Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Musings: Tele-stalking.

Computers are here to stay. They help us type, they help stay in touch, they help us make maps to find that new store. They give us information, they help us shop, they help us do stuff with people half a country away.

But along with all that there is a down side. Automated, computer generated phone calls.

The voice that tells you about a better credit card rate is no longer some version of the Speak and Spell. It actually sounds like a pleasant person. But it tells you how to respond. "For English, press one." Or if it's more sophisticated it will tell you, "Say 'yes', 'no', or 'Other options". Heaven help you if you have an accent any thicker that United State Midwestern.

The random telemarketing calls are one thing. You just hang up. There is a whole new ball game when a computer is calling you, and you aren't even the one it wants to talk to... for instance.

Phone rings.
Me: (after not checking the caller ID) Hello?

Computer: Hello. This phone call is for (slight pause) John. Doe. If this is John. Doe. Please press one.

Me: (slapping forehead) Crap, not you again.

Computer: If you need a moment so that John Doe can come to the phone, press two.

Me: John Doe doesn't live here. You have the wrong number.

Computer: Please press one if this is John Doe.

Me: What if I say yes, could I get a real person that I can say "WRONG NUMBER!" to?

Computer: This is a confidential call for John Doe. We need to verify that you are John Doe.

Me: (slamming phone down) Oh forget it.

I have had my phone number for about two years. I don't know who this computer is or why John Doe is so popular. It's to the point where I know the number of this computer when it comes up on my caller ID. I don't answer anymore but the calls keep coming. I may have to move and get a new phone number and let somebody else talk to this computer.

It's just creepy. I wonder if I can have this computer arrested for stalking.


Lourie said...

I hate the ones that sound like someone is there then go dead. What is that about? Grrrr.

Patty Ann said...

I feel the same way!!!

Ruth Ann said...

I have one that calls and says This phone call is for "Polly Hines", etc. Twice I have listened to it all the way to the end, where there is a phone number to call and leave a message saying that there is no Polly Hines at this phone number. Eventually a real person answered and took down my information. They said they were "having some trouble with their equipment." Six months later the calls started up again. I just hang up now.
But if I hang up too fast it automatically re-rings my number - it will ring about 4-6 times before realizing I'm not falling for it again. I had to tell my husband why the phone was ringing right after I hung up, and not to answer it.