

{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

Mojo September 9, 2010 at 5:07 am

10 out of 10! That story has made my day!

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lkb September 9, 2010 at 5:18 am

Good one! I’d have loved to see the salesman’s face the next minute or two.
Reminds me of the classic story of the executive at the airport trying to bypass the already stacked up check-in line. He pulls himself up, puffs out his chest and says to the beleaguered clerk (who had already told him to stand in line as patiently as the clerk possibly could): “Don’t you know who I am?”
The clerk, who already had had a long day dealing with such people, picked up the intercom phone and ever-so-sweetly said into it: “Attention, we have a man here who doesn’t know who he is. If anyone can identify him please come to the check in desk.”

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Rae September 9, 2010 at 5:21 am

Hahahaha! That is perfect! I applaud the daughter!

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Simone September 9, 2010 at 5:32 am

Ha! Well done.

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essie September 9, 2010 at 6:05 am

Okay, you got me. I was expecting another ubiquitous tale about how this spoiled young brat committed a major faux pas. She handled it be-yuuu-tifully.

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QueenOfAllThings September 9, 2010 at 6:42 am

Perfect!
I once had a salesman tell my secretary (over the phone) that he was my brother and it was urgent. I don’t have a brother, but I did have a little fun with the guy before hanging up.

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Gail September 9, 2010 at 6:53 am

Great story! Reminds me of when I was working as a receptionist, and was given complete freedom to brush off similar salesmen and other visitors. One day, an office supplies salesman called on the phone, and after politely telling him we weren’t interested, he kept pressing. I had been given strict orders by my supervisor to not let such calls through, so I persisted in trying to get rid of him, remaining polite and professional. Finally, exasperated, he responded ‘look, I don’t TALK to secretaries, just put your boss on the phone!’ I was still laughing when I hung up on him.

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Princesssimmi September 9, 2010 at 7:10 am

That. Was. Awesome. :)

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AMC September 9, 2010 at 7:26 am

LOVE this one! As a receptionist myself, I get to occasionally deal with rude individuals, like the man in the story, who think I know nothing because of my position. Of course, on the other end of the spectrum are those who think I can and will move the Earth for them. Luckily, I happen to have a very supportive boss and coworkers, so when anyone is rude to me, they want to know about it. The Nasty Nancys and Demanding Doras don’t usually get too far after that.

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ginlyn32 September 9, 2010 at 7:32 am

I would have loved to seen the look on the salesman’s face! Perfect!

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Shannon September 9, 2010 at 7:38 am

Oh, that is fantastic. I’m an executive assistant, and I can’t tell you how many times people try to bulldoze me to get to my boss. Luckily she has little patience for that sort of thing.

For example, one time this woman working on a research project (that was due the next day!) called and asked a bunch of technical questions. I said no one was available to take her call (they were on a conference call). She got very huffy and said that I was stonewalling her, and that anyone on the “professional” staff could assist her. I said that, as an unfortunately unprofessional person, I was not able to assist. Then I hung up. My boss heard about it and said there was no way anyone was calling her back for any reason.

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Chocobo! September 9, 2010 at 7:40 am

Oooo I so hope this one is real because it’s just so satisfying!

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Linda September 9, 2010 at 7:54 am

Love it! Hope that rude salesman learned a lesson from this.

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Laura :) September 9, 2010 at 8:11 am

Loving it.

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HonorH September 9, 2010 at 8:38 am

Sometimes, nepotism has very funny effects. I read one at Customers Suck written by a young woman who worked as a receptionist at her father’s firm and got a call from a salesman claiming to be “the boss’s brother.” Her reply? “Uncle Mike, you’re back from the dead!” Seriously, of all the stupid lies to tell . . .

I envy the OP in this case for being able to see the look on the guy’s face when he realized what a blunder he’d made.

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Amazed September 9, 2010 at 8:44 am

Fabulous. I used to work in a similar office industrial park and, similarly, had to rebuff many a drop-in salesperson. That would have been great even if the receptionist was not actually the owner’s own adult child.

I had one really memorable pushy saleswoman. She was wearing so much perfume that I started getting an allergic reaction. My throat was closing up and my eyes were streaming tears. She kept on pushing to get in and it was all I could do to politely ask her to leave, immediately, SO I COULD BREATHE. I was not a receptionist (we did not have one) but just someone who worked in an office near the door, so I often had to deal with the walk-ins.

