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Grit Your Teeth and Answer the Phone

We’re as tired as anyone of phone calls to extend our car warranties or to pay our back taxes before the FBI knocks on our door, but sometimes you need to answer the phone. Spam calls are more than nuisances when they hinder businesses from meeting their customers’ emergency needs.

Here’s our own example.

We were on a recent car trip to Vermont with a car club. When you combine mountains and remote, winding roads, you usually don’t get good cell phone coverage. On one stretch of road, we must have hit the last cell tower for miles and miles when Danit saw a text from our daughter about a client emergency. It took us some 45 minutes to reach our destination – and there was still no cell service.

So, Danit asked if we could use their landline telephone to call the client. And that’s where the problem didn’t get any better. The call went to the answering machine, and Danit was halfway through leaving a message when someone picked up. They said they didn’t recognize the phone number, and that’s becoming a particularly troublesome sign of our times.

We are so bombarded with robocalls and unwanted sales calls that we tend to ignore a number we don’t recognize and listen to a message before responding. We need to have a little more flexibility, especially if you have a computer emergency or might be expecting a call from a doctor’s office or some other service provider. We all need to recognize that with modern phone systems and with people using cell phone numbers they’ve had from other cities, we might not see a number we expect. But at the same time, you may need to pick up that unknown number.

We hope that service providers can make sure their names appear on their caller ID for their outgoing calls to make them easier to spot. We know, however, that it may not be possible or practical.

Unfortunately, we’ll wind up getting junk calls, but we need to make sure we don’t miss that important call. It could be a matter of life and death.

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