September 8, 2005

What's Up?


  • Yesterday, driving to work, I saw a message formed out of ribbons tied to an overpass on Rt. 195 East. It looked like it said: BUSHIT. I wasn’t able to get a picture because I was on my way to a meeting, and later in the day it had been removed.
  • This morning I saw a woman driving a car with a medium sized dog on her lap. The dog’s head was out the window, but it was between her and the steering wheel. That doesn’t seem safe to me. Not for her, other drivers and especially not for the dog.
  • I had a call on my voice mail at work today when I got in. It was a screechy voice yelling: “Hello? What?” and then the expected hangup. Later, I got a call from a woman (different voice) asking if it was the Jehova’s Witness something-or-other office. I said “Hello? What?” Actually, I told her she’d dialed wrong, which is a common mistake. My number starts with “999.” Let’s say it’s “999-1234.” So I get lots of calls from people with numbers like “912-3400” or “912-3452” because they hit “9” too many times without knowing it, “999-1234-00” and the phone ignores that they hit the “00” because they’ve already dialed my number. That’s how it happens, but I don’t know why we get so many wrong numbers here.
Posted by James at September 8, 2005 11:26 AM
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Ah, yes the wrong number screamer.

In my former life, I was office manager for a small software company named HMI.

Well, that also happened to be the name of a methadone clinic (Habit Management Institute), and not a week went by without at least one call from a junkie. The calls usually went like this:

Me: "Hello, HMI."

Junkie: "Yah. You got an office on Topeka Street?"

Me: "Oh, you must be calling for the methadone clinic."

Junkie: "Oh! Ah..."

One morning, I picked up the voice mail from the main number, and all I heard was a guy who sounded kind of sad and slightly out of it:

"Hello? Hello m'am? Hello lady? You said you was gonna pick me up at the traaaaaiiin station."

Posted by: Patti M. at September 8, 2005 12:10 PM

Long ago, in Florida, I got a message from Aunt Minnie needing a ride home from church next Sunday. She sounded old and/or sickly. Of course I do not have an Aunt Minnie and she didn't leave a number or anything so I had no way of letting her or anyone else know that Aunt Minnie would possibly be standing around on a blazing hot sunny sidewalk for hours.

Usually I just ignore messages that are left for a wrong number, but if they leave a number and it sounds important, sometimes I think of Aunt Minnie and call them back.

Posted by: Julie at September 8, 2005 1:31 PM

I always try to call back if they leave a number. But, sadly, I get plenty of calls with no number.

In my outgoing message I am always very explicit that callers should leave their contact information. But someone who can't tell I am not their intended audience is also probably not thinking to leave their contact info, even if they are reminded.

Posted by: James at September 8, 2005 1:39 PM

In a similar situation, I often get someone else's email at the university. Ever month or so I have to contact someone and tell them that I don't think they meant to send this email to me.

Sometimes, the emails have sensitive info. Only about half the time do I get an apologetic reply. When I get no reply, I wonder if it is sometimes out of embarassment, because I really have no responsibility to set these people straight. But I feel it is polite, and I'm always surprised when I don't get a polite "thanks" in return.

I mean, if I didn't reply, this person would just go on thinking their mail had gone through.

I was on the opposite end once. Someoen was getting all the mail from my manager once, and i was getting none of it. For months. When we finally realized it, we contacted her and asked why she didn't tell anyone she was getting these emails and it just hadn't occured to her. She was just deleting them.

Posted by: James at September 8, 2005 1:44 PM

For a while after I moved to New Bedford I was getting occasional messages from people wanting the Wal Mart Portrait Studio. (Directory Assistance was giving out the wrong number.) Usually I just did as any Wal Mart employee would do, and ignored them. But one person sounded really upset and I did call her back to let her know that I wasn't going to be able to do her pictures because I don't have a camera.

Posted by: Julie at September 8, 2005 1:55 PM

Someone I worked with was one number off from a pizza parlor. She eventually got pretty tired of it, and occasionally would tell the person placing the order for a large cheese "Ok 15 minutes" and hang up.

Posted by: Patti M. at September 8, 2005 2:52 PM

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