Escuela

Landline

Most days, I don’t bother picking up my apartment phone when it rings. I know that the person (or machine) at the other line is probably not someone I really care to talk to. Plus, people who really want to talk to me just call my cell phone. But tonight I was trying to watch a DVD and the ringing was disruptive.

The first call was a recorded message. Click.

The second call was a UCLA undergraduate calling members of the alumni association. She wanted me to sign up to host a Dinner for 12 Strangers. Um. Not likely. I have no room for 12 people at my apartment. Oh, and I don’t really cook. I’m much more likely attend one of the dinners the alumni association holds from graduate students.

The third call was another UCLA undergraduate, M. She thanked me for my donation last year to the UCLA Fund and then launched in to her spiel which would end by asking for another donation. The additional funding had helped keep the library open for 24 hours. M discussed the governor’s proposed budget cuts. And then she stopped. She asked me if I had worked for MEChA. I suspect my former employer information might still be in some kind of alumni database. I told her I had worked for one of MEChA’s programs, a counseling and mentorship program called MEChA Calmecac.

“Oh, I worked for MEChA too,” she responded.

“Which program? Calmecac or Xinachtli?” [Xinachtli is the high school outreach program.]

“Calmecac.”

“Cool. I worked at Calmecac a while ago.”

As soon as I knew M had worked at Calmecac too, I felt a connection with this undergraduate working at the UCLA Fund. I decided I’d renew my donation then. I could hear the happiness in M’s voice. I have friends who worked the phones at the UCLA Fund when they were undergrads. My recollection is fuzzy, but I think the students calling had fundraising quotas. Honestly, I wanted to help M meet her fundraising quota more than I cared about donating to my alma mater.

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6 thoughts on “Landline

  1. That’s a smart girl. It’s so important to make that connection when asking for money. I’m always amazed at the people who don’t seem to be able to understand that it’s harder to say no to someone you like or have a connection to.

  2. I think I’m one of those people who beats the caller to the punch. Normally when I get those kind of phone calls I ask “What are you selling” after about 10 seconds into their call. You can tell they’re reading from something and I don’t really have patience for that.

    However, when you do end up talking to someone with some sort of same interest it’s funny how we open up. It’s as if our guard immediately goes down and we fold like a banana peel.

    Even if you didn’t do it for your alma mater it’s good that you helped out the person on the other line.

    Kudos to you cindy!

  3. Veronica says:

    I’m like Jeff,.. I just ask right away what they are selling. Then tell them I am not interested. Mean, I know, but they usually call at 7pm when I’m just finishing dinner and trying to take the kids a bath. I usually do not answer the phone, I hate when people call me lol… they bug.. trust me with 3 kids and a full time job.. people that breath tend to bug me by 7pm. lol

  4. Sarita says:

    Oh…you are so nice. I have this rule where I won’t donate any money to my graduate program until my annual salary is more than my student loan debt. Sad, huh?

  5. Pea,
    Yeah, she seemed hesitant at first to bring it up, but it worked for her.

    Jeff,
    Thanks! You know, when I was learning about campaigning and talking to random people, establishing interest or a connection was always stressed. And it worked, ’cause I always got elected when I ran for something.

    Veronica,
    Heh. I totally understand. I learned to quickly lie for my parents as a kid. Anybody who couldn’t pronounce our last name correctly was suspect.

    Chano,
    Yup! Por vida! (especially if you for office and the xenophobes and nativists find out. They’ll insist you’re trying to take this land and give it back to Mexico.)

    Sarita,
    I don’t think it’s sad, it’s just the reality. If they didn’t have such high tuition, who knows, you coulda started “giving back” sooner. Heh.

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