Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 26, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

NO, YOU ARE NOT TRYING OUT FOR A FEDEX COMMERCIAL....This is one of my pet peeves too. At least, it used to be back when I had a job where I got lots of voice mail. Today, not so much. But still.

Kevin Drum 5:42 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (43)

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Well my pet peeve is when people don't say what day and time it is - don't assume that my voicemail system will give me that information (on my cell, for example, it doesn't, which is completely aggravating).

Phew, I feel better.

Posted by: craigie on January 26, 2007 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

(Not) Frist!

I hate it when people leave me messages that I have to rewind more than once to get the number. Is it so hard to say three numbers, pause, say three numbers, pause, and say the last four numbers?

I blame the entire "Self-esteem" conspiracy: more than one rewind means a too high a sense of self worth.

Posted by: PetervE on January 26, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

One of the tasks I perform daily at our small company is pulling off the voice-mail messages each morning and returning the calls. You cannot imagine how many people leave a looong message, explicit in every detail, then forget to leave either their name or telephone number. They then call back during the day and bitch because we never called them back.

Another favorite is people who leave their telephone number, without bothering to include the area code. This whole process of leaving messages wasn't invented yesterday. For some people, though, it's cutting edge technology!

Posted by: bigcat on January 26, 2007 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

At work I know they can look up my number easily on the local net, but in any other case I always try to leave the number at the beginning of the message as well as at the end; that way they can easily replay the message to get the number. I encourage all others to do the same.

Posted by: Mark on January 26, 2007 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

How to leave a phone number on a voicemail:

1) Say the number once through at moderate speed.
2) Pause.
3) Repeat the first three digits slowly.
4) Shorter pause.
5) Repeat the last four digits slowly.

If done correctly, the person should have their pen in hand by the time you get to repeating the last four digits, and the first three will have registered enough for them to go back and fill them in.

Posted by: Headline Junky on January 26, 2007 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK
One of the tasks I perform daily at our small company is pulling off the voice-mail messages each morning and returning the calls. You cannot imagine how many people leave a looong message, explicit in every detail, then forget to leave either their name or telephone number.

With the increasing prevalence of Caller ID systems, I suspect that this will increase, as people become increasingly used to not needing to leave these for many of the messages they leave.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 26, 2007 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

I always leave my number twice.
I always leave my number twice.

Posted by: Jim 7 on January 26, 2007 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, I would not mind having to rewind to hear someone's number, if it were easier to rewind to the number. Or better still, if voicemail were integrated visually to the incoming call log.

In other words; It's fucking 2007 people. Why is this still a problem? (the answer: overconsolidation of the telecommunications industry has stifled innovation to the point where an obvious fix like this does not exist. Until about June of 2007, when the iPhone ships).

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 26, 2007 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Without doubt! Unfortunately, I'm probably not as careful as I should be when leaving a message, but I do try to remember to leave my return phone number twice just in case.

Two pet peeves regarding email (beyond the obvious spam and hoaxes that are ostensibly sent in good faith):

- People who reply to my email, but exclude the original message (or relevant thread), so I have to go searching to figure out what they're replying to or talking about.

- On the other extreme is receiving a forwarded email that contains a long thread of intermediate messages containing email addresses, duplicated text and lots of other nonsense..... when only a small part of the whole thing was relevant.

I could go on..... but won't.

Posted by: Randy Gold on January 26, 2007 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

I don't sweat it. I simply assume that the incomprehensibility of a phone number left on voice mail is inversely proportionate to the desire of the caller that their call be returned.

Posted by: Disputo on January 26, 2007 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

My convention is to state my name and phone number at the outset, then the body of my message.

Posted by: Saam Barrager on January 26, 2007 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

If TR Knight spews a bigoted insult at Michael Richards, could we call the whole thing even???

Posted by: circularlogic on January 26, 2007 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

I used to hate this behavior as well. Then I realized that when someone does that - I don't have to return their call!

Posted by: pgl on January 26, 2007 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

And when you ask somebody to repeat, and their voice again trails off...

Also, people who voted for GWB not once, but twice.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 26, 2007 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

In my courier days, the dispatcher, when giving a phone number over the fleet airwaves, would jokingly adopt a radio pitchman's voice:

"The number is 555-1260...That's 555-1260", sustaining the last digit.

Always worked very well.

Posted by: fivewhistle on January 26, 2007 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

My technique: "and once again my number is blah blah blah".

Another pet peeve: cc'ing the whole damn world when sending an email. If you're not sure whether someone might want to know what your talking about then they don't.

Posted by: bloho on January 26, 2007 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: ...one of my pet peeves...

Mine, too. Leave name, date, time, and tell me your phone number... state a brief message and repeat the phone number again...slowly.

