Idiot callers

When I was kid for a bit we used to get calls for the local K-Mart. We thought it was prank calls for some reason, so one time I said “Yeah, this is K-Mart.” The guy on the other line started talking about some boat or canoe he bought, and being a young boy, I panicked and hung up.

The first time I had my own place, I seemingly had a phone number that was apparently similar to one for a doctor’s office and used to be had by a hotel.

I would get about 5 wrong number calls a day, with people trying to make appointments or reservations. I eventually had to change my answering machine message to state that this was a private residence and not a doctor or a hotel, since I felt bad about people calling me to cancel their appointments and, I assume, still getting billed cause they didnt call ahead of time.

Years ago, when I was in high school, my family apparently had the same number as a family of dirt bags. I wish I could remember their last name, but I do remember someone calling from Mexico all upset that they couldn’t reach Marguerite. Some girl called and got my brother and bitched him out for the way he was treating her friend. He was like 13 and had barely ever talked to a girl at the time. My mother had to step in. And, for whatever reason, none of these people could believe we weren’t the dirtbags or related to the dirtbags. We even had someone come to the door, which was bizarre. It was really a problem.

Ah ha! So you’re the one responsible for K-Mart going out of business in Texas, Revtim. I knew it!

We used to get calls from what sounded like a very old woman. Every call went the same.

(old and feeble voice) “…Phoebe?”
“No, you have the wrong number.”

This went on for years. You’d think she’d eventually put Phoebe on speed-dial.

STORY ONE: Recently, SpazMan and I have been receiving calls from Stupid Financial Services looking for a Brian. The only Brian I know is a cartoon dog. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get hold of SFS because the number they left on our machine went nowhere. Yesterday they finally called when we were home. The conversation went something like this:

SFS: This is Stupid Financial Services looking for Brian.
SM: Nobody by that name lives here. Stop calling.
SFS: Oh…um…who am I speaking to.
SM: Someone who will neve do business with you. click

STORY TWO: When I was in middle school, one of my friends lived in the same housing development as the high school principal and their phone numbers differed by only one or two digits. Her dad answered the phone one day and immediately got cussed out by an irate parent who thought he was the principal. She finally stopped for breath and Friend’s Dad said, “I think you have a good point, but I’d calm down before I confronted the principal.” :smiley:

STORY THREE: In the university phone system of My Fair City, you only need to dial the last four digits to get an on-campus number. People in the dorms sometimes forget to dial the first three when trying to call an off-campus number. I knew a guy whose room number was the same as the local Papa John’s without the first three digits. For a while, he and his roommate were taking orders, then hanging up and going about their business.

I’ll just need your credit card number to hold that reservation, ma’am. Will that be Visa, MasterCard, or Amex?

This ancient-sounding old woman has called and left messages on my machine a couple times. Nearly identical messages both times. Apparently she knows someone with the same name as me (my last name is somewhat rare, at least where I live). The messages go something like, “Hello?..Is this AFG? I’m trying to get in touch with Romeo. My family was friends with his family after WWII and his son is the same age as my son…It’s been years since we spoke and I’d like to talk to him again…”

I called back once and left a message explaining that I knew no Romeo or his family, but apparently it did no good, as she called again.

I wouldn’t call it stupidity, though. I chalk this one up to senility.

Speaking of evil, there was a (Thurber, I think) story about a friend of his who got a wrong-numbered call from an irate shoe store customer and just went with the flow. After hearing out the grievance he confessed that yes, the Shu-Rite Shoe Store did indeed sell shoddy, shoddy merchandise, that there had been many complaints about the inferior product, and that the customer should cme on in for a full refund.

It was probably not a happy scene when the customer actually showed up for his money back.
Once an area high school listed our number by mistake in a newsletter about band fundraising. That got old very fast (apparently the high school band was a big deal locally) and the school took its sweet time getting around to a correction. The next time that happens I may be tempted to take on the role of Slightly Demented and Insulting Band Coordinator.

I never asked for them, but a few people did offer CC numbers; I pretended to note them and that was that—I was never asked for a confirmation number. I guess now that I might have screwed up a few vacations and/or business trips, but I was pretty thoughtless back then.

Thats pretty dam funny

I’ll have to remember that.

This happened a few months ago. Apparently, I am the Savage Righteous Fist of The Man.

Anyway, I got back from work one day a while back. BEEP New voice mail. Hmmm. I hit “play.” Hilarity ensues.

