The Caller ID Aveeennnnnnger

Have you ever been so frustrated about something that you can’t even swear properly? I am in a very similar state just now.

Last night at 11:30 p.m., our telephone rings, waking my wife and I up. As my wife is a doctor, this is not an unusual thing. However she is not on call and it rapidly becomes clear that the person my wife is talking to is not calling for a medical purpose (other than to verify certain psychological diagnoses).

This person, the Caller ID Avenger, has chosen 11:30 p.m. on a Wednesday evening to investigate a “mysterious” phone call she recieved. Apparently she has received a number of these “mysterious” phone calls, at least one of which came from a phone that identified itself as my phone.

You would think that the irony of this woman calling us at such a late hour to discuss crank phone calls might give her pause. Nope. She came loaded for bear. She even told my wife that she was recording the conversation.

When it became obvious that my wife wasn’t going to get a word in edgewise I started asking her for the phone. My wife is a very polite person and would never dream of telling off someone she doesn’t know. I, on the other hand, have no such qualms. There is a reason that my family no longer calls me at odd hours.

But my wife won’t give the phone. I ask again . . . and again . . . and again. See, in addition to being a generally very polite person, my wife is slow to wake up and she wasn’t about the give up the phone. So I’m laying there listening to some crackpot browbeating my wife in the middle of the night. The idea of sleep is now completely gone and I do the only thing that I think will short circuit this little circus: I reached over and hung up the phone. My wife was half pleased in that she no longer had to listen to the Avenger and half annoyed in that I had taken matters into my own hands. “She’ll only call back!” said my wife. And she was right.

So a minute later I answer the phone in my best loud and angry voice and ask the Avenger what her problem is. She is also annoyed. Good. At that point I start channelling my father: “What is wrong with you? Don’t you know its the middle of the night?” While I don’t think I used profanity, I did get it across that only a moron would be calling for her purposes at that time of the night. I closed out the call by telling her that if she had a problem she should call the cops. Before she hung up on me, she promised that she would indeed call the cops. I would love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation. "So you called this family at 11:30 p.m. and are upset because you were yelled at? . . . "

It took me 2 hours to get back to sleep.

What the hell is it about caller ID that makes these idiots think that they deserve an explanation for every phone call that they receive? The Avenger is only the most recent member of her tribe of morons that I have had the misfortune to meet. I have never received a call from someone using their caller ID to track down the evil doer that had the temerity to call when they couldn’t pick up the phone that was even marginally polite. Half the time its some bonehead I’ve called as a result of a classified ad or something. Chances are the Avenger is a patient of the clinic at which my wife works and recieved a call from my wife as a result of a page. If it is, I would hope that she recieves the old three finger rectal exam next time she’s in for a check under the hood.

Is there any way we can get *666 enabled to electrocute these idiots when they call late at night? Nothing deadly mind you, just enought to wipe out their caller ID get them back onto their old pre-caller ID conspiracy theories.

George Carlin once suggested something very similar. He said there should be a button you can press to electrocute the person on the other end.

I’d call her back tonight at like 3:00 in the morning. Say, “Hi, sorry to wake you but I got what had to have been a prank call last night around 11:30. Do you know anything about this?”

Ugh I hate those fucking idiots.

Me at work, phones rings.

Me: Yello?
Them: Someone just called this number.
Me: Uh I dunno, who are you?
Them: Someone just called my number, what company are you?
Me: Look maybe someone dialed the wrong fucking number, get over it. <I hang up phone>

5 minutes later rinse and repeat.

Contact your phone company and request a permanent Caller ID block. With your wife being a doctor they should be able to provide this at no charge. That way no information will appear on the accursed CID screen (it will say unknown name unknown number or private number). In the meantime if your phone company is like mine you can block your information from displaying on a per-call basis by dialing *67 and then the number.

I’m trying to adopt a passive aggressive approach.

