Would you give an employee's private number to a customer?

Andrew Lenz Jr.

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I'm curious. A woman comes in and says she was supposed to meet with one of your staff—let's say "Bob"—at a particular time. You have no idea if this is true or not, but you assume so. Bob is unexpectedly not at work because he is home sick in bed which he told you that morning.

You apologize for the illness and:
a) offer to help in Bob's stead;
b) offer to have Bob call when he's back to work and arrange a new meeting time;
c) give Bob's private and unlisted mobile number to the woman so she can call and nag him while he's trying to sleep.

Yeah. One of my staff did "C". I am Bob. This was months ago but still irritates the heck out of me. A complete violation of our store policy that's outlined in our employee manual—never give out personal information of any staff member without explicit permission. Of course, no one owned up or apologized for to doing it.


There. Is that a good grumble?

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WOW Framer
A most excellent Grumble. :beer:

It sounds like you made clear to staff that this was out of line. Although no one owned up, I'm guessing they won't do it again.

Since this still rankles, I'm wondering if there's more to it. Was it just the once, or do you have a broader frustration with staff responses?

Andrew Lenz Jr.

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Just one instance. To me, this is such a huge violation of privacy. I'd never ever give out an employee's personal number to anyone without permission . . . not even to another employee. Giving out my confidential number to a random person walking into our business where that person can call me 24/7/365 is egregious. And what if it was a crazy stalker on a court order to stay away? Or a crazy ex-employee tracking me to kill me? Once you have a cell number, there are ways on the black market to get live location data from a cellular phone . . . it's used (mostly illegally) by bounty hunters all the time.

Anyway. Just venting. And grumbling, I guess!



PFG, Picture Framing God
I never give out anyone's number unless it's already OK with that person just as I don't want MY number given out unless I OK it.:kaffeetrinker-2:
I will get the customer's number and relay it to the person they're trying to reach and they can connect that way.

Mike Labbe

Forum Support Team Administrator
Team member


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
My home phone, a landline, has been unlisted for decades. I have given this number to two customers in that time, one called me once and the other called me enough times for me to regret having given it to her. But now she has died and I am really sorry I will never be able to talk with her again.

I would be absolutely furious if anyone gave out my number to anyone, especially some random wannabe customer.

Is this woman still calling you, Andrew?


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Nope - that is not on under any circumstances. Even in the gravest emergency I would call the employee myself and ask if he/she wanted to talk to the enquirer.

Andrew Lenz Jr.

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Could they have found it on one of the public sites on google? I dont know if this is the current or a past one, but here is one example
Nah. Funny, that has my dad's name but my home number. I doubt it has my cell number in there and I doubt the customer would have paid to have access to it—which I doubt is even available. I have no doubt one of my staff provided it. I didn't grill the staff asking who it was because that doesn't matter . . . but I used it as a learning experience for the entire staff: no, no no!



Forum Support Team
Team member
Once a customer has your cell number, they never bother with the office phone again. I finally learned to not answer the cell while a work. It is just human nature, their is no ill will. But never, ever give out someone elses number was drummed into me at an early age and I have always made it clear to employees that it is not acceptable to give out any number but the shop number.