Turns out some crazed woman called me up that afternoon, properly identifying me by first name. She then berated me for beating the crap out of her boyfriend without giving him “due process.” Or at least that’s what I think she said because she was having an emotional meltdown. I was having a little difficulty making out some of her words between the sobbing and hysterical screaming. It sounded like there were children wailing in the background, too.

Evidently she not only thinks I’m a cop, she thinks I’m a jackbooted thug. And I either beat a confession out of her boyfriend, or beat the snot out of him just for being a punk. Yep, me. Because, if there is one thing that I closely resemble, it’s an authoritative member of our nation’s police force.

There’s such a fine line between being worthy of sympathy and worthy of belly laughter. Does it make me a horrible person that I fell on the side of that equation that I did?

And I got another phone call a few weeks back around 2 in the morning on a weekday from some dolt who was apparently calling for this same guy. I even got the last name that time. Even though I told him I wasn’t him, he called back anyway a few minutes afterwards and left a voice mail message.

So, evidently, there’s a guy out there who sounds just like me, with the same first name, who hangs out with dolts and beats the crap out of people For Great Justice.

My phone number differs by one digit from a popular national food delivery chain. Surprisingly, I think that in three years, there have only been 2 calls from people trying to order something.

Last year I saw a news story about a woman whose phone number (468-6868, IIRC) is very close to that of Elections Canada (463-6868). Every federal election, she gets a whole pile of wrong numbers. But she’s quite happy with her number (she is Chinese and considers it to be very lucky) and puts up with the endless inquiries. That’s classy. I’d be fleeing the country every time an election is called.

Collection agencies usually assume you’re lying when they are looking for someone and call you by mistake. I had some looking for somone with my last name. Fairly unusual so they decided to call any listing with that last name. That got old fast.
At work one day I had a customer swear she had called earlier and was told we had X item on sale for X price.

No we don’t carry that at all.
“Well I drove all the way over here because someone told me you did”
Do you remember who you talked to?
“No it was some girl”
No girl works in this department so you may have called someplace else
“No I’m positive it was here. Perhaps someone else answered the phone.”
Well I’ve been here all morning so I don’t think so. If you got another department they would probably forward it to me rather than just give you wrong info, but we really don’t have that item.
“Well someone from here certainly told my secretary you did”
Didn’t you just say that you called?
“Well no it was my secretary who called”
I see, perhaps she made a mistake about where she called
“No it was here. Can I speak to a manager?”
“Yes you can. I’m not sure what good it will do since we don’t have the item you need and you have no idea who you talked to”
“Well,…” and off she goes.

Hey sometimes we make mistakes but it always irratates me when someone else is just so dam sure they didn’t make one.

For a while I had the number that used to belong to the “Albuquerque Metaphysical Institute”. I’d regularly get calls wanting “a reading”.

For a while it was fun to mess with the callers…then it just got old. I don’t recall anyone (who I didn’t mess with) getting mad at me…probably worried about thier karma.

I did the same thing with my machine when I got my first apartment. The guy who had the number before me was one Mr. Abad. Apparently he was a Filipino because I’d get collect calls from the Phillipines at 3am. At some point before Mr. Abad, the number was held by a guy who shares my real name. I knew callers weren’t looking for me because I’m not in advertising.

When my SO and I got our current number (changed from the previous one due to crank calls), we immediately got callers speaking Spanish. It got so bad that I went on Babelfish and got a Spanish phrase to say that the person they were looking for was no longer at that number, yet the Spanish calls continued. I eventually got the idea to do a reverse lookup of our number and found that it belonged to somone with a Hispanic name who lived in an apartment building. Then I called the apartment building and found that it’s a secure building–visitors have to call a tenant in order to be let in. I told the apartment manager there that they need to take our number out of their system. Problem solved.

To those who continually get calls for the same people: try seeing if your number was ever used in a secure apartment building.

Before my work number changed earlier this year, I had a number that was one digit off from another department. Seems that department had published their number somewhere but instead of 9101 (their general information line), they put 7101 (my number). Got so bad that I changed my voicemail to direct people looking for the other departent to the correct number.

Holy moley, I have never heard of a situation so ripe with hijink potential…

Everyone needs a hobby.

I actually had to get my work number changed because I got two types of these kinds of calls.

One was from a woman who called about four times a week looking for Helen. Every time I tried to explain to her that she had a wrong number she’d start arguing with me, claiming that it was in fact Helen’s number and not mine. I always tried to explain that since she got me when she dialed it I suspected that wasn’t the case, but she never got it for some reason.

The same number must have been very close to the number for the Department of Social Services, because every month I’d field a bunch of calls from people wondering where their welfare checks were.