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Our Phone Culture Needs Fixing January 9, 2016

Posted by Peter Varhol in Technology and Culture.

I have a home landline that begins with the local exchange 888.

This has caused years of consternation for me. 888, is of course, also one of the toll-free dials.  In particular, the phone and Internet company TDS has a toll-free technical support line that shares the same first seven digits with my local exchange number.

So I get several dozen calls a year from people within my state who believe they are calling the TDS technical support number.

Why is this happening? The explanation is quite simple, although it took me a while to figure out.  They are calling from their landline, and are not prefacing the number with 1.

That is cell phone culture. You don’t have to dial 1 on a cell phone in order to access a toll-free number.  You do have to do so on a landline.  It is amazing how many people have forgotten this simple fact.

It’s gotten bad enough so that I rarely answer this phone. When I do answer it, people get indignant and even obnoxious when I explain they have called a private residence.  They insist that I must be TDS, and am simply not inclined to provide them with customer service.  Many call multiple times, getting more obnoxious with each successive call.

And while I can understand how this happens, I have no sympathy for the people who use cell phone behavior with their landlines. I have had this number for over 20 years, and I am not about to change it.

Please, people. Don’t be so stupid.  I dislike calling people stupid, because I am subject to my own slips of sentience.  But I have been subject to this harassment for long enough.



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