The following is true. Even the wildest flights of my imagination cannot have come up with what happened to me this morning. Names of individuals and organisations have been suppressed in the interests of privacy and legal protection. I hope you have a good laugh. I've already done all the crying.
I needed to phone Miss X, a former classmate who now works for my client.
I dialled her mobile number, and the following ensued.
Me [thinking]: Hmm, the last time I phoned her (which was way back... last week), her ring tone was 'Let There Be Love'. Now it's some Chinese song. Catchy, though. Maybe she felt like a change.
"Hello?" It's a man. It's a... man? All right, I can live with a man picking up a lady's phone.
"Hi, may I speak to X please?"
"I'm sorry, she's not in the office today."
Office? Didn't I dial her mobile? [Quickly check desk phone display] Yes, I did.
"Oh." [Frantic thinking.] "And... she left her phone with you?"
"Her mobile. I dialled her mobile and got through to you. So she left her phone with you in the office?"
"No. I'm the finance manager."
By now, I'm well over the sheer strangeness of this conversation. I'm enjoying the departure from ordinary phone conversations so much, if it were a show I'd have bought front-row tickets.
"All right. I'm trying to get in touch with X over the booklet my magazine is doing with her client for August. May I know how I can reach her?"
"I'll transfer you to Y. Y should be able to talk to you about this."
"No, really, I've been dealing with X directly regarding this booklet and I'd rather speak to her in person. May I know how to reach her?"
"No, no, she's attending a conference all day. I'll transfer you to Y. You can talk to Y."
I hear mumbling and murmuring in the background of the "Who is it?" "Regarding what?" "Call from where?" sort. Another male voice comes on.
"Hi, is this Y?"
"Yeah, speaking. Who are you?"
Well. Hello. "I'm calling from [magazine name]. I've been trying to get in touch with XX [I include the surname for greater credibility, because by now I realise this is getting really bizarre] regarding the B mobile phone booklet you're doing with us. I understand I can talk to you about it?"
"Yeah, yeah. So what is it you want to know?"
"X has approved the whole booklet and we're about to send it to print. We just noticed that while your logo on the front cover is blue, the one on the back cover is white. I'd like to check if this is really what you want, or you'd prefer that we change the back logo to blue."
"What logo is it?"
"[Mobile phone brand]."
"What's that in blue?"
"[Mobile phone brand]. We were given a specific CMYK colour to use."
"Oh, I see, OK, OK. I can send our logo to you, no problem."
"It's all right. We have your logo. Just let me know if you want it in your signature blue or white for the back cover."
"What blue is that?"
"The blue you provided."
"Actually what has X approved?"
"The booklet. The [mobile phone brand] booklet you're doing in collaboration with [magazine name]."
"For [health supplement megastore]?"
By now, I am utterly lost for words. This is autopilot in the truest sense of the word.
"[With as little exasperation as I can manage] No! For [mobile phone brand]."
"Oh. Actually I don't know what this is about. We are not [mobile phone brand]. We're not doing any booklet."
I have Reached My Limit.
"May I clarify that I have been trying to get in touch with Ms X, I dialled her mobile number, got through to your colleague, mentioned [mobile phone brand] and [magazine title], was assured that you would be able to help me, was transferred to you..."
"... and you aren't even at the right company?"
"Yeah. I think you have the wrong number. We are not doing any booklet with your magazine."