I participate in a lot of conference calls as part of our work. Coming from a BPO where I had actually been an agent talking to customers in the US, I know there are some etiquettes you have to follow on call. Because its a telephone conversation, and the other person is more probable to cut you off if you break those etiquettes, I tend to stick to them like they are my ten commandments or something. And American people (not to sound racial in anyway) are 'hard' to keep engaged in a telephone conversation.
Well, this post definitely ain't about America or its people. We have a project manager (Indian) who works abroad interacts with the client, gathers requirements, clarifies our queries to those requirements, etc. This person stays with his wife and child in US and has been doing so for the past 3 years. One day we were trying to reach this person. My team mate (a female around my age and my senior) and our team leader who sits in the adjacent bay to where my team mate sits were involved in this conversation. The project manager lives on a different time zone. So when we call it'd be usually be 9 or 10 pm their time.
My team leader wasn't exactly with us when we were about to make the call. He was busy sitting in his bay and doing his work. My team mate called the reception and asked them to dial our project manager in the US. The call went through. The phone rang. A lady's voice went "Hello". This was our manager's wife. Now look at this conversation from his wife's perspective. Its almost 11pm in the night. Her husband has gone out for getting some medicines (I believe) for their son. The phone rings. She attends and says "Hello"...a lady's voice from the other end says "Hello...uh...Subbu??!"
Subbu is our manager's nickname. We don't even know if his wife calls him by this name. (Perhaps she might refer to her husband as someone more elderly and call him with respect). She was silent for a while. My team mate and I were staring at the phone. Suddenly even my team leader joined in to experience the telephonic drama about to unfold. I guess my team leader and I was excited about Subbu's wife going to explode and give my team mate a nice lesson. But the wife didn't do that. She said her husband has gone out to get medicines. Team mate asked when can we callback; the wife replied, after half-an-hour. And then that conversation ended.
I looked at my team mate, and said 'Thank God she was Indian. She was kind and at least she understands!!! But if the wife was an American woman, she would have given you nicely over the phone". To this we all ended up laughing.