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andi September 9, 2010 at 8:46 am

just snorted milk up my nose! that is awesome!

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Kimbubbley September 9, 2010 at 8:47 am

I’m with Essie! I absolutely thought, “Oh, no! What did she do?” She did great!!

I work with my father, as well, in a male dominated industry, and LOVE when I get the opportunity to give the male chauvinists and the uppities in our sphere the “Daddy” treatment.

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Nicole September 9, 2010 at 8:47 am

Another reason why you never mess with the receptionist. At my old company, we always asked the receptionist if job candidates were polite. Anyone who was rude to the receptionist never got a 2nd interview. Also, the receptionist was the one to decide if a salesman’s business card and materials actually made it to the purchasing manager or “accidently” got filed in the trash.

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Dear! September 9, 2010 at 8:48 am

This wasn’t what I expected when I saw the title, but it made my day. Way to put that rude man in his place without sulking to his level. :)

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MamaToreen September 9, 2010 at 9:06 am

She has style. But one should never insult the receptionist, A.K.A. Keeper of the Keys to the Boss’ Attention.

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Xtina September 9, 2010 at 9:11 am

hahahahahaha….love it!!! Too funny. Hopefully that salesman learned a powerful lesson because he was inexcusably pushy and rude!

I work as an executive assistant for a large international company and we regularly have outside salespeople trying to meet with our executives. We assistants take their names and find out what they’re selling, and contact the appropriate person for them to talk to within the company, and have that person call them. What some of the salespeople fail to realize is that the executives they want to talk to generally have nothing to do with purchasing of that sort and that’s the very reason they hire people to handle it for them–yet the salespeople are often adamant that they need to talk to the CEO, CFO, etc. I can’t drill into their heads enough that *that* particular executive will never meet with them and they’re wasting their time demanding it–please follow protocol and meet with this other person who will have some pull in getting said executive to agree to purchase their product!

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kammy September 9, 2010 at 9:16 am

It is unbelievable how some people think that receptionist are dumb or are lying. I think what that young girl did. I would have loved to have seen his face.

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Louise September 9, 2010 at 9:34 am

Bravo, receptionist!

@lkb: Your story reminds me an episode of a police comedy called “The Thin Blue Line.” A young man who has been brought in snottily asks, “Do you know who my father is?” The officer dryly replies, “No. Have you tried asking your mother?”

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pinkunicorn September 9, 2010 at 9:59 am

Awesome! :)

Reminds me of the time my uncle, who owns a manufacturing plant (started it himself from the ground up), had a similar experience. The son of a dairy farmer, he is used to hard work and is not above working alongside his employees.

He happened to be on the floor with the other workers one day, helping bend some tubing. A salesman walked up to him and asked to speak with the owner. My uncle wiped his hands off on his apron and said “I’m the owner, what can I do for you.”

The salesman laughed in my uncles face, saying, “No, really. I don’t have time for your games. I need to talk to the owner right now!”

My uncle repeated he was, indeed, the owner. The salesman then started arguing with him and berating him about being on a “power trip”.

My uncle walked to his office, handed the salesman a business card and said “I told you I AM the owner.” And the salesman was quickly escorted out of the building.

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Laura :) September 9, 2010 at 10:13 am

I didn’t think of it until just now, but I when I was working at an antique appraisal firm in NJ, we didn’t have a secretary, so any of the appraisers would answer the ringing phone. I, being an appraiser, answered the phone one time, and the gentleman on the other end of the line asked for my boss. I replied that the boss was helping a client, but I’d be happy to answer his questions. He said, “No, I don’t want to talk with a receptionist. My questions are professional in nature and I need an appraiser.” I said, “Fortunately for you, I’m not a receptionist, I’m a genuine appraiser. Now, how may I help you?”

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AS September 9, 2010 at 10:14 am

OH! Thanks for posting this… I just love it!
It is great the woman could easily have bragged about her high qualifications given that this man was thinking she’s a dud-head. But the “daddy treatment” was priceless!
Like others here, I’d have loved to see the expression on his face too.

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BusyBee September 9, 2010 at 10:14 am

Ha! That girl’s my hero for the day!

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Cady September 9, 2010 at 10:39 am

Nice! I currently work as a receptionist, and it is SO irritating when people are rude to you. I have a four-year degree and am doing this job because the economy sucks and I’m a friend of the family. I’m not doing it because I’m “too stupid” to do anything else (and frankly, being a receptionist is not the world’s easiest job).

