Stop unwanted phone calls

how to stop those annoying, unwanted phone calls.

I will flesh this post out but, let me start with saying that I never — ever — answer a phone call from a number I don’t recognize.

There are several reasons I have adopted this approach:

  • I don’t have the time
  • I have never had a good experience with unsolicited pitches
  • If I don’t know you, I likely don’t really want to hear from you unannounced
  • I have shit to do

That is a pretty selfish sounding list.

The fact is, I likely do have the time to talk – I just don’t want to.

11Back in the days when we all had land lines, we were conditioned to jump up and answer the phone (or the doorbell for that matter) the minute we heard it because it could be important. Over the years, I noticed that, more and more, the calls were meaningless sales calls, surveys, political polls, etc. It really started after many of us began using email and texting to communicate more immediately and also when cellphones became the norm.

It was at this point that I noticed the only phone calls I received on the landline were the unwanted ones. The exception to this was my mother and mother-in-law. Everyone we cared to hear from either texted, emailed, or called the cellphone.

That was the end of the landline, long distance charges, unwanted sales pitches, and the Pavlovian response to hearing the ring of a house phone. Nowadays, the sound just makes me cringe.

With this weight removed, it now seems such an old-fashioned burden to actually answer the phone. Obviously, there are plenty of people in my life with whom I would like to to speak. The fact is, I have plenty of time to talk on the phone. But, to spend that time with someone who is trying to sell me something? Not gonna happen.

So, to the list above:

I have the time but, I will not squander it for an unsolicited sales pitch. If you are not in my contact list, there is a huge chance that is why you are calling. Sorry, I am not answering. If you don’t leave a message, you will likely be blocked from future calls. I know, I am an asshole.

I used to jump to the phone and the doorbell. I would listen earnestly to the stories and examine the offers and products. Some had merit on the surface, some did not. Every time — and I mean every single time — that I felt that I was going to get a good deal or the right thing to make things good, I was disappointed pretty shortly after the salesperson was out of reach. Call me a cynic. I am. I never — ever — respond to unsolicited pitches. Not doorbells, surveys at the mall, emails, online ad, and especially not phone calls.

If your number is not in my contact list and you show as an unknown number, you likely fall into one of the two previous descriiptions. I often engage with new people. I try to get their contact information up front. This doesn’t always happen. When they call me for the first time, I won’t pick up the call and they will leave a message (I would hope). I then add their info to my contacts and return the call as immediately as possible (I am not that much of an asshole). If the call isn’t worth leaving a message, we’re done.

Everyone has “shit” to do. Sometimes it’s pretty trivial. You know, keeping up with Facebook, organizing your email, finding the new cool desktop background. But, sometimes you are in a shit storm that takes some effort from which to extricate yourself. An emergency with work or family, for example. No matter how trivial or serious my current “shit”, my time is more important than someone attempting to get into my wallet.

Now, to more accurately address the title of this post. Do you remember the days of the yellow and white pages? The phone company would actually publish and deliver books to every home and business in town that listed the phone number and address of every single one of their customers. Can you imagine this today? Millions of tons of paper books delivered to every doorstep containing the most valuable information that internet marketers now pay dearly for? Your phone number is the holy grail to internet marketers. It is second only to your email address as the most valuable piece of information to start targeting you as a potential customer.


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