So my wife picks up the phone this morning and hears a solemn, dreary female voice intone, “This call is from Social Security Administration–” Here Patty hung up.
Note the absence of the “the.” Not the Social Security Administration. Like, maybe there’s more than one?
I wonder what the pitch would have been. Were they angling for confidential information–so helpful in any enterprise involving identity theft–or would they try to sell us something? Maybe sign us up for a time share at Chernobyl.
We probably get half a dozen of these calls a day, and sometimes more. Law enforcement seems unable to stem the tide. The telephone has become a burglary tool–or are they just into pure harassment?
We got five of these calls yesterday–answer the phone and there’s no one there. It’s really annoying!
Reading up on it, we find two chief causes of nobody-there phone calls: 1) telemarketing robots mindlessly dialing numbers even when the telemarketer isn’t there to pester the victim; and 2) collecting in-use phone numbers for sale to criminals who want to steal your identity or hack into your bank account.
The advice we get from all sources is, “Just hang up.”
I don’t know why telemarketing is allowed at all. Actually, one of my first jobs after college graduation was as a telemarketer for Time-Life Books. At least I was a real person whom the victim could curse at and call names. I mean, when you’ve just sat down to your dinner, and you’ve got a loved one in the hospital, you’re gonna get up and answer the phone, aren’t you? And when it’s nobody–!
These calls are up there with aiming floodlights at your neighbor’s bedroom window all night, or cutting loose with your leaf-blower at 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning.
With much of The Great Quarantine still in force, and many of us stuck at home for more of the day than usual–boy, do we get robo-calls! Every nuisance in the world has our number. And sometimes they come up with something new, like this:
We’re getting bombarded with robo-calls today, the same stupid calls we get all the time, every day (“This is an apology call…”, “This is your final notice…”, etc.). It’s pure annoyance for annoyance’s sake: you’re not going to buy their product.
The phone rings again. I answer it. Only instead of saying “Hello,” I say, “This had better be good.” Response: nothing. Silence.
It rings again. This time I say, “Who’s this?” Silence.
A third time. “What’s this, then?” And for the third time, silence.
And then it dawns on me! If you say “Hello,” you engage the robot to go into its spiel. If you don’t say “Hello,” it doesn’t engage.
This way you get the added benefit of a real caller hearing you and responding to your other-than-hello.
That’s how I’m going to answer the phone from now on.
If your ex-boyfriend phones you every day, long after you’ve told him, many times, that you don’t want to hear from him again, you can take his butt to court–right? I mean, that’s harassment, isn’t it? Like, it’s stalking!
So how come it’s okay for the same fly-by-night businesses to phone you every single day no matter how often you curse them, razz them, hang up on them, or scream? “This is your final notice…” for the ten thousandth time. “This is an apology call…” “This is an important message…” Yeah, right. That’s why it’s being delivered by a robot?
They call you every day. You’d think, after the thousandth time or so, that it’d dawn on them that you don’t want what they’re selling. But it doesn’t, because it’s not possible for anything to dawn on a robot.
The persons responsible for these calls should be prosecuted for harassment. They should be treated like stalkers, because that’s what they are. And I’m dashed if I can see how they get away with it.
With the Great Quarantine choking off our nation’s economy and driving us crazy in ways too numerous to mention, the robo-callers have stepped up their attacks on our privacy. We must have gotten half a dozen of them yesterday.
Y’know, you’re trying to eat supper and every couple minutes the phone rings again, and it’s always some shyster-bot trying to sell you something. But you still have to get up and answer it, just on the increasingly unlikely chance that it’s important.
Some bold president or governor could be elected King o’ the World if he outlawed unsolicited solicitations.
Mayor Bloomberg never did get around to reserving ten thousand New York City parking spaces for electric cars–it’s so hard to control everything! He left office with people still able to obtain french fries: surely a sore disappointment to him.
And then there’s the characters we send to Capitol Hill to rule us and make themselves fabulously wealthy. It’s astounding, how rich you can get in “public service”! And all on our dime!
Something ought to be done about that, someday. But we’d have to get a bit smarter first, and public education is there to make sure that never happens.