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Dial O for Operator

Telephone Operator - noun - someone who helps callers get the person they are calling

(from Dictionary.com)

 

I recently watched a black & white documentary on Youtube titled “Operator” produced by AT&T in 1969. It was all about telephone operators and how they perform their jobs. It was fun and educational. The short movie showed operators at work, answering calls for telephone assistance. It brought back memories of dialing “O” on a rotary telephone and requesting assistance from the operator. I jotted down some of the ways the operators answered their phones in the movie. See if you remember any of these....

 

“Directory assistance, may I help you?”

“Operator.”

“This is long distance, may I help you?”

“Overseas, may I help you?”

“May I help you?”

“Directory assistance.”

“Your call, please?”

“Would you like to make a note of that number?”

“May I have the number again, please?”

“Sir, this is the satellite circuit.”

“You can call long distance from your phone and save money, dial 212 and the number.”

 

Again, the above were from 1969, over 40 years ago. For kicks, I dialed O for operator from my home phone. The call did not go through, even though my touch tone telephone has the letters “OPER 0” on the handset. Instead, I had to dial 411 for directory assistance. That’s when a very pleasant electronic female voice said:

 

“Welcome to Yadkin Valley Telecom, your call may be recorded for quality purposes. What city and state, please?”

 

I did not respond and the electronic Operator said, “Please say the name of the city and state now.” When I again did not respond I was told, “Please hold for an Operator.” I was then transferred to a live female Operator, who immediately asked, “What city and state please?” The real Operator also had a very pleasant voice and when I told her I was testing my phone she simply said “OK, have a nice day.”

 

One final observation. In the 1969 movie one of the Operators made a point that I believe is as meaningful today as it was back then. She said, “It’s nice when someone says thank you.” So, to all you telephone operators out there... THANK YOU! You are much appreciated.

 

copyright - all rights reserved - Mark Mathosian

 

YouTube video OPERATOR:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAC4MvP_C-I&feature=relmfu

 

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Taken on January 29, 2010