I heard it, but it didn’t make any sense. Noise. Music. Shrill, loud music. Mozart. What does Mozart have against me? I never did anything to him …

fruitfly magazine telephone solicitationOh. It’s the telephone. Someone — maybe something — is calling. As the fumes clear my brain, I pick up the receiver, realize it’s an 800 number. No one in my world has an 800 number so I press “on” then “off” and the phone goes quiet.

I only answer calls from people with names or real numbers. Or which come from a number that looks like a real person’s number. No 800 numbers because they are not people. Most of the time, these calls are recordings. At best, they are hired guns trying to get my money.

I know everyone’s got to make a living, but you aren’t going to make it calling me. If I could reach through the receiver and get to a person on the other end, I would choke the life out of him or her. Or make my best effort.

These calls come in by the dozens. I don’t know how exactly the find me, but they do. My favorite recent one was a recorded message that started with “We are calling in response to your inquiry about a television advertisement for a back brace.”


Speechless, I stared at the receiver. Then I pressed the off button. I have never called in response to any television advertisement for anything. Not even once in my entire life.

So I was awake. Fortunately, it was already 10 in the morning and I would be getting up around now anyhow. Though just once, I would like to sleep in and not be jarred out of a dream by the telephone. It turns out you can only program the ringer to not ring between the hours of 11 pm and 9:30 am. After that, you’re on your own.

In case you didn’t know it, putting yourself on a “Do Not Call” list is the perfect way to distribute your phone number to organizations who sell data to telephone solicitation spammers.

I cannot stop the calls. All I can do is turn them off when they come. Too many mornings are the same, beginning with a ringing phone … followed by a day peppered with similar calls. Maybe that’s just life in the no-privacy, let-it-all-hang-out connected world.

I have only one question: Do these recorded calls actually earn money for anyone? Does someone actually buy a product because a recording called them?

Categories: Communications, Daily Prompt, Humor

Tags: , , , , , , ,

38 replies

  1. The world could be a peaceful place except for the robo calls and the political calls. I never really understood the nature of political campaigns before living full time in NH.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judy I’ve lived here all my life and still don’t understand any of it. Most of it is hyperbole, much of it is outright lies, much of it is “who my daddy was” and “how much money I am willing to spread around to get this state on my side…”

      I hang up on the pollsters, the survey takers, the breathless Young Republicans, and mostly hunker down and wait for it to be over.


    • Oh, right. You are in political open season central. Massachusetts is so “blue state” that they don’t even bother to campaign here for national elections. Local elections though are something else. For them, they are just trying to get people to go out and vote.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The last time I changed my cell number they gave me the number of a previous owner who had bill collectors chasing her. The calls went on for MONTHS .. MONTHS. I couldn’t stop them. Finally I just stopped carrying my cell. I suppose I could have asked for new number, but you know what? I don’t miss it.
    Unless I’m looking for a job I don’t need a phone.
    I wonder if those fools are still trying to get hold of that gal?


    • I had that happen with our phone number when we first moved here. Eventually, we got rid of that phone. I leave my cell off most of the time. I really don’t want the calls and I only use it emergencies anyhow. I’m beginning to really hate ALL telephones.


  3. I seldom answer calls from unknown numbers, but today, feeling game, I answered and the caller called me Mark and claimed to be “your son”. Nice try, dumbass!
    We get calls from fax machines daily. I never do business with people who bug me by phone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I got a weird call like that, someone telling me she was my friend, Michelle. “Who?” “Michelle.” “I don’t know anyone by that name,” and when she started to argue with me, I hung up. That was one of the last times I tried to answer one of these calls. Now, they’ve got a NEW trick where the number on caller ID is my own number. Fortunately, I know I’m not calling me. But it’s an interesting trick. We no longer have a fax machine. Too many junk faxes.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sometimes those are, truly, wrong numbers. Easy enough to transpose two numbers on a touch pad, and it happens infrequently enough that I dont worry about it. Occasionally people even mess up the area code, which can get expensive.
        I just say no one here by that name, sorry, and they’re gone. Most times the arguers (“are you SURE”) are very young, and of course never misdial…

        My favorite was a local “heavy breather” who had been making the rounds (alphabetically, I suspect, judging from the people I knew that he called) and one night he finally got to me, o boy o boy, and he started his “what are you wearing I can see you, you know” (fat chance of that, mister) and I said, “oh wait, you need to talk to my husband, wait a minute”. Click.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I got harassing heavy breathing calls briefly.. Garry took care of that in a big hurry. He explained the sentence, the likely site of imprisonment, and what would happen in prison. There was no rerun.

          Wrong numbers are easy because they are real numbers, real people, and unless it’s a little kid playing with the phone, easy to say “Sorry, wrong number.” The problem is the vast number of automatic dialers used by scammers, survey takers, and fake charities.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. You need a new phone. I can turn off the ringer any time I want. And I can also block numbers I don’t recognize. So everytime I get an 800 number, I block it. Today I got a call from Bermuda. They did not leave a message so I blocked the number. But maybe I won a vacation there?


