I remember the first answering machine I ever saw. My uncle bought it for my grandma one Christmas in the early 80s. It was the kind that was huge, had a plastic “wood grain” finish, and housed two cassette tapes — one for the outgoing message and one for the incoming messages.
Nowadays, of course, most phones have digital voicemail. Even the answering machines that are left are digital now. The few that aren’t have only one tape, and it’s one of those micro-cassettes, and those are generally only found at thrift stores and yard sales. My point is that the widespread use of machines to take telephone messages has been around for decades.
That being said, my pet peeve today is when people refuse to utilize them when they call me. Everyone who knows me well, knows my position on this. I refuse to be a slave to caller ID and spend time scrolling through the phone every time I come home only to guess who each number might belong to and what they want. The entire reason I have an answering machine is to save me from having to do that.
Another reason I have an answering machine is that I work from home. My machine has the option to push lines one through four, depending if a person wants to leave a message for my business or for one of the occupants of my house. I run a photography studio, so there’s a good chance that I’m either with a client or I’m busy Photoshopping and can’t be bothered. When I’m not doing either of these things, I can almost always be found writing or editing something I’ve written.
Yet, despite my complaints, my friends and family frequently ignore my request, and they call and hang up, then call again, because they assume I’ll eventually answer the phone that way. Not gonna happen, people! Yes, it is a huge pet peeve of mine when people refuse to leave a message when they call. And an even larger pet peeve when they call back repeatedly, expecting me to be available if only the phone rings longer when they never even left one message in the first place.
Call once. Leave a message. Do not be vague. Be detailed with the message. Whether you think so or not, I have a busy schedule, and there’s rarely a time that I leave my home that I don’t have messages to sort through. Sometimes business clients call, and I have to call them back. Sometimes bill collectors call, and I have to deal with them. Sometimes photography vendors call, and I might want to respond to them. So after all that, hearing a dozen hang-ups that leave a loud and annoying buzzing sound on my answering machine, and a few “It’s me; call me back” messages with no further explanation, I’m sorry, but it doesn’t sound important, so I’ll probably not call you back. When you do that, it just makes me think you must want something from me. If you’re calling just to check in and see how I’m doing, then say so. Not only will it make me feel good, but it’ll also make me think a lot more highly of you.
And while I’m on the subject, I also can’t stand when I call someone and leave a detailed message, then they call me back and ask what I wanted. I tell them I left everything on their voicemail, and they respond by telling me that they didn’t listen to it, but only checked their caller ID and noticed I called.
Okay, if that’s the case, there’s almost always an option to turn your voicemail off. Better yet, say so on your outgoing message, and tell me not to bother wasting my time, but that your phone has most certainly captured my telephone number and you’ll call me later to discuss whatever it was I called you about.
I guess what all this boils down to, is that I consider my time valuable, and I don’t want to waste it either by guessing who called me and why, or by calling other people and doing as their voicemail instructs and taking the time to leave them a message that they never listen to.
Okay, I’m done with my rant. At the sound of the tone, please leave me a message. BEEP!
So do hang up calls annoy you as much as they do me? Or are you one of the people who boycott leaving messages? Are you one of those people who never actually listen to their messages and rely solely on caller ID? Do you remember the answering machines with the dual cassette tapes and fake wood grain finish?