Please hold the line.

As the clouds closed over yesterday afternoon, exactly at school pickup time naturally, I found myself walking up to the main entrance at the Channel 9 studios in Willoughby. You might think that TV stations would be glamorous places, but lordy me, Channel 9 has not written out a cheque for decor since 1992. It was quite grim, very draughty and echoey and the wall were adorned with sad posters promoting sad shows like Married at First Sight.

I was there to record a podcast with the delightful Deb Knight. I took a seat on the vinyl couch that had seen better days and observed my surroundings.

Ring Ring Ring

“Channel Nine, please hold the line.”

Ring Ring Ring

“Channel Nine, please hold the line.”

Ring Ring Ring

“Channel Nine, please hold the line.”

When the phone stopped ringing for a moment, I wandered over to the desk, for they were selling chocolate at the reception desk and I was starving. I smiled at the receptionist and started a conversation.

“Are you the first point of communications for the whole channel?” I asked the girl whose eyes were wiser than her age.

“Yes.” She replied.

So naturally I became obsessed with her job and asked her about phone calls she had had that day. She went on to tell me that she had been harassed by a man who had called in to abuse her twenty times that day, to share his absolute disgust at the football coverage. With each call, he got more and more threatening, to the point that she had to contact security, who in turn had to contact the police, to try and make the harasser stop. Eventually they had his number blocked, but he kept calling in from different phones.

My eyes were very wide by this point. That poor girl. But she didn’t seem all that fussed.

Ring Ring Ring

“Channel Nine, how may I help you?”

“You want to enter the Today’s show competition? Have you got a pen? This is the number. Do you have todays password?”

Ring Ring Ring

“Channel Nine, how many I help you? Ok, so your mobile isn’t working? Let me put you on hold and I’ll get back to you. Won’t be a moment.”

Dials out

“Gary, who is in charge of mobile phones? I have Laurie Oaks on the line and his phone isn’t working…….. Ok thank you!”

Dials out. Phone goes to voicemail (I assume)

“Steve, it is Susan from reception. Can you give me a call. Laurie Oaks is having issues with his mobile phone.”

Hits hold.

“Laurie, I have left a message for Steve to call me back……. yes…… I will call you on this number when I hear back.”

Ring Ring Ring

“Channel Nine, how may I help you?”

“I am not sure where Sonia got her top from. Perhaps check her Instagram account?”

I watched on as she dealt with the general pubic, who all seems rather worked up and angry about mundane things. Could you imagine having such a job? I would end up screaming down the phone and rocking in the corner. She would have spoken with every single angry bastard in the country. PLUS she had to sit in a room with contestants from The Voice staring at her.

To the receptionist at Channel Nine, my hat comes off to you. You deserve an Order of Australia for keeping your shit together, under some very trying circumstances. You need a raise.

How would you go if you were in Susan’s position?

Are you capable, or catastrophic?