phone fail

Every time the phone rings, another small child gets its wings

The phone rings.  I happen to be standing next to it at the time and Terry is downstairs, so I have no option but to answer the stupid ringy thing (See Phones, Amber’s Irrational Hatred Of for more info on this). I glare at it it for a couple of seconds, hoping it will somehow sense my hatred and stop ringing, but of course this doesn’t happen, so I heave a heavy sigh and pick it up.

Only to be greeted by a freaking ROBOT.

GOD. I hate this. Why are recorded messages allowed to call me in my home? Why is this not illegal? (Actually, come to think of it: is this illegal? And if so, what happens to the robot-voices when they’re caught? Is there some kind of Robot Jail they all go to? What if there was a mass breakout from the Robot Jail? WHAT IF, people? See, now I really wish I hadn’t set my imagination off down this track. Anyway…)

Now, the robot that calls us most frequently is a Stepford-sounding American woman who calls us up regularly and says, “CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve just won a… ” And actually, I have no idea what it is we’re supposed to have won because these days she only ever gets as far as “CONGRA….” before it’s a case of handset: meet cradle!

(Yes, we are signed up for the TPS. No, it does not stop The Robots. Nothing stops The Robots.)

Anyway, this time it wasn’t the Congratulating Woman.  This time it was a rather gravelly-voiced Robot Voice who informed me that she was the BT Text Messaging Service, and that someone had sent a text message to my land line. A text message that I would get to hear simply by pressing “1”.

Now, we all know that you never, ever obey the commands of a Robot Voice, especially when you’re 99.8% sure it’s some kind of scam, don’t we? So I’m sure you can all guess what I did, can’t you?

I pressed “1”. No, I have no idea why.  I mean, I don’t even like text messages. They confuse and panic me, making me feel like a pensioner as I am forced to take 30 minutes at a time away from my Important Work in order to battle with the predictive texting on my phone to produce a message that invariably says something like, “Ai! Aku dujk, aber!” But I digress.

I pressed “1”. And for my trouble, I got yet another robotic voice who informed me that the call had cost 12p (!), and that this amount could easily feed a small child in Afghanistan for a week. (Which kinda begged the question, why did they not just send the 12p to a small child in Afghanistan instead of using it to phone-spam me? Or did it cost me 12p? So many questions… Well, two.) And that I should now press another button to forward the robotic message on to seven of my friends (Why seven, I wonder? Lucky number, perhaps?) or else the small child in Afghanistan? Would DIE.


The upshot of all of this? I have inadvertently caused the death of a small child in Afghanistan. So sorry. SO going to hell. SO not answering the phone EVER again, lest I kill someone else without meaning to.

Let this be a lesson to you all, folks.  Telephones = danger. Especially if you’re a small child in Afghanistan…

  • Jennifer


    So this was a essentially a chain letter via land line?

    That is illegal, or dammit, it should be! I would expect to see a charge on your next bill for the 12p. Could you call the phone company and report this scam? I bet it is not legal.

    You have a lot of phone trouble, I'm sorry.

    2 nights ago I was startled out of sleep at 3am with the Mystery Faxer. Of course I answered, it could only have been a medical emergency or disaster at that time of night – nope, they got me again.

    September 19, 2008
    • Basically, yes. And I, too, would be surprised if it was legal – I mean, it's basically spam, and there's no way to "unsubscribe" from it, so…

      Sadly, the phone company haven't been much use with stuff like this in the past, but may be worth a try if it happens again.

      And you got hit by the Phantom Faxer – aaargh! Is no one safe?!

      September 20, 2008
  • Erik (Sorrento)


    And its reported that American bombers have been killing innocent Afgans lives. Nope, it's Amber doing the killing.

    I remember test driving a car years ago and the salesman said, acting candidly, "If I don't sell this car, they're going to fire me. And i've got a family to feed!" Well, I didn't buy the car so I'm assuming this guy lost his job and his family starved to death.

    Amber, we are pure evil.

    September 19, 2008
    • Nope, it's been me all along. Am now terrified to answer the phone in case I kill again…

      That's horrendous about the car salesman. Um, not my problem if you have a crappy job that will fire you! Seriously, we can't feel obliged to support *everyone*…

      The other thing I really hate in this vein is the charity collectors who come to the door one after the other, normally after dark. I mean, I'd love to help, but if I helped them ALL I'd be in need of charity myself to feed myself…

      September 20, 2008
      • Mhairi


        Hey Amber

        Got to agree with you about the door-step charity collectors. What a nightmare, they normally turn up when you have just sat down to dinner, or when you are watching a film on TV.

        We had one round the other night. We had the landlords in so told them it was not a good time. They must have sat and waited for the landlords to leave before knocking on the door again and telling David that he needed to sign up with them there and then. He said he would think about it and maybe support them online. They said that if everyone that had said that actually did it then they wouldn't be at people's doors trying to get support. Eventually they left but not before trying to use every guilt inducing tactic in the book.

        You end up feeling guilty for not giving them your bank details but you cant give everyone money, then you would be setting up charity to support yourself.

        September 20, 2008
        • hello! That's horrendous about the pushy charity people – they end up giving the charity they're collecting for a bad name when they do stuff like that. I remember once they came to our door one night at about 9pm, but it was winter so it was picth dark outside. Terry was out at the time and when I opened the door the guy was standing with one foot on the doorstep, as if he was about to come into the house, which scared the crap out of me. Now I just don't answer the door at night, or make Terry do it 🙂

          September 21, 2008
  • Oh, we NEVER answer the phone in our house. Especially if the caller id says "overseas". No-one we know calls us at home so it's a safe bet there will be a robot on the other end.

    September 20, 2008
    • We're forced to answer it, unfortunately, because the business is run from home, so we need to be available for clients. The answerphone goes on at 5pm, though, and after that we only answer to names we recognise on the caller display!

      September 20, 2008
  • Jennifer


    I think it is because of experiences like this that I no longer have a land-line. The real down side to that, though, is that when I lose my mobile, I don't have another phone to call it and have it miraculously return to me 🙁

    I also have my doubts as to whether or not 12p would actually feed a Afghan child – I mean, how small is this child?!

    September 20, 2008
    • Ha, I'd love to not have a land line, but sadly the business requires it. And yes, it is absolutely essential for those "lost mobile" moments – which seem to happen to me aaaall the time!

      September 20, 2008
  • I HATE answering the phone but, like you, have to in case it's a client. I tend to leave the phone answering up to Dave, but since he's away I'm all Official Phone Answerer. I'm extra annoyed when I get these calls now, because since I'm expecting a long distance call from him everyday, I have to leap dripping wet from the shower or pause Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares to get to the phone every time it rings. And when it's a real person tele-spammer when I get there, they soon wish they were in fact a robot.

    <abbr>Check out Amanda's last blog post > getting on the horn</abbr>

    September 20, 2008
    • Yes, Terry is Official Phone Answerer in our house too 🙂 I'm quite lucky because now that I blog full time I don't really have "clients" as such, so I have a good excuse not to answer. Terry still has clients, though, and they are very prone to calling him at stupid times, like 10pm on a Sunday night or 9am on a Saturday morning – gah.

      It's funny how the phone ALWAYS gets you in teh shower though, isn't it? I went through a phase a couple of years ago when Terry used to be out every morning and I could absolutely GUARANTEE that the phone would ring every single time I got into the shower, no matter what time I decided to show it. Every single time without fail. Hate it.

      September 21, 2008