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Thursday, July 03, 2008

To Leave a Callback Number, Press 5...

Quick question, if you called me and my voicemail picked up, and all you heard was, "Hey this is Avish, leave a message," and then a beep, would you know what to do?

OF COURSE!!

So why is, why oh why is it, that so many voicemail systems automatically tack on the pre-recorded voice saying, "at the tone, please record your message. When you have finished recording, you may hang up, or press 1 for more options." *pause* "To leave a callback number, press 5." "To order takeout Chinese, press 9" Beep. (ok, the last one may not be real, but its coming...)

I can't explain it. Maybe the voicemail companies are afraid that someone will call and think, "well, Avish said to leave a message, but he's not an official representative of the phone company. Maybe I should wait for instructions from someone who's in charge."

Or perhaps there is a fear that Encino Man will thaw out, try to call someone, get sent to voicemail, and then be totally confused. "Ugh. What Encino Man do now after strange sounding beep??"

When answering machines first got popular in the U.S., I remember relatives from India calling, getting the machine, then getting really confused because they heard my parents' voices but didn't know why they weren't responding. They didn't have answering machines in India at that point, so it was understandable.

That was 20 years ago! Do we really need an an automated message *after our own message* saying, "at the tone, please record your...blah blah blah"?? At this point, I would think that if you are the type of person who needs the automated voice to explain the whole "voicemail messaging thing," then you probably aren't qualified to be making a call or even touching a phone. Put it down, and walk slowly away.

And really, it's the *pause* before the "to leave a callback number, press 5" That pause lulls you into the sense that ok, here comes the beep, only to hoodwink you with more inane messages. Every time!

I may be technologically behind. I would like to hear from people who press 5 to leave a callback number. I certainly never have, nor do I know anyone who has. But maybe there is a huge cadre of people running out pushing "5" every time they leave a voicemail.

You know, I think next time I call I am going to start hitting "1" for options and "5" to leave a callback number. Just because. I'm also going to change my outgoing voicemail to be a recording of the woman saying, "at the tone, please record your message. When you have finished recording, you may hang up, or press 1 for more options." *pause* "To leave a callback number, press 5." Beep.

That'll learn 'em. Yup, that'll learn 'em good.

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