Tulkinghorn regularly rages about the rudeness of certain switchboard operators or secretaries. But is it possible that those who are overpolite are even more annoying?
One of his minions had cause to ring a partner at Berwin Leighton Paisner the other day. After several rings, it became obvious the man was not around. He patiently left it ringing a few more times, waiting for the voicemail to kick in, but was surprised by an exceedingly proper voice that helpfully told him: "Hello, you're ringing John Doe?" "Er, yes, I know," came the hack's response.
"There's no reply." Really? No kidding. "Would you like to go through to voicemail?" What a great idea.