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Donna Gets it Right ----


I Don't Understand Caller ID

I know its purpose is for people to actively screen their phone calls.

It’s really great for handling those pesky telemarketers. But sometimes, what’s really going on is Screening Your People. You call, the other party sees your number, and doesn’t want to talk to you. So they let the machine pick it up. I’ve seen people do it, right in front of me. Oh, they look at me like “I never do that to you”, but there they are, doing it to their sister/brother/mother. Hmm, never do it to me eh?

What really gets me about caller ID, is the businesses that have it. I work for a small publishing company. Our publications are niche, so we don’t really make any cold calls, per se. Just calls to people within the industry our magazines cater to. A salesman makes his calls, no one is there, but there is no answering machine, so he has to simply hang up. A few hours later, I’ll get to take the call, where the first question will be, “Hey someone from there called me, this number showed up on my caller ID, what do you want?” Great, I’m thinking, another idiot with caller ID.

So I ask with underlying irritation, “What is the name of your company?”

“Wha? Wha cha ya need that fer?”

“Well sir…..” I go on to try and explain what our company does, so he’ll have an indication of why someone called him. Gump doesn’t seem to understand this.

“Uuh, aw-ight” , audible pause, “so why did they call me?”

“Obviously we had the wrong number, sir, sorry to bother you.” Geez. I guess I shouldn’t assume that explaining in painstaking detail what our company does means he’ll get it.

Someone I’m very close to has this problem. I won’t mention his name, it’s not to protect his innocence, it’s just that I have to live with him and he doesn’t like being mentioned in my columns....

Anyway, he has a cell phone. See one of my previous rantings and you’ll know why I don’t have one. He’ll get a call while we’re at the movies or dinner. He sees the number and doesn’t recognize it, so he ignores it. Later when he goes back to check it, he wonders why they didn’t leave a message.

Curious, he calls the number back. I’m begging him not to call. Resist it, I say, hand it to me and back slowly away from the cell phone. It doesn't work. He then ends up in a verbal battle with the person who just mistakenly dialed the wrong number, but won’t admit it.

So now he’s yelling, “But your flippin number is on MY phone!”

Well, I didn’t call you, it must have been someone else”

How could it have been someone else, I don’t even know who you are, how could I have gotten your number?!

And on and on and on. I’m standing there with my face in my hands, hoping it will be over soon. He finally gives up and hangs up on the person, mumbling a few expletives. Although I believe he mumbled the expletives BEFORE he hung up. Because now, thanks to caller ID, they have his cell phone number safely tucked away in their system. And every once in a while now, late at night, his cell phone will ring. Guess whose number it is.

Until next time


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