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The Joys of Caller ID

I know Caller ID has been around for a long time, but we just got it on our home phone line last year. The convenience of knowing who’s calling won us over on our cell phones, so when I had to call Qwest about our DSL service (faster for less money, but only if you call and ask for it), I added caller id to our line. Through the wonders of Ovolab Phlink, caller ID data shows up all over the place. I wrote a little script that sends the information to our Squeezebox music player, which is conveniently visible in our living room. The same script sends the ID to all the Macs in the house, which display it using LanOSD:

Of course, our phones all show the CID info, too. Oh, and we have a beautiful Danish rotary-dial phone from the 1930s upstairs and I’ve been thinking a matching Nixie tube caller id display would look great next to it. But I digress…

Thanks to the National Do Not Call Registry, we don’t get that many unwanted calls to begin with, but those we do get we can usually identify thanks to Caller ID. Our phones can do distinctive-ring based on caller id, too. So, for those few persistent telemarketers we don’t want to deal with (I’m lookin’ at you, RPI), we set our phones to just not ring at all. If the caller doesn’t leave a message, it’s as though the call never happened. Cool.

Recently, we started getting calls from Telefund, Inc., which apparently does telemarketing work for “the nation’s leading progressive non-profit organizations,” including our local PBS station. They’re pretty persistent. If we just let the machine answer, they call back later in the evening. When this has happened in the past (you’re not off the hook yet, RPI), I’ve eventually given in and answered the call to tell them not to call again.

Yesterday, though, I was feeling particularly annoyed, so I picked up the phone and said “Telefund, Incorporated, how may I help you?” which prompted an immediate hang-up on the other end of the line (and no more calls for the rest of the evening). Ah, bliss. Today, they called again. This time, I answered “Telefund, Incorporated, how may I direct your call?” I expected another hang-up, but instead got a very polite, very flustered, and very apologetic telemarketer. Hmm.