Attack of the wrong-number dialer!

So I’m at work trying to piss away the rest of my Friday by reading the SD and I get a phone call…

Me: “Hello, this is Hey You!.”

Voice: “Uhh… yeah. Is Diamond there?”

Me: “Nnno. I’m sorry, this is a place of business and this is my direct line”

Voice: “Yeah? What kind of business do you do there?”

Me: (Not wanting to deal with what could be a scammer or marketer) “Well, you have a wrong number, so that’s not really relevant, is it? Bye.”

I hang up. Guess who calls back not 10 seconds later?

Me: “Hello, this is Hey You!.”

Voice: “Uhh… yeah. Is Diamond there?”

Me: “Didn’t we already go through this? You have the wrong number. You aren’t going to reach the person you are trying to reach.”

Voice: “Yeah? What kind of business do you do there?”

Me: “Dude it’s irrelevant to you!”

Voice: “Yeah that wasn’t too polite when you wouldn’t tell me what kind of business you do?”

Me: “Well, I am sorry for that. But what does it matter to you when I assure you that this is not her number? What are you trying to accomplish?”

Voice: “I was at a restaurant and I met this girl and she gave me this number and I’m trying to get a hold of her.”

Me: (Now realizing how clueless this guy is) “Ah, I see. Well, she’s not here. Sorry.”

Voice: “Yeah? What kind of business do you do there?”

Me: (Thinking of first dumb thing I could think of) “Machine manufacturing.”

Voice: “[medium pause] … okay.”

Someone once left a message on our voicemail:

“Hi. I was trying to reach Ruby. Her phone number is 555-9967 but your message says this is 555-9963. I guess I must have misdialed. Sorry. Okay, bye bye.”

Why wait and take the time to leave a message? Just hang up as soon as the voicemail states the phone number that you know you weren’t calling.

Mr. SCL and I live in the house he grew up in - we bought it from his dad’s estate. We also kept the phone number they’ve had since the early '70’s. About once a week or so, we get a wrong number. From the same lady. Who has been dialing this wrong number for at least 25 years. She’s always so sweet and apologetic…she even apologizes on the answering machine! Mr. SCL says his mother kept saying she was going to invite her over for coffee - they’d been talking on the phone for so long they ought to be friends!

I have the same phone number as the medical clinic at a nearby Airforce base, except for area code (I’m 805, they’re 888). I get a few wrong numbers a month, but the vast majority are apologetic (and I know the number they’re trying to reach, so I’m actually helpful). But I have received two detailed medically-oriented messages in the past two years, despite my voice mail greeting being “Hi, this is iamthewalrus, leave me a message”

My work number happens to be one digit away from the local town court, so I often get calles meant for them. My most memorable was one left on my voice mail:

“Hello. This is <caller>. I’m not going to be able to make my court date tomorrow. Bye.”

No phone, no way to tell him he got the wrong number. I imagine he was a bit surprised when the warrent was issued and the cops showed up on his door “But I left a message!”

We used to have a Brooklyn number which, except for the area code, was the same as a Manhattan number for a criminal defense lawyer firm.

My husband regularly changed the answering machine message to something verbose and increasingly bizarre. I wonder at the people who waited through thirty to forty seconds of comic blather and Goonitude to leave the message, “Hey, this is Jose. My lawyer better call me. Or else.”

My husband said he was tempted to call one back and say, “This is your lawyer, and I hate you and know you are going to jail,” but he was afraid he’d read in the paper next day that there had been a homicide.

I also want to say I work with a Southern woman (tough, sexy, impolite, with a veneer of purest velvet) who once dialed a wrong number, and through her spate of effusive apologies, managed to ask the stranger to look up the right number for her, as she was tired and didn’t want to walk downstairs to get her own damn telephone book.

Southerners. My mouth is still hanging open. In awe.

