Are you deaf or just stupid???

OK, so my wife and I recently moved into our new home together. Since our house is in the same town where she had been living for the last year, we had her phone number transferred to the house. Which is to say that nobody else has had this number other than my wife for over a year.

At the new house, I programmed the answering machine with the following message:

A couple of weeks ago I got home and found a message similar to the following on the machine:

[I called the number the secretary left, but since it was after 5:00 I had to leave a message on their machine.]

A few days later, I got another message along the lines of the following:

[I also called that number back, but after getting a recorded message that “All of our customer representiatives are busy. Please hold for the next available representative,” I hung up.]

What the hell is wrong with these people? I don’t feel like mentioning my last name here in this thread, but I guarantee you that it is not even remotely similar to “Anderson” or “Gonzoles.” Do these people even bother to listen to the outgoing message on the machine to verify that they have the right number, or are they just too stupid to realize they’ve dialed incorrectly? If the phone message states that you haven’t reached the party you are trying to reach, hang up and try again, morons!

Somewhere out there is a poor girl who might have missed her surgery and a guy who was unable to purchase his house. And that pisses me off much more than anything else.



Sounds like the callers are just trying to cover their asses by leaving a message even though they probably realize it’s a wrong number. It’s a shame about the people who missed their calls, though.

I’m usually too preoccupied to catch someone’s name when they first call. Yesterday, my boss got a call from the governor’s wife, and I didn’t realize it until I asked her to spell her name. :smack:

So to answer your question, I’m going to have to go with “just stupid.”

Munch: Well, at least you’ve got the excuse that you weren’t expecting the call. When you call somebody else, however, you know who you are expecting to answer.

It’s not quite as annoying as the behavior described in my OP, but I also don’t understand people who, after I answer the phone by saying, “Hello, this is Barry” respond by saying, “Yes, is Barry there?”


Its hard to tell without hearing the message. I’m going to presume that you spoke slowly and enunciated the words, so that person (the caller) must be an idiot.

I should mention that I’ve called answering machines (not yours, of course) where names have been spoken faster than the bids called by a farm auctioneer who wants to finish quickly to get to a restroom. Personally, I don’t understand the logic behind rushing a name on an out going message. (/hijack)

Well, my phone number is one digit away from a popular golf course round these parts and despite the fact that my answer phone says:
“Hi, it’s <name> here, leave me a message and I’ll get back to you. Thanks.”
Rather than
“This is The XXX Golf Club, please leave a message”

I have at least five messages on my machine every month, reserving tee times for Bill or Peadar or whoever. I feel a bit sorry for them, sometimes, arriving at the course with no reservation. Surely the answering machine of a professional outfit would have the name of the company in its message?

The best one of all, though was this delightful man:

Me : Hello?
Him: Four ball at ten tomorrow morning. McKenna.
Me : Sorry, you’ve got the wrong number
Him: Don’t be so fucking stupid, woman.
Me : Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

In his case, I’m definitely going with stupid. At the very least.

In most cases, though, at best it’s careless and at worst it’s bone idle and unprofessional.

Good presumption. I am a semi-professional classical singer and speak very clearly in my best “radio announcer” voice.


At least they left a number. I usually get obviously important messages, but I can’t even call them back to tell them they got the wrong number. I always wonder about those future conversations- “Why didn’t you call me back?” “Because you never called me.” “Yes, I did.” “No, you didn’t!”

Is it “Pastraqualmowitz”?

The fact that one name is on the answering machine doesn’t mean that the number is not a contact number for another person. I have to call people all the time who have left as their contact number their mother or their cousin or their neighbor. So the answering machine says that I’ve reached Billy and Judy Smith and I leave a message for Suzie Blank because it’s the only number I have for her. I also always include in my message that I am calling because Suzie left that number for me as her contact.

So, to answer your question, I am neither deaf nor stupid and neither necessarily are the people leaving your messages.

On my answering machine, I don’t give our names, but I begin by saying “You have reached <my phone number>…” It doesn’t make any difference - I’ve still gotten messages for other people. I honestly believe that some people don’t listen to the messages when they get a machine - they’re just waiting for the beep.

