I loved answering the phone.
Which is probably why I didn’t get to do it very often.
I would clock in, and then ask the shift supervisor who the sponsor was this week. Every week, a publishing house paid corporate money to have us push a game when we answered the phone. I heard that corporate often “cold called” stores to make sure that they were pushing the right product. I hated corporate, but I enjoyed what I was doing for one day a week.
So I decided to combine the two.
“So, who owns us this week?” I ask as I finish clocking in.
“SEGA, Virtua Tennis, pre order for only five dollars, blah blah blah. You know the drill.” Rob sounds bored, but then he always sounds bored. “You got the phone today so don’t forget the sponsor.”
“Sure.” The phone rings. I pick it up, and take a deep breath.
“Hello!” My voice booms through the too small space of the too crowded storefront.
“And thank you for calling EBGames! Brought to you by SEGA!” I make sure that they know that SEGA is all caps.
Customers begin to stare. My face is contorted with manic enthusiasm for SEGA and Virtua Tennis.
“Located in the beautiful Pentagon City Mall in Arlington Virginia! Come visit us today!” I remember that we have a sponsor, and take another deep breath.
“Where you can preorder SEGA Virtua Tennis for only five dollars down! This is John, how may I help you?!”
No response from the phone. I think I hear breathing, then an abrupt click.
“Hello?” I shrug and hang up. I turn to Rob. “No one was there.”
“You know what ‘John,'” Rob says taking the phone from my hand, “I think I’ll answer the phone today.”