Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wrong-number message; what do you do?

What do you do, when you listen to a message on your answering machine or voice-mail, and you know the message was not intended for you? Do you just delete it, or do you call the person back to let him know that he left the message at the wrong number?

Yesterday I was gone all day and, when I returned home, there was a message from a man whose name I did not recognize. He was trying to reach a government agency about an important matter, and someone had furnished my home number as that agency's fax number.

Just a couple of weeks ago I received calls for two County offices, after callers found my home number listed on some website (surely, not the website for those offices).

I could tell from yesterday's message that the caller needed to know that he had not reached the agency he was trying hard to contact, so I called him back. For reasons not necessary to describe here, I had to call four times to reach him. After we connected, I could tell that it was worth it to try to help him.

When Harvest Moon Restaurant opened on the Woodstock Square, their phone number was one digit off from my first home number in Woodstock. The Old English script on their cards caused the "1" in their phone number to be misread for a "7", and callers reached me. I lost track of the number of calls I received for the restaurant. If I answered, I just gave the caller the correct number. If the caller had left a message regarding reservations, I just called Harvest Moon and relayed the number of diners and the time at which the restaurant should expect them.

Hey, it's a small town! And they thanked me by inviting me to dinner one night. It was a fine restaurant, and I was sorry to see it change ownership and then, later, close.


Ellen said...

Gus, like you I decide the importance of the call. I have on numerous occasions called the person to let them know they had the wrong #.
Here at my work on campus if someone forgets to dial 9 for an outside line they get my work # instead of the Ronald McDonald house. I always explain that they have to dial 9 first from a campus phone. They are usually trying to call from the University hospital.

DownByTheRiver said...

I almost always call back.

One really paid off. For many years, we used to routinely get calls for "Janice". After talking to her callers over the years, we came to realize that "Janice's" diction was poor, and that our number "ryhmed" in some way with hers.

Years later, came home to a message for someone trying to get a hold of her, because "Janice" had found this woman's purse on a subway platform and had left a message for her.

I called her back, explained the situation, and we went through an alternative list of "ryhmeing" numbers.

The next day, she called back in tears with profusive thanks in helping to recover her purse.

Made my month!

DownByTheRiver said...

On the other end of the spectrum, had a drunk call from a bar on his cell at 2:30 AM, 3, and then 4. Too drunk to drive, wanted a ride, lost his wallet so cab not an option, etc, etc. Got a buddy's number wrong, yet calling me for help!

I finally blocked his number, yet took the time to call him at 9:oo AM to be sure to wake him in the midst of his hangover, then called again at 10 & 12, repeatedly waking him up to return the favor.

When he finally admitted to me he was a stupid ass, my work was done!