Cell phones…everyone’s got ’em, but few people know how to use ’em correctly (including myself). Are there things that irk you about cell phones and failures in cell phone etiquette? Here’s a rambling, tangental commentary on some of the things that get under my skin in the mobile world. This installment focuses on voicemail:
Here’s a hypothetical voicemail message that makes two common mistakes: ‘Hey, you’ve reached Phillip Bethancourt. Sorry, I can’t take your call right now. Please leave a message and I’ll call you back as soon as I can.’
First, ‘you’ve reached Phillip Bethancourt’ is a blatant lie. Have you really reached Phillip Bethancourt or have you just reached my voicemail? That’s right–if you had reached me, then I would be speaking to you; but you haven’t reached me, so you are listening to an automated recording of my voice. There are solid Christians as well as pagans all over the world breaking the 9th commandment with this statement multiple times a day without knowing it. Repent!
Second, ‘leave a message and I’ll call you back as soon as I can’ is the type of statement that puts people in an ethical quandary on a regular basis. Do you really want to front-end a commitment to call someone back as soon as you can before you know who it is or what they want? I know I don’t. When you leave this on your message and don’t call someone back, it results in a broken promise. Keep breaking promises too many times and no one is going to trust you!
What about marathon message intros? You call someone and their voicemail intro lasts about an hour. You know, the ones that are so long that you can eat dinner and go to the bathroom before you get the chance to leave your message. If the person is a believer (especially if a female), it may include phrases such as ‘I hope you’re having a blessed day’. After a long intro from them, it is virtually impossible to leave any sort of meaningful message without going over a minute. So, when you hang up and the timer is at 1:03, it is a joy-killer. Listen, I know you want me to have a blessed day, but you are stealing my blessing by putting me over a minute with your long voice mail intro!
I think the cell phone companies have a voicemail conspiracy going. You know what I’m talking about–after the person you are calling leaves their voicemail intro, you get an automated voice that sucks away valuable seconds of your 1 minute with phrases like this: ‘to leave a voice message press 1’, ‘if you would like to leave a numeric page, press 5’, ‘after you have finished leaving your message, you may hang up or press 1 for more options’. Thank you Captain Obvious! Like we wouldn’t know this stuff without you telling us every time we call someone. The real reason this is going on is a cell phone company cartel trying to put us over a minute on those voicemail messages. Don’t be deceived!
As I promised, this is a rambling tangental concoction of cell phone voicemail woes. What else bothers you in the realm of cell phone voice mail? My hope is that we, the faithful few, can revolutionize the voicemail world to make it a more enjoyable place for all. Maybe its time to reevaluate your voicemail message or exercise some church discipline on others who are in violation!