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kero September 9, 2010 at 11:45 am

This story made me smile! That salesman must have ran away really fast!

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Brenda September 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm

I had something very similar happen to me. My parents had purchased a business for my sister and her husband, but due to issues, they had to decline the offer (that’s a whole ‘nother story). I agreed to take the business over and run it while it was listed for sale. At the time, I was in my mid-20’s , so young and female, which seems to give salesmen the idea that they should either bulldoze me or flirt with me. Yech.

One day a rep came in from a local charity, asking if we would consider contributing by letting them put a coupon in their coupon book, which they would then sell. I asked him about the number of books to be sold, the items they were interested in, and similar questions. I finally told him that, based on what he had told me, our business was simply too small to contribute that much of our profit. Then he demanded that he talk to the owner. I explained that the owners lived out of state. He belligerantly demanded their phone number. I said, “Fine, but I don’t think my mom and dad will be interested in contributing, especially after they hear how you spoke to me.” He slammed his way out the door and I never saw him again.

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librarianinhell September 9, 2010 at 12:25 pm

“Daddy” is also a term of enderment people use for someone not their male parent. I can also imagine the rude saleman thinking he’s talking to the boss’s wife or girlfriend. Pretty funny story, though!

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Calliope September 9, 2010 at 12:48 pm

I’ve worked as a receptionist for several years, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called a liar–or worse–by pushy salespeople. I really have no idea why a person who’s trying to make a sale would be rude to anyone at his target company, be that person a receptionist or a CEO, but it happens all the time.

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Onlyme September 9, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Good story. Funny when I was going through college years ago, first thing I can remembering being taught is 1) Be polite to everyone especially reception.

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Jenneh September 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Receptionist vengeance is so very very sweet.

I remember I worked for a place that didn’t allow the accounting department to take calls until after 1pm. A weird rule, but accounting swore they couldn’t get any work done because people were calling them all morning. We were on the West coast, and there was a particular copier leasing company on the East coast that would call every day at 10:30 am and demand to speak to accounting. And every. Single. Day. I would tell them “Accounting cannot take calls until after 1pm.”

Finally one day I told the rep “Look, sir, as I tell your representative EVERY DAY when they call, I cannot put calls through to accounting until after 1pm. Please make a note of this in our company file!”. His reply was “It’s ONE-THIRTY NOW Miss!”

Me: “Perhaps you’re unfamiliar with the concept of ‘time zones’?”

He hung up. Victory!

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Alice September 9, 2010 at 2:19 pm

I did exactly the same thing. I was 25 and working in my father’s stationery store. I had practically grown up there and knew the inventory as well as anyone else. A woman about my age came in, brusque and rude from the outset, and used her own made up term for the item she wanted. A lot of people don’t know the proper name for such items, so my practice was to ask what it was used for. She got huffy, and demanded to speak to someone who knew what he was doing. I always called my dad “Mr. Whatever ” while at work, but, this time, I smiled, and said, “Certainly. Dad, would you be able to help this lady locate a “pleater file?” She eventually left with her vertical file, and I never saw her again.

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Maitri September 9, 2010 at 4:34 pm

I went on a job interview once and made it through to the third interview, where she told me that she always asked the receptionist’s opinion of job applicants. If the receptionist said the person was rude, then they didn’t get called back. Luckily for me, I was nice to the receptionist :)

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geekgirl September 9, 2010 at 5:22 pm

I once worked as a P.A., and part of my job was sourcing our suppliers. One particular supplier of one particular product kept calling up, two or three times a week, demanding to speak to m boss. I would patiently explain that he wasn’t available, could I help, as I dealt with purchasing. The answer was always ‘no, I need to speak to the person in charge’. They were extremely rude and dismissive to me when I tried to explain I was the person they needed to speak to, to the point of several times slamming the phone down on me.

The day came when we had to change our supplier. I wrote to the CEO of this company, explaining this. I explained that I had the purchasing power, and the final decision, and their company seemed to offer what I wanted, and we had a particularly large contract to fulfil. However, (whilst remaining polite) I told them their salesmen had always been treated me so badly, in fact were downright rude to me, that I would not be offering them the contract. Their salesman’s own rudeness to ‘just the P.A.’ had lost them this valuable contract. My boss then added a sentence to this letter – he wrote ‘I agree with what she said!’