“Asheville Humane Society, this is Daniel.”
“Yeah, this is Bart Finkley. Someone just called me.”
“…uh…who called me?”
“I don’t know.”
“…uh…Can you ask around?”
“Sure. Hold on.” (if anyone is nearby, I’ll ask them if they called Bart Finkley; invariably they haven’t) “No luck. We ask our employees to leave messages with someone if they need a call back.”

Seriously, folks: what the hell is wrong with you? Do you think we don’t know how to use an answering machine or voice mail? Do you think we don’t know how the redial button works? Is your life so sad and boring that you call us back in pathetic hope that we’ll chat with you for a few minutes?

Very annoying.

When Caller ID first made it to my little neck o’the woods, it got interesting.

On one memorable occasion, I dialed what I thought I remembered as a recently-moved friend’s new number. I got an answering machine with names unknown to me on it, so I hung up before it beeped (I know well the annoyance of a dial tone on the machine, purporting to be a message). Tried again, and got it wrong again. When I got home from work that night, there was a very irate, mouthbreathing voice on my machine, from the number I’d misdialed twice earlier. “Whu’d yuh call me fer and didn’t leave a message? Next time yuh call me, yuh’d better leave a message!”

I always leave a message: “Oh, uh, oops, um, I think I got the wrong number. If this is blahblahblah can you call me? If this isn’t, uh, I’m sorry to bother you. Uh, here’s a uh, joke, though, for a, um, consolation prize:
How come a chicken coop only has two doors?
'Cuz if it had four it’d be a chickien sedan–ahahahahahahahahaa!”

No one ever bothers to call back and give me shit. Try it.

Oh UGH, I hate these calls. We get them at work occasionally too. If the person making this type of call were halfway intelligent and said something to the effect of:

Hello, this is Jane, I just had a missed call on my phone and it’s your number. I work for XYZ, do you know if anyone called me for ABC purpose? (or something at least semi-explanatory).

Instead it’s usually some dimbulb mumbling:…

DB “someone called me”
Me: Okay, this is “TTT Enviro” would it have been about X Project, Y Project or Z Project??
DB: “I dunno, someone called me on this number”
Me: “Well Sir, I’m the only one here right now, and I didn’t call you. Possibly one of our field guys called your number by mistake, but unless you’re one of our clients, no one would have a reason to call you from this number”.
DB: “well, someone left this number” (and other inane complaining).
Me: Well, it wasn’t me, thank you (click).

I like this. I think I’m going to have to steal it.

Well, yeah. Nine-tenths of the calls I get are from people or companies that I know, but who refuse to leave messages. Fortunately, most of their names are programmed into my phone so I have a record of who’s called even if they don’t leave a message. For the rest, the only other option is to call back and find out who it was.

“No luck. We ask our employees to leave messages with someone if they need a call back.”

Well, obviously the lesson hasn’t taken root with some of them, otherwise people wouldn’t be getting calls from your office with no message.

Sublight - I think the point is that calling someone who may or may not have called you to ask them if they remember what was on their mind when they punched a string of numbers into their phone last night before changing their minds is not condusive to happiness for anyone.

Nah. They sell them at Radio Shack for less than 15 bucks. It takes about 3 seconds to install on any jack in the house, and all you need is 1 and it covers every phone in the house. They work excellent.

My parents’ house has them little caller ID boxes that will let you program them to reject calls from certain numbers. One day I was sitting at home alone, the phone rang, and I didn’t recognize the number so I let the machine get it.

The “message” left on the answering machine was quite clearly the sound of someone urinating in a public restroom. Rolling my eyes, I hit the “block” button on the CID box and went back to my book.

A few days later, my dad mentions how he tried to call home a few minutes earlier with his cel phone and got a message that he had been blocked. It took me a minute to add two and two – turns out he had accidentally called home on his cel phone’s speed dial whilst adjusting his clothing in the restroom. He, ah, endeavoured to be more careful with his phone thereafter.

