Many wrong number calls test patience

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, November 27, 2011

“I thought, ‘Oh, Lord, he’s gonna killme.'”

    I immediately recognized the voice as that of the woman who hadcalled me by mistake before. While I had not been keeping anofficial tally, the call was at least the fourth time she hadmisdialed whatever number she was trying to reach over the last fewweeks.

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    This time she was simply calling to apologize for inadvertentlydialing my number of a few minutes earlier. She apparently hadrecognized her error and hung up before I had a chance to pickup.

    On previous wrong number calls, the woman and I shared a fewpleasantries and a conversation or two about whatever happened tobe on our minds.

    For instance, we had a nice brief talk while I drove up Highway 61between Natchez and Vicksburg on my birthday last month. Those fewminutes broke the boredom of traveling that stretch of road.

    I can’t tell you the woman’s name because, let’s be honest here,I’m still dealing with a wrong number call and I’m not going to getthat invested in it. Still, this woman struck me with her pleasantnature and I’ve not been outdone by any of her calls.

    Now some other unexpected calls – both those on purpose, like fromtelemarketers, and others of the wrong number variety – have testedmy patience. In fact, those were a major factor in my decision togive up my landline phone a little more than a year ago.

    Also, I just couldn’t justify paying a monthly bill for a phonethat was so rarely used. Especially when anyone who really needs toget in touch with me more than likely has my cell phone number, orat least knows where I work.

    Shortly after I moved here about 20 years ago, my landline phonenumber either previously belonged to or was very similar to someonenamed Freeman. I would occasionally get a call from somebodywanting to talk to Freeman.

    Most of the time, they’d just hang up when I said they had thewrong number.

    But every so often, I’d have to explain they had called the COLEmanhouse and not the FREEman house. To me, it is the height ofrudeness to argue with someone after you have called them bymistake.

    Speaking of rude, telemarketers who don’t understand what ‘no’means greatly annoy me.

    I know many people who simply hang up on telemarketing calls.That’s just not in my nature and I try to at least be a littlecourteous when ending the conversation.

    “I’m not interested,” I usually say after the person has completedtheir spiel.

    “But Mr. Coleman, we have …,” the determined telemarketercontinues.

    “Let’s try this again,” I say, “I’m not interested …”

    At this point, any words other than “thank you for your time” getthe hang-up click.

    I signed up my landline number a few years ago when the Do Not Calllists starting being created. That, and outright switching to cellphone only, greatly reduced the number of telemarketing calls Igot.

    Some telemarketers, though, apparently have not gotten the messagethat people don’t want to be bothered. I always enjoy seeing pressreleases where the state Public Service Commission has finedsomeone for violating the Do Not Call list.

    Part of my annoyance with telemarketers and most wrong number callsis my own fault. 

    Regardless of whether I recognize the number, I simply cannot standto hear a ringing phone and I must have some compulsion to answerit. Is there a Do Not Answer list I can put myself on?

    That’s all for now.

    Write to Managing Editor Matthew Coleman at P.O. Box 551,Brookhaven MS 39602, or send e-mail