Thursday, March 23, 2023 Mar 23, 2023
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Stories From Behind D Magazine’s Front Desk

A month in (admittedly strange) phone calls.
By D Magazine |
Jacob Villalobos
Elizabeth Lavin

D Magazine’s administrative assistant, Jacob Villalobos, has manned the front desk for much of the pandemic. Always spectaculary coiffed, he livens our days with cooking shows and cartoons on the lobby TV, as well as with enthusiastically punctuated  company-wide emails with subjects like “Shortage of Forks Drives Up Plastic Fork Prices!” or “Enjoy Some Charcuterie on the Free Table!” But he recently upped the ante with a weekly wrap-up that included a sampling of the phone calls he had received one week in October. Here it is:

  • A woman demanding that I search her daughter’s Social Security number, as both her son and daughter were victims of identity theft. After she read out several numbers—including account numbers and random addresses—I explained that this was a magazine. After a quick Google search, I discovered the company she was looking for was located down the street.
  • Several calls asking if this was Amazon, including a voicemail left by an Amazon employee who said she couldn’t make it to work today
  • A man who left a voicemail saying, “It’s getting worse,” referring to a debilitating health condition
  • A woman who had a 1940s bottle of Hennessey and wanted advice on where to sell it
  • A man who heavily disagreed with removing parking minimums, explaining that the Bishop Arts District is at its worst because the city does not have enough parking. His main argument was: “It’s for the children.” Apparently, children tend to wander aimlessly on roads.
  • A man who left an angry voicemail saying, “Pick up your fucking phone!” after calling three times on a Saturday
  • A man who stated that he refused to leave a voicemail because no one was available to answer his call
  • Several phone calls asking if we sold marijuana licenses
  • A woman who called asking when her pillow order would arrive. I’m still anticipating a follow-up on her pillow order to this day.
  • A woman who, after being put on hold, said, “I love your phone music. This made my day.” Needless to say, her comment made mine.
  • A teenage boy who decided to randomly stop by but refused to give a reason, instead asking to speak to an editor. After saying he called several times earlier and got no answer (it was later revealed “several” meant two and they were both during the lunch hour), he eventually disclosed that he wanted to promote his dad’s barbecue business. I had to give the kid some credit for having the balls to show up in person.
  • A woman who asked which hair salon had been selected as the Best of Big D this year. After relaying the information to her, she went on a 30-minute rant about the criteria needed to be labeled a Best Salon. Keep in mind, the caller was neither a salon owner nor a stylist. After I made a few unsuccessful attempts to cut the conversation short and failed to even get a word in edgewise, she complimented my customer service skills. After the call was finally over, I realized the previous receptionist had labeled her number under “DO NOT ANSWER.”

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