Oh my goodness what a day. Things unraveled like the hem of a skirt when that one thread gets pulled and the whole hem starts coming loose and hanging down three-quarters of the way around and the little thread drags on the ground as you walk down the hall. That’s the kind of day it was.

First, the phones rang non-stop. For the most part, each phone call was someone wanting to explain something in the tiniest, most exacting detail, so that the receptionist was tied up and couldn’t get the other calls. The other calls called back which caused more calls.

Then the copier ran out of magenta toner and went on strike. It refused to produce even mundane black and white copies, like some diva who wanted everything just so or she wasn’t going on stage. No problem, because there was a nice pretty box of magenta toner sitting under the yellow and cyan boxes. I moved those and picked up the magenta. It was so lightweight I thought, “This feels empty.” It was!

I’ve only been at this job for about a month, and how was I to know that the previous person stacked two full toner boxes on one empty one to produce the optical illusion that there was, in fact, plenty of toner and no one should worry their pretty little head about it running out? It looked like we were set for a long time.

Come to find out, the toner had to be ordered online, and takes a while to be delivered. No one online would own up to how long it would take to arrive. One company said it usually ships in two days, but if you continued reading you discovered that it was two days AFTER the 1-2 days it would take to process.

I refused to let this waste of a morning finding toner get me down because I had the phone company trainer coming in the afternoon to teach us how to use the phone system. It is so complicated and no one knows how to program the phones, so we were all pretty excited. But the guy who came was over an hour late for his appointment, and he was determined to explain things to us that we had no interest in learning. This phone has about 150 pages of options that make absolutely no sense to anyone who is not a trained technician, and even this guy was scratching his head with the dumb vacant look of a man looking at an Einstein equation on a blackboard. He stared at the phone and cocked his head from side to side like a dog.

I finally asked, “Can we just get the phones to ring and go to one voicemail area, AND change the message to say, “Leave a message after the beep,” instead of saying, “if you want sales, press 108, if you want accounting, press 147, for customer service, press 896, if you want cream with your coffee, press 9432, if you want….” Customers had to listen to about 4 hours of options in order to leave a message, and then, since no one knew how to operate the phones, the messages just went out to space. This is a very convenient way to do business if your end desire is to lose all your customers, which I’m beginning to suspect was the former manager’s intention. That or drive his replacement crazy. It would help explain the dummy toner box.

The phone tech guy told me the instructions and I wrote them down, but before I could test it he had to leave because by now he was 3 hours late for his next appointment. We tried to record an outgoing message but the phone wouldn’t let us. So we called our phone company and they gave us the same instructions, and were baffled when the message wouldn’t record. Then they promised to call back and did not.

Meantime, I tested the phone by calling it from my cell phone, and I got the long, long message, and after waiting for 20 minutes for it to cycle from beginning to end, it said, “That is not a valid mailbox,” and started the whole recording all over again.

There were many more tragedies and mishaps today, but if you’ve stuck with me this far, I’d say you’ve been through enough. Tomorrow HAS to be better or there will be some phone and copier assassinations at work. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.