Friday, April 15, 2011

Cutting the cord

Call blocking

I finally, finally ended my landline service.

I knew it was time last fall when political candidate robo-calls were ringing the phone off the hook. (See solution, above.)

But the last straw came this week with the daily calls from a collections agency. They weren't after me, mind you. It's a neighbor they're targeting and they seemed to find me via a criss-cross directory or something. Of course it was also a robo-call. They did provide an option to "press 2" if you're not the person they're trying to reach. Unfortunately, that just results in a recording telling you to call an 800 number to clear things up.

Bullshit!

I blame the phone companies for being unable to manage their networks and keep scammers and other lawbreakers from exploiting them. Of course I'm registered on the federal Do Not Call list, but that only works for legitimate enterprises. Fraudulent telemarketers don't care about the list. And it's wide open to charities and political organizations. The least the phone companies can do is provide some kind of free call-blocking service.

I had just two reservations over cutting the cord. One was that it didn't seem professional to do business over a cell phone, but in the past couple of years more and more of my clients are actually doing most of their business on their mobiles.

My second concern was that I'd have to start using my cell number when filling out forms, applications, etc., and then I'd start getting telemarketing calls there. But then my brother offered an elegant solution. He just gives out his canceled landline number. Problem solved!

The AT&T lady only had one argument. She informed me that when calling 911, the landline automatically gives your address to dispatchers, while with the cell phone you have to tell them. I'm okay taking that risk. I figure I'm a few years away from "fallen and I can't get up" territory.

It's ridiculous that I've paid $50 a month for a phone that basically served as spam folder for unwanted callers. That money can now be put to far better use: data plans for my iPhone and iPad.

It felt a little weird this morning picking up the phone and getting no dial tone, then disconnecting the units from the walls. But I've always hated the phone anyway. I hate the interruption, I hate that terrible sound, I hate talking on the phone. If you want to reach me, email me, text me, message me, FB me.

Just don't call me. The fact that Miss Manners approves is of immense comfort.

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