My least favorite happened last weekend at home. Early on Sunday, like 5:00 a.m. early, from some witless bitch who obviously was either still too drunk or too stupid to use her cell phone. Did I mention it was early? The call jolted me out of a deep, luxurious sleep:

Me: ::groggily:: Hello?
Witless Bitch: Why did you call me?
Me: (still groggy) Huh? Who are you?
Witless Bitch: Who the fuck are YOU? It says you called me. I want to know why you called me.
Me: (slightly less groggy, getting mad) It? What are you talking about?
Witless Bitch: Look, bitch, my phone said I got a call from 555 (<–fake prefix), uh six, uh…oh, something the fuck or other. Now what the fuck did you want?
Me: (wide awake and steaming mad) You can’t even remember the number? I did NOT call you.
Witless Bitch: I’m sick of this shit. Now listen here…
Me: (in a rare rage) I did NOT call you because I don’t KNOW you and I don’t WANT to know you because you’re too damned STUPID to even use a phone.

Then I slammed down the receiver.

At least she couldn’t call back since she was too out of it to even remember what number she dialed. If she had I would have crawled through the air waves and ripped out her vocal cords with my teeth, then pounded her to death with her phone.

(My bold)
Isn’t that the definition of a Southern Belle? At least, Pat Conroy defines them in The Great Santini, as having an “iron fist in a velvet glove.”

This is my most entertaining wrong-number experience. Happened in the 1970s.

Time: 3:00 A.M. on a weekday.

Phone rings.

ME: (groggily) Hello?

CALLER: Hey, this must be Ricky’s old lady, right?

ME: You have the wrong number. There’s no Ricky here.

CALLER: Yeah, but you’re his old lady, right?

ME: Um… no, I am not Ricky’s old lady. I don’t even know anyone named Ricky.

CALLER: Hey, babe, we need some weed, and Ricky sold us some dynamite stuff last time.

ME: Look, you’ve called the wrong number. I don’t know Ricky.

CALLER: OK. (long pause) Got any weed?

From December to March, I regularly received phone calls from a gentleman who spoke another language. Sounded like it may have been Arabic or perhaps Yugoslavian. Could have been Martian for all I know, I didn’t understand a word. Anyway, the guy had a knack for calling in the rare moments that I was unable to hear my cell ringing. And each time he would leave a very long message in whatever language it was that he spoke, and he always called from a “Private Number”, so I couldn’t call him back.

He called at least once a week for three months. He never seemed to mind that my voice mail message was in English. It didn’t seem to phase him that whoever it was he was trying to reach never called him back. And it certainly didn’t phase him at all when I changed my voice mail message to:

“Hi, this is Carly. I speak ENGLISH. If you’re calling to leave a message in any language other than ENGLISH, please hang up now. If, however, you wish to leave a message I can understand in a language I actually speak, please proceed in ENGLISH.”

Of course, after that, I not only continued receiving messages from my random caller, but all my friends left their messages in every language but English.

Finally, I managed to catch the phone when fella was calling. He was genuinely surprised when I answered in English and asked him to please stop calling me. He continued to call me for a week anyway.

Who knows what goes on in the minds of some Wrong Dialers.

Last weekend a woman called me six or seven times in a row about a house she saw for rent. Someone apparently put down my number instead of their own, or, more likely, she wrote it down wrong. I could not figure out why she kept on calling! The second time she called, I told her, “I still don’t have a house for rent. You’re calling the wrong number!” Yet she called back at least 4 times, but kept hanging up when I answered. Like I don’t have caller ID and know it’s you, lady! :smack:

One of the more disturbing wrong-number dialers I’ve had was on my land line, which number I’ve had for years and don’t give to anyone I don’t know well.

It is important to note at this point that I am female, and am identifiably female on the phone.

So one day, I get a call:

Me: Hello?

Female voice: MICHAEL?!?!?!?!? (in a tone suggesting that Michael was the one responsible for knocking her up and then shooting her in the stomach to try and avoid child support payments, but she still loves him anyway because he’s only like that when he’s drinking)

Me: Uh…I’m sorry, there’s no Michael here.