I've gotten messages... Hey, it's me. Call me back... and I wonder most of the time, who was that? Now I have caller ID but that doesn't always work with "out of the area" cellphones.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 26, 2007 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Today I received a call from a woman I know who used be an officer in the Air Force. Pilots and military people know how to give people numbers. It was wonderful to hear somebody like her. She spoke slowly, clearly and paused to allow me time to write.

Maybe there should be a class.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 26, 2007 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

One of my pet peeves is when some heartless psycho puts the toilet paper roll on backwards.

Posted by: TruthProbe on January 26, 2007 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, I stopped doing that, like the guy who had a stroke stopped smoking.

Posted by: 10% Off on January 26, 2007 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Ha!! I just had this happen to me. I got a voice mail from an old friend and he was speaking so quickly, it took me six repeats to get the number and I had to guess the final two digits. Heck, if I hadn't seen him in well over a year, I would've given up.

Even worse though, upon calling back, I was asked if I had gotten the message he had left several days ago. I knew of no such message and figured my voicemail must've eaten it. My friend then noted that he hadn't left it on my voicemail but rather, on my younger brother's MySpace page. He seemed perplexed when I laughed out loud.

Posted by: Sovay on January 26, 2007 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

My pet peeve- When someone calls me but does not leave a message because they figure that I would see the number on the Caller ID later and call them back.

Posted by: Rosali on January 26, 2007 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK


As the number is generally read back to me electronically (and displayed on the phone's screen) with my voice mail, I am more peeved by messages which do not state the call's purpose. If "call me" were enough incentive to return a call, I'd probably have answered it in the first place.

Also do not like the clumsiness of having to listen to or dismiss all messages in order to get to one I really want to hear. This really needs to be addressed by voice mail systems.


Posted by: jayarbee on January 26, 2007 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

Hi. It's me. Please send me an email as soon as possible. It's kinda urgent.

Thanx.

Posted by: anon on January 26, 2007 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

I just got back. Any messages?

Posted by: Jim 7 on January 27, 2007 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

In town for a couple of days. Give me a call at my hotel.

Posted by: me on January 27, 2007 at 2:42 AM | PERMALINK

3) Repeat the first three digits slowly.
4) Shorter pause.
5) Repeat the last four digits slowly.

But, Headline Junky, this implies that your phone number is only seven digits long. It's not; it's ten digits. Really. This is true even in states like NH, where the entire state has one area code, because if the person you're calling doesn't already know you and your number, they can't assume you're calling from across town rather than the next state over.

Posted by: Lis Carey on January 27, 2007 at 5:48 AM | PERMALINK

I am a user of voice mail for a part-time job I've had for a while.

Recently my supervisors sent out a memo telling us that people needed to speak slowly and clearly when using it, and I have, in case I was one of the offenders.

Maybe there should be a class.

Seriously, I've seen the results of the Dale Carneige course on folks who needed to improve their communication skills, and the results in one case caused one fellow(a cousins' husband) to cease a kind of mumbling that made speaking to him something of a gamble at times.


Posted by: The Dark Avenger on January 27, 2007 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

Caller ID? Not in our office. Stone tablets, hammers & chisels are in the supply room.

Posted by: coldlouie on January 27, 2007 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

I agree, Kevin. Be clear and concise in voice mails and repeat your number twice, as Jim 7 pointed out. The Gettysburg Address was just over 250 words - nothing you have to say in a voice mail requires more.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 27, 2007 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

For a good time, for a good time, call - 867-5309.

Posted by: Jennie on January 27, 2007 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK


For a good time, clickhere.

Posted by: Jennie on January 27, 2007 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Ok, my related pet peeve is that when someone calls my call and I miss their call, and that call goes right into voice mail, their phone number doesn't show up in the "recently called" list. Only people who don't leave a voice mail have their number so displayed. If I, say, happen to be in the shower when someone calls, when I get out and look at my phone I'll notice than I have a voice mail, but I don't have the option of just diailing the number back. I have to actually listen to the voice mail to get the number. I don't know if it's the phone model (Samsung) or the carrier (Cingular) but I hate this feature, because, if it's a friend or family member who has called, sometimes it's easier just to call them back rather than go through the hassle of calling voice mail.

Of course, another thing I hate is when someone calls me back after I've left them a voice mail and says: "Oh, I saw you called me but I didn't get a chance to listen to your voice mail. What's up?"

Didn't get a freaking chance? No, what you really mean is "I was too lazy".

Phew. That feels better.

Posted by: Jasper on January 27, 2007 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

Lack of voicemail manners (not etiquette - that's a French word) is another example of the decline in civility for which the liberals are responsible.

Posted by: Al on January 27, 2007 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

I go for the double repeat technique.

"Hi, my name is Paul Weimer. I work for the Federal Reserve Bank and I was calling because ...my number is 1-800-xxx-xxxx and your case ID number is yyyyyy. Once again, my name is Paul Weimer and my number is 1-800-xxx-xxxx and your case Id is yyyyyy. Look forward to hearing from you.

