More than a year ago now, I had a business phone installed in my home and had calls to the Community Resource Center forwarded here in the wake of the flood that took our warehouse.
What an idiot.
In the beginning, I was puffed up with pride. Look at me! I have found a way to continue doing business even without….well…a business. At least a building. And in the beginning it was fine. But somewhere around the three-month mark I began to understand the full weight of having a business phone in your home. You are never not at work.
The first real life lesson in this business phone thing was after a television story on the fact that CRC had furniture to give away to flood survivors. “Please,” I asked the reporter. “Don’t give out the CRC phone number. Flood survivors have to go through the Restore the Dream centers so that they can be assigned a case manager before they get furniture.” The story airs. There is our phone number for everyone to see.
RING! RING! Two-hundred and forty-one phone calls later, my husband got the bright idea to change the phone message, sending flood-related calls to 211.
After that, the thing started grating on my nerves. Seven in the morning? RING! “Thank you for calling the Community Resource Center,” the message begins. I should tell you here that the phone is sitting on my desk in my home office, not three feet away from our bedroom. Six at night. RING! “Thank you for calling….”. Ten at night. RING! “Thank you…”.
About a third of the calls involve actual CRC business or flood-related issues that I can do something about. But many involve things I can do nothing about. Eradicate the bed bugs in your home? Sorry, I feel for you but I am not Orkin. Heading to Nashville in two days with 340 members of a youth group to rebuild? OK, I can help you there. Hands On Nashville. But you can’t stay at my house. “Let us help you fund raise,” says a programmed voice from a fund-raising scam in Schenectady or somewhere else equally remote. Sure thing. Shut up.
The worst was the actual phone company. I got this message about 1,246 times in a year: “If you want to make another call, hang up and dial….” What is that?
So today, after fighting with the same phone company for three weeks, we finally got phone service at the newly refurbished warehouse. Blessedly, I came home and ripped the cords out of the CRC phone and packed it up in the box it came in on May 3, 2010. I think there were a few messages on it, but I didn’t care and sorry if you were legitimately calling CRC and I did not respond. As my mother always said, “If it’s important they will call back.”
Only it won’t ring here.