Thursday, February 19, 2009

Telephones are evil

There are times when I miss the 1970s and 1980s.

Back then, see, we had but one telephone in my parent's house -- it was an ugly yellow thing with a rotary dial. Typically it only rang when someone wanted to get in touch for reasons that wouldn't annoy me.

That's all changed, however, and I've learned that people call me for all kinds of obnoxious reasons. While getting some rest to recover from the flu, I've been annoyed from time to time by telemarketers convinced they had some miracle junk I just had to buy.

Now, understand I don't mind people waking me up so much when I'm home sick. I had a television station call me a couple of times on my cell and that's fine. I'm a public relations guy and that's part of the job.

However, I got a couple of calls that annoyed me to no end. The worst one was from a local publication to which my wife and I used to subscribe. We let our subscription run out a couple of months ago and we've gotten calls a few times a week from the company -- it seems they want us to subscribe again. We tell them "no" and they call back in a day or two and we go through the same nonsense again.

I tried a different approach this time around. A representative of that publication called me again and I, in my best "flu voice," said, "No, we don't want to subscribe. We've told y'all that. Please, I'm sick and I think I might have that nasty bird flu or something. I need my rest."

I got a couple of apologies, but I'm sure I'll hear from them again.

As much as those random telemarketer calls bug me on my home phone, I absolutely hate the ones I get on my cell. I hate cell phones anyway because they simply mean people can reach out and annoy me whenever they get the urge.

I've always hated cell phones, but I really hate the one I have now because of the number that came with it. This phone was provided to me by my office and I got my current number in July 2005. I learned in a hurry that the number was owned by someone who owed a lot of people a lot of money, so I've gotten a bunch of irate calls from bill collectors over the years.

Just last week, someone from XM radio started calling. Now, the XM folks are using a truly obnoxious tactic -- the phone rings and a recording says I need to call XM immediately about my account. I ignored about five of those, but finally returned the call last night. I got stuck on hold for about five minutes and my call got dropped when a human finally got on the line.

I really wonder how many customers XM loses over stuff like that. Satellite radio isn't doing terribly well and tactics like the one XM is using to collect bills probably doesn't help. I'm certain I'll never subscribe to that service, at least.

How on earth did we go from a society that used the telephone for strictly social or important reasons to one where it's common for unsolicited callers to annoy us at will?


Da Old Man said...

The most annoying friend of Mrs will call on the home phone, and if we don't asnwer, will immediately call her cell. You'd think it was important, right?
Nope, she calls every day, and it's always the same stupid stuff, mindless drivel.

lala said...

The one and only local paper in Charlotte, The Observer, was horrible about calling once a week so see if we wanted to subscribe. No many how many times we told them no (and ignored their operatives in the grocery stores who always asked the same thing) they just kept calling and calling and calling.

I hate phones and refuse to have one now (my son does have a cell, so I use his if I need to) When asked for a number, I usually give out an old phone number, although they are starting to catch onto that ("the area code of the number you gave us doesn't match the zip code") said...

I have told people in the past, "If I did not have a wife, I would not have a cell phone."

I prefer to talk to people in person. I have a hearing loss and this helps me to better understand what people are saying to me.

I think it is interesting too, the different mentality I have about phone calls verses my wife and kids. If the phone rings and I am busy, I let it go to voice mail. If it is important, they will leave a message and I'll call them back.

On the other hand, my wife and kids rush to the phone to answer it before it stops ringing. Often, they'll get irritated if it is not an important call.

Sherry said...

But, could you do without your phone?
Every time I get a call from a telemarketer or other annoying company, I set a weird ringtone for the number. It's the same ringtone for all annoyance numbers. That way, I know not to even look at caller ID when they call back. I also know not to answer.

Stunatra said...

My landline never stops ringing with bullshit calls like that...I am sick of it.

JD at I Do Things said...

You have just described hell.

I have a cell phone but never turn it on. I almost never answer our landline phone. But still, somehow, they manage to find me. Grrr. I miss those "one phone" days.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHA........ I can feel your pain!

When we first moved here to this new house, and the SECOND our phone was connected with a new phone number ( because we moved to another area) stupid DALLAS MORNING NEWS would call 3 times a day asking us to join...

And at that time we were living in the OLD house, and was slowly moving stuff over here, but my mother wanted to go ahead and have it turned on so if we needed anything while we were here we could call the old house ( Since our ATT CELLPHONES) don't work down here.

Finally after a week I answered the phone and I said WE DON'T WANT YOUR PAPER PLEASE TAKE US OFF THE LIST and they finally did and we haven't heard from them since October 2008 LOL.

--- Christopher

The Natural State Hawg said...

Da Old Man -- Yes, aren't we glad to have devices around through which people can annoy us all hours of the day and night? And then we went and made them portable.

It's the work of the devil!

lala -- We have the same problem with a paper here. Sadly, I have to keep my cell phone with me (which may explain why I tend to break those things) as my job requires it.

When I retire, however, I figure on escaping those things.

Paul -- I didn't have a cell phone for years, then my wife made me carry one. I share your view of cell phones -- if I'm not in the mood to pick it up, I'll let it roll over to voice mail.

That's very rare, however, as I typically here from my wife or other important people on my cell.

Sherry -- That's a good idea! Perhaps I should actually pull out my owner's manual and figure out how to get my cell phone to do that.

Stuntara -- Same here? What the hell was the point of that "do not call" list, anyway?

JD -- That is what hell is like -- constant interruptions provided by the telephone.

Christopher -- I've tried that "take me off your list" thing a couple of times. It sometimes even works...