Monday, August 2, 2010

Am I invisible?

Have you ever felt invisible?  Whilst sitting on the deck in the morning sun catching up on my reading of Wuthering Heights, I received a phone call from TD's school informing me that TD No. 2 wasn't feeling well - could I go and pick her up?  I got straight in the car and drove up to the school. 

As I walked to the counter, a tall woman was standing in the office with her back to me, however she turned and clearly saw me standing at the counter but proceeded to ignore me.  She walked over to a desk, which I couldn't see, but at which I could hear another woman talking on the phone.  The tall woman stood at the desk, looked over at me once again AND IGNORED ME!!!  The woman on the phone finished the conversation and hung up, at which time the tall woman started loudly pondering the illnesses currently doing the rounds in Brisbane, whilst STILL IGNORING ME. 

Finally, absolutely exasperated by this blatant show of indifference, I searched the counter for a bell, which I found and proceeded to ring, whilst calling out sarcastically "Hello?  Hello?".  Once again, she looked at me AND IGNORED ME.  The woman behind the desk, however, quickly jumped up to serve me.  By this stage, I was shaking with rage and felt like asking if I was invisible.  In the mean time, the tall woman walked away and it was all I could do not to ask who the hell she was.  I have a habit of becoming so angry I get upset so I asked for my daughter and as we walked out, asked her who the tall woman was.  "Oh, she's a teacher" she replied.  "Well, she totally ignored me when I was standing at the counter", I told her.  "Oh, she doesn't work in the office", was my daughter's response.  And I'm sure this "teacher" felt the same way - maybe it was a little bit beneath her to attend to the counter.  A simple "Hello, someone will be with you in a moment" would've sufficed. 

I've worked as a secretary/receptionist for the last 20 odd years and when I get my degree and become a teacher, librarian, administration assistant or whatever the hell it is I'm going to be doing, I still wouldn't dream of treating a customer in this way.  Not only that, this is a school.  I could've been a prospective parent enquiring about the school, in which case I would've turned on my heels and walked straight back out the door.

It doesn't matter if you're a teacher, a lawyer, or a doctor, is it really beneath some professions to show some respect and acknowledge another human being?  Glad I got that off my chest!


  1. If it was not for you being so upset, this part had the potential for being pretty funny:

    I searched the counter for a bell, which I found and proceeded to ring, whilst calling out sarcastically "Hello? Hello?".

    I really don't know what is wrong with some people though; ignoring someone to that extent is kind of ridiculous.

  2. I agree, University Bound, I was able to laugh about it later and on second thought, I really don't think profession really comes into play, so much as the person. When I told my husband about the bell ringing - he actually did laugh!!

  3. Ignoring people is really rude unless you are mad at them and doing it on purpose. Most of the best salesmen tell people to always be accommodating however their physical disposition might be. It's all about respect people and ignoring is far from showing it.

  4. Morning!!Thanks for all your comments this morning!They have kept me going!Your post here really made me think and reassess how I behave in our school office.I have been in there before and have to admit that I have not always offered to help people waiting - mainly because I don't work in there and couldn't help. But I am sure I haven't behaved like that woman.I try to smile and say someone will be here soon. I certainly will be more helpful next time. I tend to assume people know who I am and that I don't work in the office and so can't help with their queries.But that assumption, I see now, can be dangerous.Good post! xx

  5. After my irate post above, I have realised the assumptions I made regarding professions and have come to the belief that it is the manners of people and not necessarily their professions, which make them behave the way they do. Thank you all for your comments!


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