By Bill Derby
I received a call Saturday during America’s US Open Golf Tournament. Telephone calls to our home pop up the number on our TV. I recognized the name and was not concerned about answering the call from someone I knew. But, I was tricked and it was a robocall to lower my credit card interest rate. The recorded message told me to punch number 1 to speak to someone. I did and waited.
When a live person came on the line I asked where they were calling from. The response, “Sir, I am calling from Ohio.”
Obviously the caller was from another country whom I could barely understand. Irritated that I missed seeing Gary Woodland chip in a par from off the green, I instructed the caller to place his phone someplace other than in his ear.
We get gazillions of these dang useless calls. One particularly annoying call asks if I have pain in my hip. Why heck yes, I have pain in my hip. Everyone knows if you are over 65 and played sports you will have pain in your hip. I remarked to the person that I now have added another pain in that same general area from their robocall and hung up.
Congressman Roe shows robocalls to our 423 area code numbered 197 million in 2018. The number is increasing in 2019.
One remedy might be putting a new message on your answering machine. Here are a few suggestions I found.
Answering Machine Messages
• “Hi. This is John: If you are the phone company, I already sent the money. If you are my parents, please send money. If you are my financial aid institution, you didn’t lend me enough money. If you are my friends, you owe me money. If you are a female, don’t worry, I have plenty of money.”
• “Hi. John’s answering machine is broken. This is his refrigerator. Please speak very slowly and I’ll stick your message to myself with one of these magnets.”
• “This is not an answering machine – this is a telepathic thought recording device. After the tone, think about your name, your reason for calling and a number where I can reach you, and I’ll think about returning your call.”
• “Hi. I’m probably home, I’m just avoiding someone I don’t like. Leave me a message, and if I don’t call back, it’s you.”
• “Hi. Now you say something.”
• “Hi, this is George. I’m sorry I can’t answer the phone right now. Leave a message, and then wait by your phone until I call you back.”
• “If you are a burglar, then we’re probably at home cleaning our weapons right now and can’t come to the phone. Otherwise, we probably aren’t home and it’s safe to leave us a message.”
• “This is the Metropolitan Opera Amateur Audition Hotline. After the tone, sing Vesti la Giubba and La Donna e Mobile…”
• “The President is not in his office at this time. Please leave your name, phone number, the name of the country you wish to invade, and the secret password.”
• “We’re sorry. You have reached an imaginary number. Please rotate your phone 90 degrees and try again.”
• “Joe here. I’m home right now, I’m just screening my calls. So start talking and if you’re someone I want to speak with I’ll pick up the phone. Otherwise, well, what can I say?”
• “I can’t come to the phone now because I have amnesia and I feel stupid talking to people I don’t remember. I’d appreciate it if you could help me out by leaving my name and telling me something about myself. Thanks.”
• “I can’t come to the phone right now because I’m down in the basement printing up a fresh new batch of twenty dollar bills. If you need any money, or if you just want to check out my handiwork, please leave your name, number, and how much cash you need after the tone. If you’re from the Department of the Treasury, please ignore this message.”
• “Thank you for calling. If you wish to speak to Tim, push 1 on your touch tone phone now. If you wish to speak to Lynn, push 2 on your touch tone phone now. If you have a wrong number, push 3 on your touch tone phone now. All of this button pushing doesn’t do anything, but it is a good way to work off anger, and it makes us feel like we have a big time phone system.”
• (Very fast:) “Hi, this is 904-4344. If you want to leave a message, please wait for the tone. If you want to leave your name and number, please press pound, press 3, then dial your name, then press 6 and dial your number. If you want to leave your name and just a message, press star, press 6, ask for extension 4443, then leave your name and message. If you want to leave your number and the time you called, please press star twice, spin in a circle, press 1 twice, talk loud and BEEP…”
• Bridge, Kirk here.
• You have reached 555-6238. Why?