27 July 2007

The Masses

I have a frustrating dilemma. I want to see the world as a good place where people are, unfortunately, suffering, and many of the world's problems can be fixed with better communication and the gospel. But at the same time, I think that The Masses are selfish, uneducated, and cruel. So sometimes I have trouble deciding if at any given moment I'll want to save the world or let The Masses ruin their lives.

At work we run credit checks on potential customers. What happens is that the representative who is at the customer's house will call us and give information like the customer's name, address, phone number, and birthdate. The program we use is set up to automatically verify addresses to make sure they are real, but first the street name and house number must be correct.

A few days ago, a representative called and gave me an address on "Leh-BAA-none Avenue" in Illinois. She then spelled it for me: L-E-B-A-N-O-N. I asked her to clarify that it was not LeBannon or something of the sort. "No," she replied, "It's Leh-BAA-none. L-E-B-A-N-O-N."

"Um...could that be...Lebanon? Like the country?" I asked.

Long pause. "Leb...eh...non... Leb...uh...non... Yeah, I guess it could be!" she said cheerfully.

The sad thing was that later in the day a different representative (this time male) called with a Lebanon Avenue in another city and pronounced it Lay-BAN-un. As part of the pre-installation survey we ask customers to confirm that we have the correct address on file for them, and it did indeed turn out to be Lebanon. Like the country. Both times.

1 comment:

K Lewis said...

Well, sometimes things are "correctly" pronounced differently in different parts of the USA and world. Avon (short A),NY and Avon (long A) the company. In Missouri there's New Madrid. That's New MAAA-drid. In New Jersey we came across Joralemon. It turned out to be Jor-AAH-le-mon. We would never have guessed--regardless of where the accent should be.

And while I certainly have the tendency to "have low esteem for others" in this case, they could be using the locally "correct" pronunciation.