Thursday, September 15, 2011

Embracing misanthropy

The newsroom secretary just came back and said there's a man on the phone to talk to my boss. She's not in yet. He's insistent to talk to somebody. I'm tempted to punt, but figure that's pretty lame and should take the call.

So I did. It went like this:

Man: Hi, Heidi, I'm Name, and I'm the owner of Restaurant Name, and we're opening up a restaurant in Provo. I've talked to (my boss) a couple of weeks ago, and I'd really like to get a story in Friday's paper (yes, it's Thursday afternoon) about the restaurant opening.

Me: Well, we normally don't do stories on businesses opening, but we have a business section in the paper and we can maybe get something in there.

Man: I sent Boss all of the information early this morning, but I haven't been able to get a hold of her. (Note: It's 12:59 p.m. He'd called twice, including this time.) And I talked to Boss, and she said she could definitely run a story, so I'm not sure where the disconnect is.

Me: She's not here, but I'll talk to her and see what she wants to do about it.

Man: Is there any way I can get a hold of her right now?

Me: You can email her.

Man: I've already done that, and it didn't work. There's no way I can talk to her right now.

Me, in my head: Yes, I'm giving a crazy angry guy my boss's cell phone number.
Out loud: No, there's not.

Man: So you're just going to put me off, then.

Me: Well, I certainly can put you off. We don't have to do anything.

Man: Well, you're not trying to help me at all. I don't understand why you won't run a story.

Me: You need to buy an ad if you're looking for advertising. We don't run stories to advertise new businesses. That's what the ads are for.

Man: Now, Heidi, listen for a second. (What had I been doing the rest of this ridiculous conversation?) I'm just calling trying to get a story in, and you tell me to buy an ad? What the heck is that?

Me in head: That is how newspapers stay in business.
Me to him: We can't write stories about every new business that comes in. There are too many of them.

Man: Heidi, I feel like you're being a little rude. I want to talk to Boss.

Pause, so I'm not actually rude

Me: I'm sorry you feel that way. She's not here right now. I will talk to her when she gets in and tell her that you already spoke with her and this is the information.

Man: Who's your boss?

Me: Boss.

Man: Fine. I'm calling her. I don't understand why you won't just write a story.

Me: Have a good day, Name.

For anyone who might have had just a sliver of a question, this is not the right way to ask for help.

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