Cashiers: How would you like me to tell you I ain't giving you my phone number?

I firmly believe that if there is a simple “Miss Manners” way out of an annoying situation that always comes up, I want to use it and smooth the way. That way I can apply my irritation elsewhere.

I don’t want to give my phone number to anybody for obvious reasons.

When a store employee asks me “Phone number, area code first please?”, what is the most polite way to quickly get past this with minimum of fuss?
I ask you, store employees, what would you prefer to hear?

(I usually say “No thanks.”, but I am bothered that the response doesn’t match the request properly).

Have you thought of just saying 719, or whatever your area code may be, 555-1212

Actually, I’ve given bogus numbers before, and that’s a fairly painless way to do it.

I wouldn’t want to use a 555 number though, because the point of the exercise is to avoid leaving the cashier with the impression that I am being a wiseass.

867-5309 (I think that’s the one) strikes me as being a most appropriate phone number to give to anyone you’d rather not have contact you:)

I simply smile and say, “I would prefer not to.”

I have never had a cashier object to this response.

Of course, I haven’t met every cashier in the world.

Yeah, “I would prefer not to” or “I’m sorry, I don’t give that out” work for me.

What will they do, refuse to sell you a product unless you tell them??
Of course this doesn’t apply to items such as guns and perhaps should apply to things such as Justin Timberlake CD’s. (at least as equally as dangerous) :slight_smile:

Of course, if you’re writing a check, they sometimes have a somewhat valid reason, especially if your phone number is not printed on the check. But it always seemed strange to me to ask for the phone number for that or any reason, because you could always lie. And if you’re passing a bad check, why would you give a correct phone number?

Similarly, some stores used to ask for a phone number when presented with a credit card; I always gave a fake number if pressed for one.

I have a friend who is an elected official, who does not give out his phone number (because he has received death threats before).

He used to simply decline to give his phone number, but that often led to time-consuming discussions, etc.

So he found it much easier to just give them his work phone number. And not the specific phone on his desk, but the general switchboard number for all several thousand employees.

I just say “No” and glare at them. That usually works.

I find demanding a phone number in order to complete a scale to be rude, and therefore attempt to avoid stores that do so whenever possible.

I’m glad that Rado Shack (at least the few I’ve been to recently) have stopped asking for these things. Of course, sometimes as a cashier I have to get people’s phone number, but that’s only if they write a check and the little cash register machine asks me to look at their dirver’s license, which is about 1 times out of 5. I think that asking it purely for statistical reasons is bad, I justy have to do it to get people’s information in case the check is bad.

Just give them 202-762-1401.

“U.S. Naval Observatory Master Clock. At the tone, the time will be…”

If I don’t want to give it, I simply state I do not have a phone. They may not believe you in this day and age of cell phone overdose, but I’ve never had them try to argue with me.

Tell them your phone number is unlisted and you do not give it out.

I always just smile and say “you don’t need that”.

Then I urinate down my leg. They never ask twice.

<Minor hijack? I’m not a store employee…>

I don’t understand why people give bogus numbers. If I’m the only person saying, “No, I would rather not give that out” (or whatever), then it seems like I’m the only one irritated with this practice of collecting numbers. The only way stores will ever realize that it’s not just a very few is if everyone who has a problem with it speaks up.*

For the record, no cashier has ever seemed the least bit bothered when I decline politely. Declining does not cause me any extra time or effort, so why make up a number?
*Yes, I realize that it may not get beyond the cashier, but at least there is a chance this way.

I have a friend who hates being asked for her phone number, zip code, whatever. Whenever a cashier says “May I have your (whatever), please?”, my friend says “no you may not” They never bother her about it. Me, I just usually give it to them (I’m a marshmallow)

I always say, “I’m sorry that is private information.”

Thanks folks! I think I’ll go with Otto and FisherQueen and say “I would prefer not to.”

This fits quite nicely and gives no hint of wiseass or snarkiness. Of course, I’ll keep that Naval Observatory number in my back pocket for more pressing situations (“I’m sorry sir, but this is our store policy…”)

“I would prefer not to” is how I would prefer to have it phrased. “You don’t need that” gives the cashier the impression that the customer thinks that the cashier, individually and personally, wants the number. WE DO NOT WANT YOUR NUMBER. We are only asking for your phone number because the register prompts us to, and in some cases won’t do whatever it is you want it to do without us putting it in. We have to put SOMETHING in. Either give us your phone number, or say “I would prefer not to” in a pleasant tone of voice and we’ll put in 999-999-9999 or something. You needn’t be obnoxious, snippy or snotty. I repeat, WE ARE NOT ASKING OUT OF PERSONAL INTEREST OR FOR OUR OWN GAIN, and we don’t think your “joke” answers are amusing, because we hear them too often.