I can’t talk right now because…

I currently work at an outbound call center for an education company. My coworkers and I are rarely welcome callers.  We know that.  We accept that. But those few people at the other end of the phone who do want to talk to us help make this job less miserable. This post is not about those people.

Following is a list of some of the more interesting reasons people give us for not wanting to talk at the moment. Let me just remind you, dear readers, that these people answered a phone call from an unknown number before giving us these excuses reasons.

Starting with the most common and mundane

    I am at work. (So you could answer your phone a few seconds ago, but NOW you can’t talk on it?)

    I am in class. (COME ON, TEACHERS!)

    I am at [insert sport here] practice.

Delving further into the category of Why Did You Answer Your Phone In The First Place?

    I am at the spa. (Jealous.)

    I am getting my nails done. (You risked smudging your manicure for nothing?)

    My baby is crying. (Really?  I HADN’T NOTICED.)

    I’m in Walmart.

    I’m in public. (I didn’t think that was against the law or even the custom here.)

    I’m out to lunch with someone. (So it was acceptable to answer your phone in front of that person’s face, but talking on it is toeing the line.)

    My phone is out of minutes. (The phone was a landline.)

We are now fully in the category of WHAT THE F*** ARE YOU DOING ANSWERING YOUR PHONE?

    I’m in an interview. (I hope this isn’t a job you are hoping to land.)

    I’m in a meeting. (I hope this isn’t a job you are hoping to keep.)

    I’m walking into a funeral. (Silence your damn phone already!)

    I just had surgery and I’m kind of loopy. (Sounds great, let’s party.)

And our final category can only be summed up in one word with lots of punctuation: SERIOUSLY?!?!?!

    I’m in the shower.

    I’m being arrested.

    He/she is in jail.

I’m not here to berate people for not wanting to talk on the phone whenever someone calls. Just remember: you can refrain from answering the phone (and in fact, there times when I hope you do).  Teenagers haven’t learned that yet, but I hope that someday they do. Blaming other people for disturbing us when we have the power to say no is just not a healthy habit.

And one note on singing voicemails: No one does a good job. Oh, you actually do?  No, you don’t. Accept it.

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11 comments

  1. Oh! You’ve just talked about the most annoyin’ thing ever. I personally dislike these kind of replies ; especially when I want to talk to a person so bad. Perhaps, it is everyone’s right to be ‘busy’ ( if they actually are at that moment) , but it is still annoyin. Well, in case, it is a lie, here is the stupidest part of it, then why not tellin the truth straightway and let me go to someone else! Honesty is always good, methinks.

    1. I agree. Many people don’t seem to realize that if they tell us that they are not interested, WE WILL STOP CALLING. I think these same people also don’t realize that we on the other side of the phone are also humans who are doing a job to pay our bills. I don’t know anyone who just loves calling people and being hung up on all day.

  2. Oh very nice – love it. Personally I don’t answer the phone unless I know the number and if I do I will listen to see if what they want applies to me (usually when bored or suffering writers block and desperate for diversion). You’re right don’t answer when you can’t talk – it’s not that hard and yes NO ONE should ever ever have a singing message bank message – it is just WRONG

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