A doctor printed up some prescription pads with my work number instead of hers. She caught the mistake and got them reprinted, but not before she’d given some of them out. I got calls from pharmacies, and I would let them know it was a wrong number and give them the right number to call. But when I was out of the office, I would get messages from pharmacists with all kinds of personal information–people’s birthdates, social security numbers, and lists of all the medications they’re taking. It’s very obvious from our voicemail message that THIS IS NOT A DOCTOR’S OFFICE! So why would anyone leave a message with so much personal information?


Ha! I’ll go you one better. I took a “live” call from a woman who clearly heard me tell her 4 freaking times that the person she was calling was not at this number, but who was insistent that I must be wrong…

ME: Goodmorning, AMS, this is Jill.
DUMBFUCK: Is Jerome Arnold there, please?
ME: I’m sorry, you have the wrong number.
DUMBFUCK: There’s no one there named Jerome Arnold?
ME: No there’s not. You have a wrong number.
DUMBFUCK: Is this AMS (full company name)?
ME: You have the wrong AMS – there’s no one here by that name.
DUMBFUCK: Is this a big corporation with a bunch of…
ME: No. This is a privately owned company with one owner and myself. You Have The Wrong Number!
DUBMFUCK: And there’s no one there named Jerome Arnold?
ME: No, there is NOT. You HAVE the WRONG number! <CLICK>

So you see, it might not be that they’re deaf or stupid, they might just be WILLFUL and simply think you’re a LIAR. Perhaps you ought to change your outgoing greeting to, “Hello, this is Barry and Wife’s Name. Seriously. That’s who we are. We’re not lying to you. Barry and Wife’s name. If you still don’t believe us, you’re welcome to leave a message for someone other than Barry and Wife’s Name, but rest assured they won’t get it, so it’ll be a bigass waste of time. Have a nice day!”


I had a similar experience a few years ago with a Little Old Lady who was apparently convinced that I was lying:

Ring, Ring!

ME: Hello, this is Barry.
LOL: Is James there.
ME: I’m sorry, there’s no James here. You must have a wrong number.
LOL: No, I don’t. Let me talk to James.
ME: Ma’am, I’ve had this number for 7 years, and I can assure you that there is no James at this number.
LOL: Yes, there is. Let me speak to him.
ME: Why don’t you tell me the number you think you called, just in case you misdialed.
LOL: I didn’t misdial. I know that this is James’s number.
ME: Ma’am, please just tell me the number you think you called.
LOL: Why should I tell you the number?
ME: OK, then let me tell you that the number you called is --****.
LOL: No it isn’t.
ME: Good bye.

[30 seconds later]

Ring, Ring!

ME: Hello, this is Barry.
LOL: Let me talk to James. I know he’s there.
ME: Good bye!

[30 seconds later]

Ring, Ring!

[This time I let the machine answer the phone]

MACHINE: Hello, this is Barry’s answering machine. He can’t come to the phone right now, but if you leave your name and phone number and a brief message I’ll make sure he calls you back as soon as he gets in.
LOL: click

The woman called my phone two more times in a row before giving up for the night. Then she called me again the next day, and the next. I finally just let me answering machine pick up all the time, even when I was home, until she finally gave up a couple of weeks later.

Another time, I got a call in French asking for somebody with a French name. I tried to explain that (a) nobody lived here by that name and (b) I didn’t speak French. Unfortunately, the caller didn’t speak English and couldn’t understand me. So I hung up. Minutes later, the phone rang again, and it was the same person. I once again tried to explain that they had the wrong number, but they couldn’t understand. So I hung up. A few minutes later, the phone rang again. Once again a French speaker, but a different one this time (a man instead of a woman). Sadly, this person didn’t speak English any better than the first one, although it was obvious they were upset at me.

This went on at least four or five times a week for over a month. I eventually tried using the 69 feature, just so I could call the people and annoy them for a change, but all I could find out was that the number originated in Toronto, Canada. I did a little research and discovered that as of March 5, 2001 (just before I started getting the annoying calls), Toronto introduced a new “distributed overlay” area code of 647 on top of the existing 416 area code. My area code, on the other hand, was 617. Apparently, somebody got a wee bit confused and kept dialing 617--** instead of 647--*. Too bad I couldn’t tell these morons what their problem was…

Shayna - I may steal your suggested message! My husband’s cell number used to belong to a preacher and I guess his flock haven’t gotten the new number. So not only do we get wrong number messages, we have to use minutes that we pay for just to hear that they’re wrong number messages!

godzillatemple–That LOL sequence reminds me of a really good Kids in the Hall sketch…

David Foley plays a guy calling up a wrong number. He gets Kevin McDonald on the other end, but he’s convinced that there’s someone called Frank on the other end…finally, Kevin ends up pretending to be Frank to get him to shut up.