FV: (hangs up)

Wait five minutes. Repeat for an hour and a half. I would have told her off, but it seemed pretty obvious that Michael had done some bad shit and given her a fake number. For some inexplicable reason, I felt terrible about the whole thing.

My best was one that I mis-dialed myself.

I was about twelve or so and I was trying to call my friend who was about a year younger. Someone picked up and I asked for Tracy.

“Uh, sorry, Tracy’s at work.”

Huh?! Not MY Tracy! To top it off it was the middle of summer and we weren’t even in school! Oops…

We get wrong number calls during the day from angry-sounding people looking for Mark. No Mark has lived here for at least three generations, but these people sound pretty pissed, and we have reason to suspect the guy we bought the house from was involved in a “cash business”. Scary.

When I lived in VA I had 2 constant wrong number dialers. The first was an elderly gentleman. He’d call at least once a week and ask for “Mister Hooks”. I’m guessing Mr. Hooks was a friend of his. He always apologized for the mistake and I felt kinda bad for him. After awhile I started looking forward to his calls so I knew he was still alive.

But the other wrong number dialer…it was actually more than one person, but they always called looking for “John-John” in the middle of the fucking night , mostly on weekends. There was always loud rap music in the background. After awhile I figured that John-John must be a drug dealer. Finally I asked one of them what number were they trying to dial. Turns out they were off by one digit. So I called the number and gave John-John some rules. Basically i told him to talk to his degenerate-calling-me-at-3 AM-friends, and tell them to make sure they got his number right, because if they kept accidentally calling me I was going to give his number to everyone I knew and tell them to call him, put it on the internet in every conceivable form and fashion and personally call him myself at random hours. I didn’t think it would work, but I stopped getting those calls.

Ah, memories. I am reminded of a series of wrong number calls I had several years ago. Turned out my home landline number is identical to that of a local diving equipment and training shop, except their last two digits are an inversion of my last two digits, which took quite a while to figure out.

Even after I changed my answering machine message to say something along the lines of:
“This is XXX-XXXX. This is NOT Local Diving Shop. If you think this is Local Diving Shop, you have flip flopped the last two digits in the phone number. Try again using 54 as the last two digits”…I STILL got long, highly detailed messages about diving equipment or training people were looking for. :rolleyes: But eventually people figured out what they were doing wrong and started dialing the correct number for that shop.

(I never answered one of those calls myself due to the work schedule I was on at the time. I was always asleep when they came in, so the phone’s ringer was off.)

We used to have a number ending in 6 and a local pizza place ends in 9. We were always getting calls for them. So after a while when the calls would come in late at night, I would take the orders. Wish I could remember where I got that idea from. And for some reason we never got calls from people complaining about not getting the pizza. Guess they could dial it right when they wanted to complain.

I had a woman call and when I answered she says brightly
“Hi Jan!”
Jan sounds alot like Jen, which alot of people call me, so I answer back
She starts talking about something, I can’t remember what, and I realize I don’t know this person is, so I start to answer back all confused and she says
“Oh no, this isn’t Jan, is it?”
“Did you say Jan? I thought you said Jen. Sheesh, sorry! Well, how’s you day going anyway?”
We ended talking for a couple minutes and had a good laugh.

Someone in the joint must have either made up a number, or had a number, very close to our home phone, because for a period of several months we’d get calls from the Los Angeles Prison. Usually we weren’t around to answer, so we’d get some Spanish message on the voicemail. Caller ID told the spooky story of the repeated calls’ origin.

We even had collect calls from them. “Collect call from LA Prison (or whatever it was called) for Juan Gonzalez, do you accept the charges?” “Um…no.”

After that repeated a few times, and each time we explained we know no one in prison, the calls eventually faded. I’m dying to know who they were trying to call (and what they were trying to get from them), though.