Funnily enough, they never called the company again.

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Wheelchair Bling September 9, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Hah! That was an elegant, efficient come-back. Just one word, and nobody could object to it!

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kero September 9, 2010 at 5:32 pm

haha, sorry for commenting twice but I must say that I also love hearing the stories of commentors.

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Princesssimmi September 9, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Actually, we had a lady in IT at my last job who had a very odd name. People would call or arrive and state they ‘had an appointment with Dawn’. Her name may have sounded like Dawn but it certainly wasn’t. My personal favourite was the man who demanded to speak to her as he ‘had a meeting in the boardroom’- the boardroom had been converted into the owner’s office and no meetings were held there. I took great delight in directing him to the door.

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Sharon September 9, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Oh the stories I could tell! I am a switchboard operator for a large hospital.
I absolutely love my job.
I also absolutely love the way this young lady handled this situation!

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Dina September 9, 2010 at 6:25 pm

I love some of the things that salespeople try to pull as bluffs. I remember overhearing a phone conversation the receptionist at my office was having: “Um, actually, our IT manager is male, his name is…”

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Tara September 9, 2010 at 6:36 pm

There needs to be more to this story. I want to know what happened next. Did the dad come out and tell him off? Did the guy run out immediately, ashamed? Did he turn red? DETAILS! :D

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Cooler Becky September 9, 2010 at 7:15 pm

I’m a conference producer and in my business, I have to talk to tons of secretaries a day! Our training is pretty strict on how to approach secretaries – if you’re not nice to the gatekeeper, there’s no way the guy in charge will actually talk to you.

That being said, I’ve had experience with secretaries and receptionists who are hostile from the outset – so it really works both ways! This year alone, I managed to sign up 3 speakers to one of my conferences despite being denied access outright by their secretaries. Some of them can be quite caustic about it as well.

I’ve had a personal assistant come back to me telling me that her director “wouldn’t be interested in your pathetic little conference” at some point, only to have the director himself call me up and ask why I hadn’t invited him. (I had, but the PA filed it in the bin). I’m nothing but polite to these ladies (my colleagues will vouch for me on this), I don’t tell lies to get the boss’ attention either. Sometimes, I just don’t know why I’ve earned their ire.

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A September 9, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Hilarious! I would have loved to see that guy’s face.

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QueenofAllThings September 9, 2010 at 8:37 pm

And another thing… slightly off topic, but I have also run into the following – my asst or secretary is busy/OTL/otherwise occupied. I answer my own phone – often – and hear – often – “Miss, is your boss available?” or “Can I speak to the Director?” I am still surprised in this day and age that men (and it’s always men) expect a) a female sec’y to answer the phone and b) that the boss will be of the male variety. Really? Really??

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aventurine September 9, 2010 at 8:59 pm

I see I’m not the only one enjoying the thought of that guy leaving skid marks on the floor.

LOL. I used to fill in for our regular receptionist, years ago, and nobody commanded more respect (in an exquisitely polite, ladylike way) than our Loretta. We were all both protective and a little in awe of her. :D

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Jehenna September 10, 2010 at 12:26 am

I used to co-DJ a radio program which was broadcast live every Saturday evening. There were four of us in the studio, and we usually had some banter going, so it wasn’t hard for listeners to work out who was there that week.

One evening a regular caller phoned and said:
“Oh hi, Jehenna, is anyone there?”

To which I replied – “No, I am doing all the voices myself this week.”

And hung up on him. He was quite apologetic when he called back.

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Caitlin September 10, 2010 at 4:40 am

Vaugely similarly, when I worked at the health food place I was THE expert on the herbs. If I didn’t know what it did, I would find out in a matter of days. I wasn’t very strong on the sports stuff, but everything else- it was me people wanted to ask.

Except a lot of people, especially men, didn’t like to think that an 18 year old girl might know a lot about a product.

On one occasion, A man had asked me about a health condition- I can’t remember which, so lets say High Blood Pressure, to keep the story coherent. I gave him all the standard adice about lifestyle, as well as supplements which could help, he nodded and smiled through the whole thing. And then he went and asked exactly the same question of my manager, as he clearly didn’t believe me. Now, my manager didn’t actually have much product knowledge. He was there to do the paperwork and all the day-to-day running of the store.

So I had the sweet, sweet revenge of my manager saying ‘I don’t know, let me ask our expert’ and leading the man right back to me.

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