Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Our @#$%& -ing land line

When we moved to Buckley two years ago, this may sound weird, but there was no voice mail option here for our phone. We did get a hand-me-down answering machine from my cousin, which, of course, either never worked right or was never checked -- I can't remember which. I was tempted to not even get a land line, but decided to go ahead and get one so that people locally could call us without long distance charges (which is pretty much moot anyway, since everyone has a cell phone). Plus, I needed the land line for TiVo, which I would rather not EVER AGAIN live without. Also, Samantha is 7 and won't be getting her own cell phone for a few more years. She does stay by herself now and then, an hour here or there when I run to the grocery store or when Alex and I want to watch the baseball game at her school and it's cold and Sam would rather stay home. So I even have the home phone listed on my cell phone caller ID as Samantha.

We have one working land line phone in the kitchen and one hands free phone in the bonus room which may or may not be charged on any given day. I don't have a phone in my office since I use my cell phone for everything. When we first moved here, the only people who EVER used the land line were my mom and my aunt. I've finally got them both out of this habit, but there is the occasional kid from Sam's school that will use it, also. The point is that when that phone rings, I know that it's NEVER going to be someone I want to talk to, so I RARELY jump up to answer it. But the thing can ring for as much as nine or ten rings, given that there isn't an answering machine or voice mail. The computer-generated calls don't know the difference and will LET IT RING. So ultimately I do end up answering.

My question is this. What makes companies, people, WHOEVER, think that I would be more likely to go ahead and get DirectTV or vote for Darcy Burner, or ANYONE for that matter, or finally get that credit card coverage for when I am disabled, if they CALL ME AT HOME VIA A COMPUTER-GENERATED CALL? I pick up the phone and there's always a pause, then it's "Hello, this is Lisa with DirectTV" -- CLICK. That's the most recent bane of my existence. That and the election stuff. Okay, at least Obama has live people right there, which is actually better than the computer call, I think. Except that I can hang right up on the computer call. I've actually considered waiting the DirectTV one out so that I can get a live person and tell them NEVER TO CALL ME EVER AGAIN.

The other night I got a live person, the Obama people again, this time asking for Eric, who happened to be sitting right there. Normally I run interference, but this time I asked him if he wanted to take the call. HE DID. MY HUSBAND VOLUNTARILY SPOKE ON THE PHONE, even knowing it wasn't one of his friends calling to whine about the Seahawks or invite him to a football game or a new fantasy league, whatever. The Obama people, by the way, are pretty good, not taking up too much time, just short and sweet, which I so appreciate. But watching Eric take that call made me think maybe I'm just being bitchy by hating the land line calls so much. But seeing as how I'm the only one that even usually answers the phone, maybe not.

The computer-generated calls remind me of those emails I used to get maybe two years ago that would say one thing in the subject line, and when you opened the email, it would change quickly to an ad for viagra. It used to actually drive me to the line of mental instability. Who was the genius who thought that if they could get me, SOMEHOW, to GLANCE at an ad for viagra, that I would magically all of a sudden realize I needed some? I mean, I even responded to more than one of those emails, knowing I probably wouldn't get an answer, but asking anyway if this "trickery" actually ever boosted sales.

I do have a TiVo and thus am able to fast-forward through most of the commercials. But I find that if I need something new, I'll figure it out eventually. I don't need to be tricked or CALLED over and over again. And FYI, if it's a live person that's calling me, I am much more likely to stay on the line and listen to their spiel instead of just hanging up, just to be polite.

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