Friday, March 23, 2012

I'll ask the questions around here.

I'm sitting here, minding my own beeswax, despite how dangerous an activity that is in the city, when my cellie out on the dining room table starts ringing, so I ran to get it:
Phone: *ring, ring*

Me: "Hello?"

Caller: "..."

Me: "Hello?"

Caller: "Who is this?"
This is who is answering the phone, is who this is. Perhaps if you told me who you thought this would be, I could help you out.

Why is it so difficult to find a person with better manners than your average barnyard animal these days? Not only are these yayhoos apparently unable to practice or even spell "etiquette", they couldn't even tell you what it was.

On a more upbeat note, it seems to have stopped raining for the nonce and the friendly kid manning the RoboCheckout at the local grocery store commented on my INGO hat, saying "Wow, I've never met another INGO member in here before!" so that was kinda cool.


Ken said...

The answer is "Who wants to know?"

Robert McDonald said...

I HATE that! My usual response is, "You called me, Idiot, you should already know."

Rabbit said...

Wow. I just had the same caller. Was yours Indian (dots, not feathers)?

My response was "Who should this be?".

Laughingdog said...

I ordered another 4000 lead bullets from GA Arms the other day, and they were delivered yesterday.

As the UPS guy handed them to me, he said "I'm assuming these are bullets. It's nice to meet another reloader."

I almost dropped the box in shock right there. That was even more unexpected than having my hand surgeon, after I pushed back surgery until after the NC Sectional, asking what I shoot. When I said "handguns", he said "I figured that. What kind? Glocks, 1911, wheelgun?".

Laughingdog said...

The answer is "Who wants to know?"

or "That depends. How well did you know the person you were trying to call?"

Stuart the Viking said...

My default answer to that is:

"This is me... Is that you?"


Anonymous said...

My grandmother had what I thought was the perfect response to this type of caller:

Caller (quite rudely): "Who is this!!!?"

Grandmother: (in her best victorian lady voice) "Why, I have no idea."

And then she hung up.

We grandkids looked at her as tho she did something wrong by hanging up, and she responded "Well, dear, it *is* the truth. I have no idea who he is."

And then she gave one of her rare, wry smiles with a twinkle in her eye.

Unknown said...

I've had callers (yes, plural, not just one) even dumber than that.

I usually answer my home phone with my name, just like I do at the office, and the first words I hear from them are "May I please speak to (my name)?"

Was your hearing aid turned off? Are you unable to process information given to you?

Dim wits.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Caller: "Who is this?"

Tam: "No, who is speaking?"

Caller: "This is Mrs. Blaumen."

Tam: "NO! When I asked 'who is speaking' it was I that was asking so I was doing the speaking. Your answer should have been 'You!' or 'Tam!'. Please accept this Chia Pet condolence prize and thanks for playing. You were great."

Ruth said...

I had an older lady who apparently kept getting my number mixed up with someone elses call me several times. I'd not have minded so much except her phone manners were just like that callers. Seriously, I've dialed a wrong number, it happens, and I say "I'm sorry I think I have a wrong number I was looking for X" How hard is that??

Stuart the Viking said...

Years ago, due to a misprint, a friend of mine's phone number was featured in huge letters in a whole page add in the yellow pages as the number for a local pizza place.

The calls started rolling in. So, being a teenager, he decided to have some fun and started taking orders, then calling the pizza place's real number and relaying them... only sometimes he would get it wrong... OOPS!

He took it too far one day and relayed a single pizza order as twenty pizzas and the place (that up until this point hadn't caught on yet) figured it out... And showed up at his door, cops in tow.

He didn't end up getting into too much legal trouble because they couldn't figure out what exactly to charge him with, but boy was his dad PISSED.


Tirno said...

I had one of these once. It went like this.

Me: LAST_NAME, here.

(Incidentally, I don't say "hello" as robocallers can recognize that word and start trying to connect me to a meat-bot.)

Gal: (pause) Do you guys still live there?

Me: (boggle slightly) Well, yes, I suppose we do.

Gal: Well, you don't have to be rude about it!

(If you didn't know Hanscom AFB was near Boston... you could guess by now, right?)

Me: I'm sorry, let me start again: Hanscom Air Force Base, ESC/ACW detachment 1, Captain LAST_NAME speaking, this line is not secure, how may I help you?

Gal: *CLICK*

I did the last bit once to a sales call I identified in time by caller ID. I got a worried voice on the other end that said, "Err... is this a business?" to which I replied in a very clear voice, "This is an Air Force Base." Which was true... I was living in base housing. "We'll take you off the list! *click*"

Robert said...

