Monday, February 06, 2006

Please Leave Me Alone: Overcommunication

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The telephone, like the internal combustion engine, is a paradox, at once one o the greatest inventions in the world, and one of the worst.

Like many people, I have two telephones. One of them is my cellphone: I use this one all the time. The other is my landline, which I hold onto only because Verizon bundles its dsl service with its telephone service, and because Comcast (headquartered in downtown Philadelphia) doesn't provide service to the southwest corner of the city. My landline is a cordless model.

For some reason, the splitters don't work so well in my house, and whenever I use the internets, an incoming phone call throws me off for about 10 minutes. I've learned to unplug the phone...

The most obnoxious calls I get are from people who have both my landline and my cell phone. My mother is a huge offender. First she'll call my cellphone. Then, if I don't answer the cellphone, she'll call back and leave the exact same message on my landline. My brother does the same thing. My ex-girlfriend does it too.


Add to this calls from people who want my time and/or money, everyone from telemarketers to bill collectors, all of who refuse to identify themselves or who they're calling for, and you've got the makings of a conniption fit. Most of the time they leave recorded messages that begin midstream. "...portant message, and not a sales call. Please call us back at your earliest convenience at..." The last time I responded to a pre-recorded message on my answering machine, I ended up sitting on hold for about half an hour, only to find the call was a wrong number. The time before that I thought a collection agency was after me, only to find out some company wanted to sell me a timeshare toilet. Or something like that.

Once you begin to consider the role of voice-automated sytems, you begin to understand why I hate the telephone: there is nothing quite as irritating as dialing 1 for yes, then 2 for no over and over and over again. Usually, I just it 0 repeatedly until i get to customer service. On my verizon bill, the customer service number provided isn't even the correct number. I know this because last weekend, I needed some dsl assistance and sat on hold for 10 minutes only to be told that I had dialed the wrong number.

"That can't be true miss," I said and read back the numbers on the bill. "it says to call you for--"

"That's the number you dialed sir, but we're not the dsl customer service people. THAT number is blah blah blah," she said, which I duly dialed and sat on hold for 10 minutes before the robot told me Verizon doesn't have customer service on the weekend.

All I want is to not be bothered. It's annoying. If I don't pick up one phone, don't call back thinking I'll pick up the other one. I'm even less-likely to answer.


Blogger Phillybits said...

I'll just have to revert to asking Chris if he knows where my brother is then, I guess.

11:27 PM  
Blogger Brendan said...


you know that chris might be moving back in, right?
OH yeah. I have to get a splitter for the phone i think...

11:06 AM  

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