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Stereo-Coding

I’ve been taking reservations for a wildly popular campground in a tourist town for over 5 years. Everyday, I field hundreds of calls from all over Texas and beyond. I’ve learned how to answer most of the questions I get in the fewest words while giving the most information as possible. In layman’s terms, I’ve “dumbed it down” to about a third grade level of comprehension. Still, I speak with people who just don’t get it. Lucky for me, a little thing called “technology” introduced me to my best friend: Caller ID. Yeah, I know… it’s been around for a couple of decades, but for me, it’s an essential tool. Before I even answer the phone, I can usually tell the way the conversation will go. I know I’m giving in to geographical stereo-types by judging a person based on their area code, but hey, after 5 years of this, I’d say my sweeping generalizations tend to be correct more often than not. That being said, here is a little list I put together based on my experiences, and yes, based on area codes:

(512) ~ Usually my favorite phone calls to take. These people tend to be receptive to what I say, usually understand rates & rules on the first go-round, and are almost always laid back and friendly.
(512): Can we drink at your campgrounds?
Me: Yes, absolutely! We just don’t allow glass or styrofoam.
(512): Right on! Thank you very much!
Me: Is there anything else I can help you with?
(512): Nope, that’s all I needed to know. You’ve been a huge help… see you Friday! Thanks, again!

(210) ~ These callers tend to think of themselves as “locals” (they are not) and almost always complain about our fees. They tend to be coming out for day passes, picnics, and primitive tent camping. There are usually large groups with lots of children, extra person fees, and extra car fees. For 210’ers, that’s a problem.
(210): Yes, my family would like to come out just for the day and bbq. Is that free?
Me: No, ma’am. Day passes are $20 per car on Sundays for up to 4 people over age 8.
(210): *gasp* Really? That much? But what if we want to only stay for a few hours?
Me: The fee is the same if you stay 2 hours or 12 hours.
(210): How much is it if we have more than 4?
Me: Each additional person in the car pays $5.
(210): But what if they are coming in a separate car?
Me: It’s a per car fee, ma’am.
(210): *gasp* REALLY? My God, EACH car is $20? Even if they are coming with us to our site?
Me: *exacerbated* Yes, ma’am, every car that comes through the gate gets charged.

(337) ~ Our border neighbors to the east. Man, I love these people! That’s not saying their reservations aren’t hard, because they are, but they have all the patience in the world. If they are in a hurry, they won’t let you in on that secret. They travel in packs, so once I get one call, I know a shit ton of others will soon follow, all of them trying to get their RV’s side-by-side. Now, I’m not going to pretend that I can talk or type like a Cajun, so no typical phone exchange examples here. Just imagine taking a reservation from The Waterboy and Swamp People who are full of southern charm and don’t mind repeating themselves when you say, “what?” …and trust me, I say “what” a lot.

(214, 972) ~ These people tend to be procrastinators with a sense of entitlement.
(214): I have a 46′ RV (no, you don’t. It’s 42′ at best, but that’s still a stretch) and I need a site for this weekend. Preferably a premium site, but as long as it’s riverside.
Me: I’m sorry, ma’am, I don’t have anything available for this weekend.
(214): You’re joking.
Me: No, I’m not. I’m sorry.
(214): *miffed* Hmmmph, well, what am I supposed to do now?
Me: You can try a different campground.

(713, 281, 832) ~ I saved the best/worst for last. Space City. H-Town. The Dirty H. The Bayou City. The Third Coast. She has many different monikers to reflect the melting pot she has become. This is me, my hometown, where I was born and raised and love to spend the weekend once or twice a month. But seriously… you people suck. Your phone calls are the hardest to take. When I see your area code pop up on the Caller ID, my tummy fills with dread. I pray that you’ll let me off easily with a quick and painless death, but hell no, you slowly suck the life from my soul. Fuck you. There is no good example for these calls. They are almost all shit.

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**DISCLAIMER**

Oh, for the love of God, do I really have to post a disclaimer? Apparently so. Look, if I forgot your area code, it’s because you people are fine. I have no qualms or boasts with you or about you. If I offended you, get over it. Do you even camp? Probably not. If you do and I’ve pissed you off, remember, these are “stereocodes,” okay? I’m sure you have exceptional phone etiquette and would never conceive of being an asshole to the faceless person on the other end of the line. Don’t take it so personally, I’m not talking about you.

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Author:

I'm a forty-something river goddess, music enthusiast, campground manager, wife, momma to eight, and doting grandmother to three... Mostly, I'm just a gal that has a lot to say.

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