Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Most Bizarre Thing So Far This Week

Does a week ever go by without some random, bizarre occurrence? Would life be boring if these things didn't happen, even if some of them are annoying?

This week's example:

I was sitting at my desk, and my office door was open, as it almost always is when I am in my office. A young man walked into my office and started talking to me, without any introduction. My first thought was that perhaps I am losing my mind faster than I think I might be -- perhaps I have met this person and just don't remember? Perhaps I am supposed to know this person? But no, it became apparent during the conversation that we have not met before.

Random Young Man (RYM): An International Scientist [names person I have never heard of] will be visiting in July for a few days and would like to start a collaboration with Scientists here. Are you interested in working with him?

FSP: That's hard to say without more information. What is his specific field of research?

RYM: I'm not exactly sure, but he has done some work on X [names research field that is not even remotely related to my research].

FSP: In that case, no, but there is another department at the university that does research in that field. Perhaps you can find someone there who would be interested in meeting this scientist.

RYM: So you're not interested in working with International Scientist? He is coming a long way and he really wants to collaborate with scientists here.

FSP: No, I am not interested in working with him. From your description, there is no overlap whatsoever in our research interests.

RYM: So you never work on anything outside your narrow field of research?

FSP: No, never.

But I apparently do sit at my desk just waiting for random people to stop by and ask me to do random things, and then insult me when I refuse.

16 comments:

PhysioProf said...

I would have refused to answer any questions at all until the person identified themself and their purpose for entering my office. I do this with asshole telephone cold callers.

"Hello, am I speaking to Dr. PhysioProf?"

"Who is this, and what is the purpose of this call?"

"I need to know if I am speaking to Dr. PhysioProf."

"I need to know who this is, and what the purpose of the call is."

"This is Gladys. Am I speaking to Dr. PhysioProf?"

"Hi, Gladys! Where are you calling from, and what is the purpose of your call?"

"I need to know if this is Dr. PhysioProf."

"Gladys, I need to know where you are calling from, and what the purpose of your call is."

"Am I speaking to Dr. PhysioProf?"

"Gee, I'd really like to help you, Gladys, but I can't do anything for you without knowing where you are calling from, and what the purpose of your call is."

I also refuse to engage in discussions in my office with anyone who I am not already acquainted with who just shows up unannounced. If I don't know you, and you want to meet with me, you can request a fucking appointment by phone or e-mail. My office is not a fucking customer service desk!

LOLZ!!! I love fucking with presumptuous assholes!!

Lou said...

That's really funny. Wow. My first reaction, if I was in such a position, would be to ask back - in a sheepish tone, and eyebrows coming together in a confused/bemused/amused expression,

"Whaaaaaaaay????????"

(in a slightly high tone of voice)

Anonymous said...

And... if you were an old white guy, would he dared to have questioned your modus operandi to that point?

Facetious Student said...

Funny. Makes me want to go into random PI offices and ask the same for kicks. Then again my home PI would find out and beat me for disturbing the peace (i.e. wash dishes).

Squeaky Wipers said...

Haha, this is hilarious.

I think physioprof's suggestion to first ask the caller/visitor to identify himself or herself is quite brilliant, and one that I will start using myself. There are far too many phishing calls going on right now.

Bodhisattva Harlem Mama said...

physioprof has just taught me a new way to deal with the rudeness you described. just walking in like that? how random and how rude.

Unbalanced Reaction said...

Because my office is on the first floor, we get all sorts of people coming in for random information. It's gotten so bad that now I go beyond physioprof's suggestion: I request LargeU ID before giving directions further into the building.

Shriram Krishnamurthi said...

Another group on whom PhysioProf's approach works wonders is telemarketers. A group of callers adopt an extremely friendly tone, maybe because we've been taught to be civil on the phone. So only after a minute of pleasantries do they get to the matter at hand. A simple "Who are you and what are you calling about?" (a) quickly identifies the purpose, and, even more importantly, (b) throws them off their script. From (b), it's a quick road to a short exit.

Dr. Burt said...

was this guy legit? How was he connected to "famouscientist"?

PhysioProf said...

Another group on whom PhysioProf's approach works wonders is telemarketers.

This is, of course, who I honed my technique on. Once I force them to admit to it being a sales call, I state "I'm sorry, but no unsolicited calls are accepted at this number. Please take this number off your list. Thanks, and have a nice day!" Click.

Psych Post Doc said...

Ha!

I wish you had said "I also don't speak to strangers so get the hell out of my office".

Pagan Topologist said...

I don't get this discussion. So often, I have had prospective students show up at my door because someone had suggested they talk with me, or departmental visitors who don't know their way around the building. This sort of rudeness would be seriously frowned upon, I think.

Nicole said...

Riiiight, because we hardly have time to even explore the research possibilities within a single "narrow" field of research! Sheesh. Someone needs to tell RYM that name-dropping can be frowned up in science.

Eliot said...

you know you got a mention in the improbable.com website - ignobel people.

cool

CAITLIN ATE said...

This is, of course, who I honed my technique on. Once I force them to admit to it being a sales call, I state "I'm sorry, but no unsolicited calls are accepted at this number. Please take this number off your list. Thanks, and have a nice day!" Click.

Thank you! In darker days I worked in a call center and appreciated these types of responses!

If the person I called just hung up I wasn't allowed to take them off the list as 'they hadn't requested it' and couldn't give them info on how to be taken off all lists because they'd hung up on me!

Still, i didn't care if people didn't want to talk to me - hell I didn't really want to talk to them - but i did mind when people told me 'to go kill myself' and all the other really horrible stuff you have said to you. I certainly understood they were annoyed but... The person at the end of the line being polite was certainly refreshing.

Sam Wah said...

Another tactic would be to pick up the phone, dial one number, and say "Security? Another one got past you. Shall I shoot him now, or will you be here in 15 seconds?"