If you get the wrong number and need to leave a message tell them you are a life insurance agent and have them please call you at 568-5555. They most probably will never call you back. But if they do then they might just want a policy on someone they plan to rub out. :slight_smile:

Gosh, for some reason, the original post reminds me of that season opener for–drat, I can’t remember which it was, either SNL or MadTV. I’ll never forget the way the husband “helped” his wife get someone off the phone!

AFAIAC, my CallerID is to let me screen my calls. It’s saved me from many an unwanted solicitation. That it keeps a record of who called thru the day is just an unneeded bonus. If I see that my mother called and didn’t leave a message, I may call her back. If I don’t recognize a number, I ignore it. If it’s important, the caller will call back. It would never occur to me to call these numbers to ask why they called me.

There was someone who called the house every morning this week - I googled the number and got the name of a person who lived in Maryland. Never left a message, and the name didn’t ring a bell with me, so I just let it go. Yesterday, I finally happened to be home when this person called back - trying to get me to refinance my house!!! :rolleyes: Yet another reason not to call back.

Saturday Night Live, with Will Ferrell as the husband, and Mariel Hemingway as the wife?

No! The other option is to LET IT GO! Why do you need to talk to them? The obviously don’t need to talk to you, or else they would have left a message.

Our employees are asked to leave messages WHEN IT’S IMPORTANT THAT SOMEONE CALL THEM BACK. If they didn’t leave a message, they don’t need a call from you. And I don’t know who called you, so I can’t put you through to them. And you don’t know who called you, so you obviously don’t need to talk to them. So don’t call back! Let it go!


A couple of years ago I had a temp job conducting telephone surveys. I quickly learned that on the rare occasions when a call came in on my headset, I should prepare myself to deal with a Caller ID Avenger!

If a number on my list was picked up by an answering machine I never left a message; that was company policy, and IMHO a very reasonable one. Why waste everyone’s time by leaving a message that no sane person would be interested in receiving? “Uh…I was calling to ask you a bunch of boring questions about a topic you probably care nothing about…guess I’ll try to catch you tomorrow while you’re eating dinner!” But the Caller ID Avengers do not realize that they have had a lucky break. Their policy of using the answering machine to screen calls has actually spared them from having to deal with a call they wouldn’t want to take anyway, but they cannot let it go at that. They have Caller ID! They must call back the person who failed to leave a message!

Little did the poor fools know the trap they were walking in to! Mwa ha ha ha ha!

ring ring

“Hello, XYZ Marketing, Lamia speaking!”

“Yeah, you just called me a minute ago and didn’t leave a message, whaddaya want?”

“I’m terribly sorry sir or madam, I thought you weren’t at home! We’re conducting a TELEPHONE SURVEY on AN INCREDIBLY BORING TOPIC! Since you called, you must be VERY INTERESTED in our survey! It should only take MUCH LONGER THAN YOU’D EVER WANT TO SPEND THINKING ABOUT THIS SUBJECT! Question number one…”

Sadly, I was never able to rope a Caller ID Avenger into actually finishing the survey. They always stuttered something incoherent, said goodbye, and hung up as quickly as possible. But I like to think that a few of them may have learned the lesson that a person who doesn’t leave a message is rarely going to be anyone you’d want to talk to anyway.

For a very short time I was answering every phone call like this:

Me: “Situation room. Talk to me.”

Them: “Umm…is Brandon there?”

Me: “There’s no one by that name with the proper security clearance. Sir! (or “Ma’am!”) You DO realize what number you just called, don’t you?”

Them: “Ummm…”

Usually, I would say something like: “THIS is a SECURE LINE. Please type your badge ID into the numeric keypad on your touch-tone phone! Now!” This would typically cause them to hang up immediately. Once I got a call right back, as apparently they thought they might have misdialed, and as soon as I barked out “Situation roo-” they said “Fuck!” and hung up.

Sadly, this caused more trouble than it was worth, so I simply just stopped answering the phone for a while.