    • This IS a new phone. I can turn off the ringer entirely, but I wanted to just turn it off during hours I was sleeping. What I really want is to turn off those endless “generated” recorded messages.

      These recorded messages never come from the same number twice, so you can block a million of them, but there are always a million more. That’s one of many things that makes them incredibly annoying.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m the same with morning calls that disturb my sleep. I rarely get them, but the last time was just after 9 a.m. and I rushed to the phone without my glasses because I was waiting for a doctor’s referral. No glasses= blind. Couldn’t see the number and picked up the receiver. Automated message. Holy moly! One of the worst ways to wake up, other than “Fire!” Ha ha!


  6. I just ignore these calls and Google the number. If it’s for realsies, I know to answer it next time. It never is, though.


  7. I’ve heard many of these scammers run multiple lines dialing random numbers all day long. It used to be funny listening to them on my voice mail… especially the calls that go straight to hold when you pick up, so when the “next available representative” finally picks up the phone, they have no idea they are talking to a computer themselves (serves them right!)…

    And in clearing out my voicemail backlog the other day to get to a message left by my doctor’s office, I noticed it’s obviously election season again (Is it ever NOT election season?) by the number of paid political solicitations I had to skip over…


    • That’s why I pick them up and turn them off. I don’t want them to get to voice mail. And I don’t want to talk to them. There’s never anyone there anyhow and I sometimes wonder if these are scammers trying to make sure they’ve got a real number so they can further annoy you.


  8. There’s a particular scam out there were they tell you they can get you a better interest rate for you your credit card debt. It is automated up to here. If you are interested you are supposed to punch in a #1. Then someone actually starts talking. They determine your credit card company, then your expiry date. To apply it to your card they then need to know the last few numbers of your card. To verify it all they will need the three digit security number on the back of the card. Bingo, once they have all that they can make a lot of money with that information.


  9. Mr. Swiss usually blahs something about I am not interested and hangs up. i have a different approach. I am isolated, have no-one to talk to except for Mr. Swiss and Tabby the cat and probably need conversation, so I engage them in conversation. As soon as I tell them how old I am they hang up or say a quick goodbye. Was it something I said?

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Lately ive noticed a LOT of the political calls are not for the man of the house, but the woman, by name. They do their homework. The voice at the other end is modulated, young but mature, slightly high pitched but not screechy. Warm. You could have girldrinks with that voice. She wants to just (woman to woman. you know.) ask me a few short questions about the republican candidates.


    Some times I tell em I’m a democrat.


    • They ask if I’m willing to answer a few questions. If I’m feeling playful, I ask how much they are prepared to pay me for the work. Otherwise, I say NO and hang up. Or just hang up. I’m beginning to really hate the phone. ALL phones.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We were brought up in the generation of polite. Never hang up on a caller. I feel utterly devilish now hanging up on a caller who just wants to tell me how wonderful their candidate is. They get to the word survey and Im gone.
        I may annoy the next one by telling her Im a Marxist and am planning to vote for Stalin. Considering the age of these kids (I’m thinking Young Republicans), they may have to look up Stalin AND Marxism.


  11. I have my ringer set to vibrate between nine pm and nine am… I think I can set it to not ring any time, but it’s an app that I downloaded, and I get up at nine am anyway. Yep, I just checked… it’s any time of the day or nigh. If I don’t recognize the name, I just don’t answer the phone, so we’re the same in that.


    • Mine is programmable, but the “no ring” program maxes out as 10pm through 9:30AM. Since we rarely go to be until after midnight and I don’t willingly get up until after 10, that’s not exactly what I want … but I also don’t want to turn it off entirely. There ARE emergencies and some calls ARE important. Unfortunately, important and urgent is rare … the rest are spam and scam.


  12. One reason I use a cell phone exclusively for my personal contact is that it drastically has cut down on my junk calls. I only get a handful a year. Those that do get through are trying to sell me some sexual enhancement medication or device. Yeah, Right! I too try to screen most of my calls but I’ve moved and all sorts of folks I haven’t heard from in years are calling. Some of them are my new doctors, nurses, mechanics, barbers or other new contacts. I’ll weed them out as time goes by.

    Hang in there Marilyn, there is help for your back out there, just not at the end of that phone line.


  13. Here the favourite time to cold call is around 6 PM. Just as you are sitting down for a meal. I think they hope you will agree to their spiel just to get rid of them. All it does it make me press the off button.


  14. The only org. I get these calls from in Mexico is the telephone company!!! They seem to have a monopoly on nonsolicited phone calls. My friends don’t even call anymore as they know if I’m home I’ll be on the computer and if I’m not, chances are I won’t notice the red light on the answering machine for weeks. I rarely use the phone anymore.


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