Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The LuLac Edition #2585, January 15th, 2014

Our “Write On Wednesday” logo.


Ellyn Ramich, author of '411,' a collection of humorous stories from her time working in customer service.  (Photo: Citizen's Voice).

CALLING 411!!!!!

Last week the Citizen’s Voice’s Kristen Gaydos did an article on a local author who penned a book on her experiences as a 411 operator. Here is that story and how Ellyn Ramich went about telling it:
As a directory assistance worker, Ellyn Ramich heard plenty of goofy, inane and unbelievable comments from customers. The Hanover Township resident documented the funniest exchanges in her book, "411."
JS: What led you to a job in directory assistance?
ER: I actually worked directory assistance twice, the first time for almost two years and the second time almost six. I saw the ads in the paper and thought it would be a good fit for me with my previous customer service experience.
JS: How did you get the idea to write a book about your experiences?
ER: I'd been writing seriously since I was 14 years old and ended up majoring in English in college. Poetry has always been my primary genre, but I had talked to my best friend, who has a publishing background, and after hearing some of my stories from work he said, "That's your book." It's just one of the reasons I'm very grateful to him.
JS: Did you have good moments with customers as well, where their niceness was surprising?
ER: We had to work all holidays, and sometimes we'd get a call on Thanksgiving or Christmas simply thanking us for working that day. I really appreciated that. There were also times where they would take the time to ask me how my day was going, which was very nice considering they were simply calling for a phone number and/or address.
JS: How do you think others who work in customer service view "411"?
ER: My hope is that they will relate to it. Customer service is getting worse, for both the customer and the employees. It's a tough field and it's not just limited to phone work but retail, restaurant workers, medical staff, just to name a few. I would like them to kick off their shoes and relieve some of their stress with a lot of laughter.
JS: Who are your influences as a writer?
ER: As a writer there are many who have influenced me, but I'd have to say writers such as Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe and Samuel Beckett. Their work is so classic and so remembered because they dared to break the mold of their time, and I strive to embrace uniqueness and individuality in my work.
JS: Are you working on any other projects?
ER: I'm in the process of putting together stories for my second book of funny customer service stories. In fact, I am encouraging all who have a funny customer service story to please message me on my Facebook fan page, and if I pick the story for my next book they will win a free signed copy of "411." I am also having a Facebook free book giveaway from January to June where if I get a certain number of fans per month people can win a free signed copy of "411," and whoever is the 411th fan will not only receive a copy but a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card as well.


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