The Stories I Tell ~ from The Word Cellar

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I love stories. I'm the one at social functions with a dozen new anecdotes. But I worry about hogging the conversation. Sometimes I tell myself that I'll be quiet and let others do the talking. But no matter how hard I try, my stories insist on bursting out! Here I can let my stories (the classics that I tell again and again, as well as new ones that unfold along the way) run free. I'm a professional writer and editor, and sole proprietor of The Word Cellar. I write for a variety of publications and clients on everything from green buildings and nuclear reactors to entrepreneurship and the arts. If you need words written, edited, or enlivened, I can help. Contact me.

9.16.2007

Private Number

We've been getting an inordinate amount of spammy phone calls lately. We usually avoid answering the phone when the caller ID says anything like, "Out of area" or "Private caller," but last night I discovered that my friend's unlisted number also shows up as "Private caller." (I wish it came up as "Private Number," because then I could sing this.)

Anyway, we've started answering some of the calls, if only to get them to stop calling. (The spammers, not my friend.) But most of them end up being pre-recorded messages. The computers are putting the telemarketers out of jobs! And some of the pre-recorded messages are even leaving us voicemail messages. Oh the irony.

Here are a few of highlights:

  • There was one Real Live Person of Dubious Identity who left a message for a someone who has never lived here. She called herself "Mrs. Sailor," but I don't believe that was her real name. Sounds like an alias to me. A little Internet research showed the number to be from a collection agency. I called them back to tell them they had the wrong number and to stop calling me. When I asked the man who answered for "Mrs. Sailor," I felt like I was part of a murder mystery game. Maybe Mrs. Sailor is in with the likes of Mrs. Peacock and Professor Plum.
  • Then there's the recorded message from GE Money telling us that it's imperative for us to call them about our account. What account? I had no idea. But after six messages in three months, James called them back. They told him that one of our store credit cards is past due. While we do have this store credit card, we've been paying on it regularly, even paying off the balance every few months.
  • Another recorded message was from our mortgage company, with an "important message" about our loan. It instructed James to confirm our zip code and press 1 more information. After that, the message basically said, "Thank you for choosing X lender."
  • But my favorite recorded message was the one I got a few days ago. It told me that I now qualify for a GREAT RATE on ALL of my credit cards. And that I should HURRY, because this offer would END SOON. And that I should consider this my FINAL NOTICE. The message then instructed me to press 9 to speak with an operator about this offer, or press 8 to stop receiving notices. I pressed 8 and was told, "I'm sorry, this is not a valid option." I laughed out loud as the system launched into the same recorded spiel. I pressed 8 again. Still not valid. And that's when I realized: OF COURSE I couldn't choose to STOP receiving notices because I'd already been told that this was my FINAL NOTICE. (Oh it better be...)

add to kirtsy | 6:04 PM

4 Comments:

Anonymous Jess said...

did you put yourself on the do not call registry? we never get calls.

9/17/2007 11:22 AM  
Blogger Jennifer/The Word Cellar said...

Yeah, we're on the do not call list. I even put our name on it again since the first list is expiring soon. I think some of those companies can call us because we already have some affiliation with them through a loan or credit card. But I don't know about that last one. And I assume that credit collection agencies don't have to follow the do not call registry. But they better not call me anymore, since they have nothing to collect from me!

9/17/2007 2:50 PM  
Blogger daisies said...

my favourite is when i get a recorded message saying all operators are busy and could i please hold for the next available ~ only to find that they are trying to sell me something that i don't need, don't want and can't afford ~ gah!

we have been avoiding the private numbers as well but there are sooooooooooo many!!

9/17/2007 6:34 PM  
Anonymous laurie said...

those are all hilarious. esp since we get many of the same calls. but the black hole "press 8" is the best.

also, mrs. sailor might just have to become your new alter ego. says great things about james, too.

9/28/2007 10:49 PM  

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