Was it male or female? If female, they usually are misdialing their husband or boyfriends cell phone and their brain goes right into "WHO IS THIS!?!?!" mode without skipping a beat if a female voice picks up the phone.

karrde said...


did he say something like "My name is INGO Montoya..." ?

ZerCool said...

I misdialed MrsZ this past weekend. A female voice that wasn't her answered the phone, and I said, "Is MrsZ there?" ... long pause ...
... I glanced at the screen on my phone and noted the transposed digit, and brought the phone back to my ear in time to hear, "... trying to reach?"

"Sorry, I dialed the wrong number! *click*"

Anonymous said...

All substances are water soluble. eventually.

BGMiller said...

Heh, I can play this game.

My favorite is only rolled out during election time and I've only gotten a good hard bite once but....

It should be noted that the land line is barely used. Family and friends know to use my cell so any incoming call to the land line has to be some sort of sales pitch.


Me: Local County Communist Party. How can I help you comrade?

Campaign Volunteer (local candidate for recorder or somesuch: Ummmmmmm.......... Is this a private business?

Me: Ummm....Well, it really belongs to the people. Can I help you?

CV: (Forging ahead with determination) My name is Jane Derp and I'm calling on behalf of the Local County Major Party and

Me: OH! Would you like some information?

CV: Uhh... wait... I....

Me: So where are you calling from? Downtown right? Corner of Number and Cross street?

CV: Uh... yeah... see I'm trying to...

Me: (Not letting the poor dear complete a thought, ain't I a stinker?) Okay, I know where that is. I'll have an information packet mailed out right away. Would you like a yard sign?

CV: Uhhhhhhh..... I....

Me: Great, thanks for calling.


Now comes the evil bit.
I knew the address for the local party office she was calling from. So I went online to the Socialist Party USA's website and ordered all the literature I could to be mailed to the party office attention Jane Derp.

And to add to my joy a couple of weeks later I heard from a friend of a friend that was working the phone bank one day a week or so later when a large envelope was delivered containing socialist literature. Apparently Jane Derp was moved to yard sign duty or something.

Ahhhh..... and my chance approaches again soon...


cj said...

My best was answering the phone to a tirade about 'who did I think I was', and many other things...I really didn't pay much attention, but this guy was PISSED. He, fortunately, asked what I had to say for myself, to which I responded, "I think you've got a wrong number?"

The other one that boggles my mind is the messages on my answering machine, despite it clearly announcing the number they've reached. There is, sadly, someone out there who never knows that they where the wood lives for the fireplace in the cabin they're borrowing, and presumably spent a few cold winter nights with no heat.

Oh, and Sarah, Margaret will never be calling you back, and I can't let you know since you didn't leave a number.

Goober said...

The entire concept of having a stranger ring a bell at you in your personal space, and expect you to drop whatever you are doing that instant and come talk to them would have been very odd to our GreatGrandparents.

In fact, it seems very odd to me at this very moment, now that I think about it.

Ygolonac said...


Yeah, I guess the robodialers can't quite identify me as a human. I'm fair, I give 'em a whole three seconds of dead air before hanging up.

Then again, I have nearly a full minute of smartass commentary as a voicemail message ("This is voicemail, I can't hear you at all, this is not Toys 'r' Us or Pacific Petroleum, leave a message and if I feel like it I'll replay..." - the two businesses were one digit off my phone number for quite some time), and I only answer the phone if it's late enough to be a known human calling for good reason, if I'm actually expecting a call, or if I have a gut feel it might be important. (Gut feel is running 35% accuracy over 10+ years.)

I also have no cellphone, which is downright stunning to several goons of my acquaintance. I've had *need* of a cellphone roughly... twice, over the past seven or so years I've thought about getting one.

Hmmm. I've actually had more need of a cellphone than I have a concealed handgun. Of course, the *downsides* of the phone far outweigh even my doublestack .45 1911...

Ygolonac said...

Awww, it dropped all my sound effects:



dead silence

dead silence

dead silence


(Follwed by "Yeah..." and the rest of my blathering)

Hmmm, maybe it doesn't like angle-brackets used in that manner.

doubletrouble said...

Years ago my aged aunt, a stickler for manners, would reply to the "Who's this?" question with, "I don't know, I can't see you!"

mariner said...

It's interesting how our definition of "good manners" has changed in the last 50 years.

I remember being taught to answer the phone, "Good morning/afternoon/evening, xxx residence, yyy speaking."

Old NFO said...

