Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mad About You

This morning I took a phone call from one of our “regular” customers.

I work in insurance and most people don’t contact their insurance agent on any kind of a regular basis.

Our “regulars” are a group of probably 100 or so people who we hear from at least once a week, unlike most people who rarely, if ever, contact their insurance agent.

We hear from them even more now that Allstate put out all these “Are You Covered For That?” commercials. This bunch calls to find out if they are covered and to wonder why their neighbor pays less for insurance than they do. They can’t remember if they’ve paid and what check number they’ve used or they’ve written the wrong policy number on the check and the payment’s been applied to the wrong policy. It’s always something.

Anyway, my “regular” for today is a psychologist. Unfortunately, she was late paying her bill because her dog has pee issues and she may have used it to clean something up. She thinks I am “sweet” (shows what knows, right?) and just blurts out that the last three times she has talked to me, she can sense tension in my voice.

I have been very tense lately, but I denied it and she said she was going to help me, anyway. I said that was not necessary and tried to steer the conversation back to insurance. No go. She said she wants me to stay up late tonight and write letters to everyone who angers me.

I told her I’m not angry, but she said to write the letters anyway. Oh, and I should put little post-its all over that say “Jessica, what angers you?” to trigger ideas.

I don’t have to write a letter. I already know what make me downright mad. People who bug me even when I’m nicely, politely and very sweetly suggesting that they leave me alone.

Back to insurance? No, not yet. She then gave me the phone number of some other psychologist who she said retired “years ago”. He’s 89. She told me that he would be glad to help me, too, but to keep in mind that if I talk to him and it seems like he doesn’t remember anything, just to keep talking because it’s all in there somewhere and will come back to him.

What? I repeated again that I don’t need help, (especially from someone who can’t even remember what we’re talking about) and asked again if she wanted to pay her bill, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer.

“People don’t think about these things enough
” she insisted. Personally, I think people think too much about these types of things sometimes. My daughter’s one therapist told her that for a while, no matter what anyone asked of her, she was to reply “I can’t, I’m focusing on myself right now”.

So I asked the therapist about “Sam, do your chores....Sam, do your homework...Sam, please pass me a fork”...and was told that Sam was to respond in the above manner to any request made of her.

I don’t know what lala-land that one lives in, but as an earthling, I have a little problem with that. As Gwen Stefani would say “That shit is bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

My psychologist customer said she will call me tomorrow to discuss what I’ve learned about myself tonight after writing angry letters to no one. I guess I’ll have to call in sick or something because there’s some rule in business that says you have to be nice to your customers. Whoever thought up THAT rule didn’t think it entirely through. That’s for sure.

What do you think? Can you over think your problems to the point that the thinking about it becomes the actual problem?

I think so. And speaking of thinking, head on over to Malcolm’s and play this weeks Tuesday Trivia. That’ll get you thinking!


Dustin said...

I definitely think that you can over-think your problems. I also think there is *some* benefit to working through the problem, possibly even in the form of writing letters like your psycho...I mean psychologist customer is suggesting. Please understand...not taking her side, just answering your question :-)

I tend to try not to think about problems too much - mostly because of something my Dad once told me. He said, "There's no point in worrying about the things you CAN'T do anything about because you can't do anything about them. There's no point in worrying about the things you CAN do something about - DO something about them." For the most part I try to use this philosophy in life...and while I'm not 100% worry-free, it sure does put things in perspective for me sometimes!

As far as your frequent caller goes perhaps you can tell her that you've been instructed not to talk about your personal life with your customers! 'Course - from the sounds of things, that might not work or could even blow up in your face.

Anecdotally, I have written letters to people in the past not for therapy reasons, but because I was upset and felt the only way I could intelligently and completely share my thoughts and opinions with them was to write it all down and give it to them. Interestingly, those letters never made it to their destination because by the time I was done with them I no longer felt the need to share it with them...almost as if I'd done it just for myself. (I did not use sticky notes tho...LOL)

Ok, well our hour is up! :-P

Speaking of bananas, I'll leave you with a parting thought from a comedian by the name of Demetri Martin.

"Whenever I try to spell 'banana' it makes me feel stupid... because I don't know when to end it. I'm like - how many 'na's are on this thing? Bana...keep going. Bananana...DAMN!"

If you feel like laughing, check him out - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--mucP-Nb7k

This Eclectic Life said...

Looks like Dustin already provided your therapy, and he had some good points. Yep, I also believe that you can over think a problem. Denial is also the pits. Maybe if she calls back, just give her the url of this post...since it is sorta your letter to her (she did ask for it, don't you think?). Do you have caller id at work? lol

The Rock Chick said...

Dusit: oh I agree there's some benefit to writing letters and that would probably help a lot of people. It's probably no different than ranting in my blog, right? I think I was in hyperdrive when I wrote this post. I think I was more shocked that anyone would push that hard under totally inappropriate circumstances. Plus, I am a little fed up with therapists in general after some of the things that have happened with my daughter's treatment. Thanks for the YouTube link! It was bananas :) (I like bananas!)

Shelly: No, we need caller ID at work. I've suggested it many times :) All my readers are way better therapists than that one could be anyway. She's kinda looney ;)

Pop Art Diva! said...

OMG - you poor thing! Not only do you have to deal with dingy customers but you have to suffer through their attempts to "fix" you? OMG - is it possible to reach through a phone line and choke someone???

Malcolm said...

Yes, over thinking a problem can become a problem in and of itself.

As for your customer, she's wrong on so many levels for refusing to take no for an answer. It sounds like it may never dawn on her that the tension in your voice might be due to the conversations you are having with her.

By the way, I appreciate the plugs you give my Tuesday Trivia quizzes.

Crystal said...

I say you tell her just where to shove those post-its.