Operator Enquiries and Up a Tree

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Telephone Operator Enquires

The following are real conversations Directory Enquiries operators had with callers, as revealed in interviews with staff at the Cardiff Telecomms Directory Enquires Centre.

C = Caller and O = Operator.

C: I'd like the number of the Argoed Fish Bar in Cardiff, please.
O: I'm sorry, there's no listing. Is the spelling correct?
C: Well, it used to be called the Bargoed Fish Bar but the B fell off.

C: I'd like the number of the Scottish knitwear company in Woven.
O: I can't find a town called 'Woven'? Are you sure?
C: Yes. That's what it says on the label - Woven in Scotland.

C: I'd like the RSPCA please.
O: Where are you calling from?
C: The living room

C: The water board please.
O: Which department?
C: Tap water

O: How are you spelling that?
C: With letters.

C: I'd like the number for a reverend in Cardiff, please.
O: Do you have his name?
C: No, but he has a dog named Ben.

C: The Union of Shopkeepers and Alligators please.
O: You mean the Amalgamated Union of Shopkeepers?
C: Er, yes.

and finally, on one occasion, a man making heavy breathing sounds from a phone box told the worried operator:
"I haven't got a pen so I'm steaming up the window to write the number ..."

Up a Tree ... or Why Parents Go Grey

The boss of a big company needed to call one of his employees about an urgent problem with one of the main computers. He dialled the employee's home phone number and was greeted with a child's whispered, "Hello?"

Feeling put out at the inconvenience of having to talk to a youngster the boss asked, "Is your Daddy home?"

"Yes," whispered the small voice.

"May I talk with him?" the man asked.

To the surprise of the boss, the small voice whispered, "No."

Wanting to talk with an adult, the boss asked, "Is your Mummy there?"

"Yes," came the answer.

"May I talk with her?"

Again the small voice whispered, "No."

Knowing that it was not likely that a young child would be left home alone, the boss decided he would just leave a message with the person who should be there watching over the child. "Is there any one there besides you?" the boss asked the child.

"Yes," whispered the child, "a policeman."

Wondering what a policeman would be doing at his employee's home, the boss asked "May I speak with the policeman?"

"No, he's busy," whispered the child.

"Busy doing what?" asked the boss.

"Talking to Daddy and Mummy and the Fireman," came the whispered answer.

Growing concerned and even worried as he heard what sounded like a helicopter through the ear piece on the phone the boss asked, "What is that noise?"

"A hello-copper," answered the whispering voice.

"What is going on there?" asked the boss, now alarmed. In an awed whispering voice the child answered, "The search team just landed the hello-copper."

Alarmed, concerned, and more than just a little frustrated, the boss asked, "Why are they there?"

Still whispering, the young voice replied along with a muffled giggle .......

"They're looking for me."