Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Leave a Message - seriously, put it down and step back

I love getting voice message. Seriously, I love me some voice mail. Combined with caller ID it's the greatest invention of the 20th Century.

Ok, well maybe not the greatest, but it's up there...somewhere below the polio vaccine and above reality TV.

Like I said, I love getting messages...

...except this one:

"Hi Steve, it's Jim*, call me back - I need to tell you something."
No. No you don't need to tell me something. If you had a need to tell me something, then you (write this part down)

That's what voice mail is for. It doesn't say "wait for the tone and ramble" it says "wait for the tone and LEAVE A MESSAGE."

What Jim has in this case is not a need to tell me something. Instead he has a clear, somewhat creepy, need to be spoken too; to have someone respond to his plea for attention. What the message really says is:
"Hi Steve, it's Jim. No one is on facebook and I'm starting to doubt my worth in the world. Please call me back and reaffirm my belief that someone out there stil -"
Oops, sorry about that, force of habit.

Now I know sometimes what you mean is "we need to discuss [this project/the test results/your background check]," but at least give me a heads up - let's move the bar a little folks.

Of course, sometimes I get the really idiotic "non-message." For instance, this gem:

"Hi Steve, this is George** from Faulk & Leavem Printing. I've got the quote you wanted for the 2000 copies of your 'How to Leave a Message' brochure....

...call me back."


* For what it's worth, Jim usually leaves very informative - slightly slurred - messages; often with graphic detail.

** This is a celebrity impersonation - George Hamilton did not appear in this rant.


  1. Jim's oddities aside (because he does have many), I have to disagree. Sometimes you want to be able to hear someone else's reaction to what you have to tell them. In which case, leaving a voicemail message completely robs you of the pleasure of the call.

    Other people are just lazy.

    That is all.

  2. Well, that kinda falls under the "We need to discuss..." version of the message, I would think.

    Yes, if you want to the true surprise, you shouldn't leave details. Maybe you should just hang up and call back every 10 minutes or so until you get the person live (or until the Judge tells you to stop).

  3. The "creepy, need to be spoken to" is clearly our next door neighbor.


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