Telephone Protocol

In the olden days, hanging up on someone during a phone call was considered very rude. Hanging up was used to show how mad you were or how much you didn’t want to talk to the person on the other end of the line. I remember watching my grandpa yell into the phone and slamming it down with the force of a sledgehammer. The incident left me scared out of my wits, and I wasn’t the one being yelled at and cut off. Also in the olden days, we were taught proper telephone etiquette: how to take messages, how to relay messages, how to speak politely, and how to end the call. Abruptly hanging up on someone was improper etiquette and should never be done. I followed the rules for many decades. Then along came telemarketers…

Nowadays, telephone etiquette has been replaced with self-preservation against the scammers and robocalls. I’m afraid to answer calls from numbers I don’t know, but I’m also afraid NOT to answer them. More than once, unknown numbers have turned out to be people who wanted to buy books from me or wanted my help in writing their own. Sometimes it’s someone I left a message for and they are returning my call. I don’t want to miss those calls, but how can I screen out the ones I don’t want to answer? And what should you do when you answer and it’s not who you hoped it would be?

Telemarketers started out as people who called at all hours trying to sell something. Their repeated calls evoked angry responses requesting they never call us again. I usually stuck with my proper telephone etiquette and added the word please. They didn’t listen because they’d call back over and over again. It became such a nuisance Congress established the Do Not Call registry. That worked for about a year or two before the scammers and telemarketers figured out ways around it (or ignored it) and the calls started over again. The interruptions continue to be annoying and irritating.

So what do you do when a telemarketer calls or you get a robocall? I hang up. Even if it’s a real-live person calling, I hang up on them. I can’t slam the phone down like Grandpa did (us old folks know what that is), but I might if I could. It’s very rude, but I don’t know of any other protocol for ending an unwanted call. If I know it’s a scam and a real person is on the other end of the call, I ask them if they know what the Bible says about stealing from people. That usually causes them to hang up on me. I don’t mind who hangs up on whom, just as long as the call is ended as quickly as possible.

I supposed it’s a sign of the times, people preying on the gullible and innocent. I wonder if telemarketers and scammers put as much effort into honorable work as they did crime, how far would they go? Life would surely be much better for them. I don’t understand their minds for thinking taking advantage of others is a good way to earn a living. So I don’t mind being rude to them or hanging up. It’s the new telephone protocol.

One Comment
  1. Sigh. Telephones. I’m happy to hang up on un-wanteds and then block the number. Worse for me is that my phone dings when my service provider wants me to know they sent me my e-bill. At 3 am. And I don’t know how to tell my phone not to ding. Love/hate technology.

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