Saturday, August 12, 2006

Mr Angry's rules for handling wrong numbers

Inspired by a recent post from Michelle on MutantKat, I decided to share with you several of my experiences with wrong numbers and some Mr Angry rules to help you deal with them in the future.

As a general rule when I get a wrong number I make sure to ask them what number they were calling. I don't tell them my number (there are too many freaks in the world - you never know what's going to encourage them to call you back) but I make sure to ask them what number they were calling. This is important because they may actually have your number and will simply ring back (they wrote it down wrong or something). Other times they will have simply misdialled and you can let them know so they call the right number.

This works two ways - if you dial a wrong number don't just hang up. Make sure you sort out why you got a wrong number. I fucking hate it when people hang up without saying anything.

Mind you, clarifying the nature of the wrong number can have some unexpected side effects. One time a guy called my mobile asking for "Cheryl". I checked what number he had and it was my actual number. I told him I'd had this number for years and I'd never heard of Cheryl. He sounded disappointed. Then I said maybe he wrote the number down wrong. He sounded pissed off and said "She wrote the number down, I didn't get it wrong." I thought yeah, whatever and hung up.

Call me slow, but it took me a minute to realise that what had obviously happened. This bloke had tried his best chat-up lines at some bar and thought he'd scored when "Cheryl" gave him "her" number. Pity she gave him a fake number. Sucks to be a loser.

So as you can see, I'm usually quite reasonable about wrong numbers. There was one time when I wasn't so tolerant. A few years ago, my home number was one digit different to a nearby hotel so I would get a lot of wrong number calls looking for the hotel. I don't know what sort of clientele this place attracted but one thing about them was they tended to want to book in during the wee hours of the morning. This resulted in periodic awakenings.

I don't know about you, but if my phone rings at 3am I assume it means someone's dead so I always answer. Most of the time I was pretty reasonable but one night this same guy kept calling. The first I said wrong number - I checked with him and he had the right number but he'd mis-dialed it. The second time a said a bit more slowly and clearly (the guy's English was quite limited) this is a private home, not a hotel, it's the middle of the night, please take more care when you dial the number. The third time I screamed down the line JESUS FUCKING CHRIST IT'S THREE FUCKING AM WILL YOU STOP CALLING THIS NUMBER YOU FUCKING MORON!

He called again.

So I answered in a different voice and said yes this is the such-and-such hotel. He asked if he was able to check in. I said no. He said is it too late? I said no, but you sound foreign and frankly we don't want your type here. He got angry. I said several rather crude things that questioned his parentage. He screamed don't say things about my mother. I said several more rather mean things that impugned his mother's personal hygiene. He threatened me. I said, oh yeah? Come down here and try it big man.

I don't know what happened after that but I didn't get any more phone calls.

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