Posted by: Paul on January 27, 2007 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

On my voicemail, I ask callers to LEAVE THEIR NUMBER FIRST. Makes the inevitable replaying of the message faster.

Posted by: Tiger on January 27, 2007 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Some good suggestions here. One I have had success with that others might want to try: When someone leaves me an an unclear callback number because they are talking too rapidly, or leaves a 90 second rambling message that I have to wade through before they give a number, I do the following: Get in my car, drive over to their office, go into their cubicle and begin repeatedly smacking them on the scrotum with a copy of the Yellow Pages, while shouting, "WHAT'S your fucking number? WHAT'S your fucking number?" No kidding. It seems to work.

Posted by: Pat on January 27, 2007 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, what is with those salesmen, managers who have a complete misunderstanding of professional commucation when it comes to the phone system?

They always have run-on sentences, speak a hundred miles an hour and pretend that it's the clerks fault for not understanding the garble.

I could write the book on how to effectively spit on your office support team.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 27, 2007 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

I guess this guy ask an obvious question about Dick Cheney.

Is Cheney insane?

I would beg defining if someone with a criminal conscience could be label insane.

Was Al Capone insane? No, he was merely criminal since Al Capone know full well what he was doing, a selfish intent to corrupt.

Clearly Dick Cheney, George Bush and the entire Bush administration do not serve democracy but rather themselves. That is criminal intent.

The whole coming of power with the Bush office was a nothing more than a grandiose scheme of organized, syndicated criminal mob behavior that now runs the Office of the President of the US.

A Mafia style of government that has moved into conrol their own selfish whims. Bush doesn't serve the US citizens, never did and never will, nope, Bush services only a pay to play agenda that has lead conservatives to a completely different meaning. As I've said before, Bush is not a conservative, instead he liberally changes policies and dictums to his suit his own selfserving agenda. Conservatives don't like change, or, at least, they didn't use too, which begs the question, how come they let Bush make fundamental changes without batting an eye? The word conservtive has lost all meaning.

Bush/Cheney are certainly no stewards of federalism or of a strict interruption of US law - nope, indeed Bush changes the law in fundamental ways and THEN he gets upset if the court don't rule in his favor of twisting the law to suit Bush. Bush declares “judicial activism” only because the courts don't rule in Bush's favor. Truly Republican voters have forsaking God to follow Bush. Bush is nothing more than a false prophet that the bible warned about. How can one fail to know that Bush is serving himself at expense of all else, as Bush claims he is the "decider" or the "decision-maker" which is in contempt of US citizens and democracy. The Declaration of Independence says that only US citizens are the deciders and decision-makers and NOT Bush, least Bush belives himself to king, and the GOP appear only to wish for the one rule of king. Republicans are not conservative, they have turned into liberals.

Because Bush liberally spends money.
Bush liberally makes up laws
Bush liberally defies the will of a majority of US citizens.

Where is the conservative nature of Bush? The GOP are steadfastly aiding a liberal Prez and VP.


Posted by: Cheryl on January 27, 2007 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

I do the following: Get in my car, drive over to their office, go into their cubicle and begin repeatedly smacking them on the scrotum with a copy of the Yellow Pages, while shouting, "WHAT'S your fucking number? WHAT'S your fucking number?" No kidding. It seems to work.

I beg to differ. There is little evidence that scrotum-bashing produces reliable telephone numbers. It is difficult to judge the reliability of the numbers produced by this practice unless you are bashing the scrotums in the presence of their owner's phones in order to verify the information - with the caveat that the bashed have been known to faint before a reliable match is made. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence, however, that it is a good method to get people to shout out false numbers.

Posted by: don't tread on January 27, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

It's not voice mail, but my favorite support email was always along these lines:

I can send email, but I cannot receive it. I am mailing you from a random hotmail or yahoo account with an ID that bears absolutely no relationship to my name. I will not give you my number, but you must call me immediately.

I will send a variation on this email once an hour, becoming increasingly angry that you have not called me.

Posted by: mwg on January 27, 2007 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

My v-mail peeve: Having to listen to some one's 20 seconds of dumb-assed music, barely intelligible, before their menu is read.

I often start my message with, "Lose the #@&* music, okay?"

Posted by: Keith G on January 27, 2007 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, voice training and its neglect in modern day America.

People are taught personal hygiene, what clothes to wear, what hairstyle works for them, by the always seem to neglect the voice.

At the most basic level - why even bother to open your mouth if you cannot be understood?

As someone said above - there oughta be a class and people oughta take it.

In the meantime if I don't understand what you are saying and why it is my best interest to 'call you' then you go to the "c" priority list and you'll miss out on hearing from me.

Posted by: Tripp on January 27, 2007 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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