My usual response is, "I dunno, who's THIS???" :-)

Unknown said...

The kind of wrong number calls one can expect in rural Indiana...

Chris said...

I remember hearing some guy who recorded himself answering the phone to wrong number callers with several great shticks. In one, he pretended to be a homicide detective investigating the murder of the person supposedly being called by the wrong-number-dialer. It was an evil riot.

Roberta X said...

I frequently answer the telephone with the first thing that comes to mind, whatever it is. If it's a friend, they know I do that. If it isn't, well -- they called me; they get what they get.

Drang said...

ME: "S3, xxth MI BN, SFC Drang, this is an unsecured line"
CALLER: "Hi, this is Ralph, would you be interested in a subscription to Playboy?"
ME: "I don;t think so."

Old Radar Tech said...

I once dialed a wrong nunber (back when phones had dials) trying to call a buddy of mine.
I got a gas station way outside of town, but they just said "Hello?"
When I asked if my buddy was there (still thinking I had reached his house) there was a long pause and then "Hang on, I'll get him".
He was out at the pump filling up.

Anonymous said...

RE: Etiquette, civility and politeness

One of my pleasures in life in O'Brien's Aubrey / Maturin series, especially the audiobooks read by Patrick Tull. One thing that I find oddly pleasing about them is the way that the characters speak to each other, even outside the formal atmosphere of the quarterdeck. It's, "How do you do?", not "Whazzup?" It's, "May I name my particular friend, Dil", not "This is Dil." When they write to each other, it's "My dear Stephen" and "Your humble servant" or "Your devoted friend", not "Hey" and "LOL!" and "Later".

But I guess I'm just an old fuddy-duddy.

There's a certain gra

Chris said...

I N G and O
I N G and O
I N G and O
And INGO is her tribe-o!
Sat morning earworm. Sing it all day. :-)


Critter said...

my usual respone to "Who is this?" is "that depends, who are you?" it usually gets silence, and if they actually have business they might get a little huffy. oh well, ya can't please everyone.

my voice mail message is simply: "State your business." it keeps meesages to a mininum.

telemarketers, although a dying breed can be very annoying. back when i had a land line and the number was generally known i got a lot of these, condos for some reason. i found that if i showed interest they would natter on and i would begin to breathe heavily: :"mmmm....tell me about your are so hot...ooooh...tell me about" etc. usually i didn't get a second call from that source.

Mark Alger said...

My outmessage on VM is simple:

"If you want to speak to a person later, you need to speak to the machine now."

Mariner: I was taught something the like 40+ years ago as well. Problem is, the reasons for masking a residential telephone presence have metastasized in the interval. It's no longer prudent to announce your name or any other identifiers that could be used by a social-engineering miscreant.

Sometimes, I wonder if it's even wise to answer the phone at all.

In any case, I take the view that the caller has intruded into MY space and should be prepared to take what he gets, including my gratuitous and puerile rudeness.


Bruce H. said...

I don't answer the phone unless I'm expecting a call from someone I want to talk to.

My answering machine message is "You've reached [area code and number]. Record after the beep." More than 90% of the callers who hang on long enough to start the answering machine don't leave a message. Another large number hang up before the machine kicks in.

Kristophr said...


Just buy a trac-fone or some other disposable phone, and put a one year card on it.

Use it for emergencies, and never give out the number, especially to AAA during a road call, since they sell it immediately ( I got call spam while I was waiting for the tow! ).

When it is a year old, leave it on a park bench, and buy another one for $20 + the 1 year card.

Bram said...

Caller: "Who is this?"

Dial Tone...

Sentenza said...

I got one once. I remember it because it was someone looking for someone that I didn't know, had no clue who it was.

And then at the end of the phone call, the caller had the gall to ask me if I had some idea of how to get ahold of said person. Which was mildly frustrating.

Anonymous said...


That's what my dad did.

Another one of his favorites was:

{Ring, ring}

"Hello, Colonel R___'s quarters, how may I help you?"

"Um. . . can I talk to {insert name of family member here}?"

"Yes." {Click}

(Dad was REAL big on the difference between "can" and "may". Also on the obligation of the caller to identify themselves upfront.)


Hat Trick said...

My most memorable phone mixup was in college around Valentine's day. I answered the phone one evening and a very sultry female voice said "Thank you for the roses and the hot tub and back rub idea sounds great." It was my roommate's girlfriend and she hadn't noticed the difference in our voices. I answered "Sounds like fun but I'm not . I'll tell him you called"

Roommate got very red when I asked him about hot tubs and back rubs.