PORTLAND – Northwest region sales rep Rick Bolton spent nearly three-fourths of a 40-minute phone call attempting to draw it to a close Monday.
“Uh-huh. Is that right? Well I guess it is. Anyway,” said Bolton, varying the tone of his voice to signal the denouement of a ten-minute conversation that warranted only about 45 seconds.
“So you got the document,” said Bolton, “and Myers told me it’s a done deal. Yeah. Good as gold.”
He then fielded a second round of questions on the compression, formatting and delivery of the document. Not until the eighteenth minute did Bolton think to employ a diversionary tactic.
“Yeah, Dan, I really should have mentioned that to you sooner. I’m gonna try and get this earlier flight back to Phoenix, and they need to see my boarding pass,” said Bolton. “Man, they won’t look at you if you’ve got a phone on your ear, you know?”
Bolton briefly contemplated playing the “lousy reception” card, but Senior VP Dan Pralind had been with him at the same airport, and would immediately sense deception. He then fell upon a spark of wisdom and invoked the “dying battery” defense.
“Huh? Oh, yeah, I do have my charger, but it’s in my checked baggage,” said Bolton, relieved that he might soon cut short the mind-numbingly dull banter. “No, I don’t usually check baggage, but I had so many brochures with me this time, and wouldn’t you know it, I brought my parka. Who knew it would be so nice?”
Despite the establishment of a dead-battery exit strategy, Bolton lingered on in a conversation with Pralind that covered basketball, the presidential race, married life, Thai food, hair bands and the ‘leave Britney alone’ guy. Bolton accepts partial responsibility for leading the call “back out to sea” a couple of times, accounting for perhaps 10 to 15 minutes worth.
The final eight minutes of the call, Bolton spoke only the following words in numerous combinations: alright, okay, yeah, mm-hmm, right, uh-huh, got it, and see you tomorrow.