People can be pretty frightening…

FairChatMom you should be able to call your cell phone voice mail from a land line and not pay minutes. At least that’s how my plan works. I only pay minutes picking up messages if I pick them up from my cell. I guess that only helps if you’re near a land line but it might save a little.

My boyfriend for the past 2 days has gotten at least 5 messages and they’re all the same, a male voice saying a four digit number. That’s it.

I’d love to know what that’s all about. Is there some secret agent out there somewhere supposed to be carrying out some top secret mission but he’s not getting the coded message?

We’ll probably never know. His caller ID shows the call from a city in south Florida and he’s not inclined to make a long distance call to find out what 1604 means. (I’m not sure that’s the number)

I have a story similar to godzillatemple’s French one:

There is a Japanese lady who calls my cell phone every week or so. I always have to say hello more than once, so she must not be paying that much attention at the start of the call (which may or may not include the dialing process). She says a phrase in Japanese, and I say, “Sorry, you’ve got the wrong number.” She then begins to protest with me, as if there really were Japanese people here, and I was deliberately torturing her by not letting her talk to them.

What really gets me is the people who call me, who obviously have the wrong number, but who start the conversation by demanding to know who i am. Well, sorry folks, but if you call me, and you don’t know who i am, then that’s your problem, not mine.

I get sick of this, so i try the same tactic, and on a few occasions it has resulted in exchanges like this:

Me: Hello?
Caller: Who’s this?
Me: Who’s this?
Caller: Who’s speaking?
Me: Who’s speaking?
Caller: Who am i talking to?
Me: You called me, i didn’t call you. I have absolutely no intention of telling you who i am if you don’t even know who you want to speak to.
Caller: I was after Jimmy.
Me: Well, why didn’t you say so in the first place?
Caller: Is Jimmy there?
Me: No, you have the wrong number. Goodbye.

This whole call could have been completed with just those last two sentences. I’ll never understand why people still can’t use a simple instrumnet like the telephone properly.

On the other hand, some people who answer the phone are just clueless.

My girlfriend went to visit a friend in Massachusetts this summer, and they were both staying at her friend’s mother’s house. My girlfriend gave me the number of the house, in case i needed to call her. Well, one day, i did need to call, so i dialled the number and had the following conversation:

Woman: Hello?
Me: Hello. I was wondering if i might speak to Katherine, please. [i’m always excessively polite when calling a third party’s house to speak to someone who is staying there]
Woman: you have the wrong number.
Me: Oh, i’m sorry about that.
Woman: Goodbye.

So i checked the number and dialled again.

Woman: Hello?
Me: [realizing it was the same woman] Oh. I’m sorry. My girlfriend gave me this number as a contact number, but it seems it must be the wrong one. There’s no Katherine there?
Woman: [rather testy] No, i told you it’s the wrong number. [hangs up]

I chalked it up to a mistake by me or my girlfriend, and sent her an email telling her to call me. She called me later that night, and i explained that she had given me the wrong number.

Well, it turned out that i had the right number, and had been talking to her friend’s mother. But the woman had been introduced to my girlfriend as “Kathy,” and was unable to make the giant leap of logic that the “Kathy” staying in her house might also be the “Katherine” whom i was seeking.


Me: Ahoy, ahoy!

Caller: Hello?

Me: Greetings on behalf of all the human inhabitants of the planet Earth.

Caller: Is this … Jesse?

Me: I can’t be sure. I’m not very good at recognizing voices.

Caller: No. I mean, are you Jesse?

Me: Just a moment. Let me find out. [… 20 second pause …] I am not Jesse. I am Sam.

Caller: Is there a Jesse there?

Me: There might be. Do you mind waiting until he comes to the phone?

Caller: […cheerfully…] Sure, no problem!

Me: […lay handset on coffee table… …fix supper… …watch TV… …hang up phone before going to bed…]