On a very hot July day this summer David (my husband) and I were driving home from the Valley when we came across a roadside flea market. He spied a table full of tools and had to investigate. Staying in the car would have been like sitting in an oven, so I got out and casually walked the line of tables. I talked to some of the vendors, many already packing up to get out of the sun’s direct glare. I bought some raffle tickets from a young girl who’s school band was hoping to get to New York. It would be her first plane ride, she said. I thought that was certainly worth a few of my dollars.
While I could see that David was still picking up and putting down objects at the tool table, I wanted out of the sun myself and was striding towards the car when a small paperback book caught my eye. It is entitled “Telephone Stories by Telephone People” and was obviously sitting there waiting for me.
What’s even more astonishing than the book’s title is that the book is a collection of stories submitted by employees of Maritime Tel & Tel and Island Tel. It was assembled and edited by Dr. A. Gordon Archibald who, among a myriad of other things in his life including being recognized as an Officer in the Order of Canada in 1987, worked for Maritime Tel & Tel for over 50 years, beginning as a salesperson and working his way up to CEO and then Chairman of the Board.
The stories are gems – amazing bits of history and I’m very pleased to be able to share them with the generous permission of Dr. Archibald’s son, George Archibald.
My first choice is one of Dr. Archibald’s own stories, entitled
And Hop To It
During World War II, under Federal Order M.C. 23 (Metal Control), copper wire became very scarce as the bulk of the supply of copper was directed to the War effort.
After a time, circuit groups, which would ordinarily be expanded could not be enlarged and there was a shortage of circuits for long distance transmission. This was the situation at Chester where we were short of circuits to Halifax and beyond.
A Mr. Jones (not his real name, but his first name was Peter) was one of the prominent businessmen in Halifax and he was at his summer home in Chester attempting to place a call to Montreal. The Operator advised him that she could not get his call through just then as all her circuits were busy whereby Mr. Jones, in righteous wrath said “I’m Peter Jones and I want my call put through to Montreal – now!” The Operator, who was evidently having a bad day said, “I don’t care if you’re Peter Rabbit, all my circuits are busy.”
At that, Mr. Jones vowed he’d have her fired so he jumped in his car and headed for Halifax to see Mr. W. A. Winfield, who was the president of the company at the time, and tell him about his experience and that he wanted the Operator summarily dismissed.
He told his story to “W.A.” and then he came to the “punch line” where the Operator said, “I don’t care if you’re Peter Rabbit.” W.A. started to laugh and Mr. Jones stormed out of the office with the remark, “It’s no wonder your Operators are saucy. They’re just following your example.”
I love that story!
If you are an entrepreneur or a salesperson needing to “keep your funnel” full, or wanting to surpass your revenue goals, I do encourage you to join Peter Skakum and I on Wednesday. There are four seats left in our workshop “Exceed Your Quota”. I know it to be a very powerful and empowering day that delivers results immediately.
The registration form and a pdf with all the details can be found here:
One Last Thought:
“When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.”— William James, Psychologist