I just want to get this off my chest ... I have had a very frustrating day, argh!

How do you deal with pesky and feeling important (or simply lazy?) secretaries of prospect interviewees? I had a very very frustrating day with one and I am sooo pissed!

I've been assigned to write an article on a new learning theory and was tasked to find the Filipino counterparts of the original US proponent. After several dead ends (the url given to me cannot be found and the only telephone number to contact was always busy) three weeks ago and having learned the hard way these past years to exhaust all means, I emailed the US proponent directly and asked for his contact persons in the Philippines (he presented a lecture here recently). Somebody from the website responded immediately with unfortunately only a name and an email address. So I emailed the person (Ms. X). And she didn't respond.

I was left again to keep trying the only number given to me. On Tuesday last week, I finally got through and was able to talk to someone (Ms. Y) who said she'll call me back immediately after she's contacted Ms. X. I waited the whole day and got no call. So I called again the next day and was told Ms. Y didn't go to work that day and didn't leave any messages for me. I was also informed by the secretary I talked to that the persons I'm looking for are only sharing the office with them (another company) and that they (my prospects) don't always come in everyday.

When I tried researching the company name in the net, I finally found out that the .org should have been .com and that there are only five people whom I can try to interview. Unfortunately, only one of them (Ms. Z) has a landline number included in her profile and she was always out of her clinic (she's a pyschologist) when I try to call. On Thursday, I called the company again and was told the same thing. By Friday, the secretary I talked to said Ms. Y has a family crisis and won't be reporting for work in the next few days. I knew then I had to call my editor and ask for a deadline extension.

Early this morning, I thought my luck has turned when I got to talk to Ms. Z's secretary. Boy, was I wrong ... big time! I explained that I'd like to set an appointment if Ms. Z could grant me an interview. I was told to call again after lunch as the doctor has several patients to see. She said she'll ask the doctor first then let me know the answer. I asked, "About what time?" since 'after lunch' is a vague entity. She said to call at 2 pm. I promptly called at the appointed time and she had to ask again who I was and what I wanted. Again, she told me to call back around 4 pm since there are still patients lined-up. I was about to request if she could please send me an SMS when I can already talk to the doctor directly so I won't be wasting precious phone charges, but she hung up on me while I was still in midsentence.

I am based in Laguna and have been making all these long distance calls for the past three weeks and haven't got anything to show for it yet! Argh!

So at 15 minutes past 4 pm, I called again. And was told to call again by 7pm. I managed to slip in my SMS request. She said to wait for her text message. It never came. When I called the clinic again at 7:30pm, I got an answering machine. I politely worded my request for interview directly to the doctor. I just hope she gets my message tomorrow.

I am soooo frustrated. How can I reach the person I'm supposed to set an appointment with when the secretary bars all calls?! Is it too much to ask that she pass on the message, get the doctor's approval or rejection and let me know the next time I call? How should I deal with her tomorrow when I have to call again? I am honestly at my wits' end where to find an alternative interviewee :(
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