Thursday, February 7, 2013

My phone

Who has a landline in addition to their cell phone?

*raises hand*

My husband insists we don't need one, and that our phones are fine. But when I've got a kid who has a non-zero chance of dropping my phone in a cup of water, and I've already personally thrown my phone in with the wash, I feel more comfortable having that extra phone in the house. It's like for emergencies. I may not use it, but I feel safer knowing it's there.

That said, I hate our landline. Roughly 100% of the calls we get on it are from people giving surveys or trying to sell us stuff. And if someone else called, actually for us? We'd never know. Because we finally turned the ringer volume off because we were so irritated by these spam calls. I got sick of my husband saying, "Put us on your do-not-call list!" Because they never do.

Once, many years ago, I agreed to answer a phone survey. I guess I felt sorry for the surveyer, because what a crappy job. She said it would be just a few minutes, and she starts asking me if I saw various movies and how I'd rate each one on some stupid scale. After about ten of these, I was getting a little sick of it and told her so. She said, "Just a few more." Except she kept going, naming more and more obscure movies. Finally, I literally had to hang up on her because she would not stop.

Maybe I'm missing something, but what's the point? What's the point of forcing someone to rate 20 billion movies, none of which they've ever seen, trying to force them to stay on the phone until they completely run out of patience and have to hang up on you?

27 comments:

  1. Unplug your landline, but keep a handset handy for when the power's out and someone needs an ambulance. Cell towers are supposed to have battery backups, but it's been repeatedly made clear that those are grossly inadequate.

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  2. We have a landline, and give the number to our friends and family, so we do use it some (although we also use my cell). We just wait to see who's calling before we pick up, most of the time.

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  3. The do not call list per company does not exist. Register your number at donotcall.gov to stop the madness! It works for landlines and cell phones also. Made a huge difference!

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    1. Yeah, we're on that. Doesn't seem to help.

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  4. I have two practical suggestions for your cellphone-destroying woes:

    1) Consider an Otterbox case. They look big and bulky in pictures (I've never seen one in person), but they have cases that are waterproof and impact-resistant.

    2) Keep your old cellphones as backups. If you're using AT&T, T-Mobile, or another service that uses GSM, jumping between phones is as easy as removing your SIM card and sticking it in the other phone. If you use Verizon, Sprint, or another service that uses CDMA, you'll have to call them to re-activate your old phone, but it isn't a terribly long or difficult process.

    There are still valid reasons to have a landline for some emergency situations... but I still view it as a frivolous expense. Haven't had one for close to ten years.

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    1. I keep my phone in my pocket though and I don't want it to be gigantic. And having an old cell phone around helps if I wash it, but not if my kid hides it and the only way to find it is to call it (has happened multiple times).

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    2. I only have my cellphone, so when I lose it I can call it from wheresmycelllphone.com

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    3. Check out lifeproof cases (lifeproof.com or Best Buy). They are waterproof & shockproof and have a very slender profile. A surgery resident introduced me to them. Her selling points were that she could chuck it across the room at annoying interns & talk to her mom while taking a shower. I still don't know if she was joking about the intern thing...

      - Ally, med student

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  5. I almost gave up my landline last weekend, but then stuck with it because of emergency calls and a strange attachment to the old technology. Have you at least got a really pared down phone plan? I was able to get mine down to just $10 a month but cutting out all the features.

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    1. Yeah, I don't think we pay much for it. I think a small monthly fee is worth the peace of mind. I just wish I didn't have to turn it off when it's not in use.

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  6. I keep my land line for emergencies and never answer it when it rings (unless I'm on call). If it's someone I want to talk to they usually call my cell phone. I have a LifeProof case for my iPhone that is waterproof and shock resistant. Kind of like the Otterbox case but not at all bulky. The calls I love the most are the ones that come at 9pm on Sunday night. I answer it because I am usually on call Sunday night but it is always some salesman. Who thinks they should call someone at 9pm on a Sunday? That just seems beyond rude to me.

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  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Thank you but you don't need to point out spam to me. I just can't delete them immediately but I definitely notice them.

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  8. you can use google voice to block the callers.

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  9. Cell phones don't work in many areas where I live, including my house, so a land line is a must. I also like not being available at all times, so I rarely have my cell phone turned on.

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  10. Interesting question you raise. During the week following Hurricane Sandy, cell reception was spotty and inadequate, not to mention the difficulty of finding places to recharge. But the landlines didn't work because telephone poles were down--making it clear that a landline is not necessarily a backup in emergencies. (Maybe only in places where all lines are underground.) Probably this is pluralistic ignorance, but my European friends only have cells (they tell me landlines are way too expensive). So maybe despite the risk of loss/damage connected with small, portable phones, having only a cell is the wave of the future?

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  11. My greatest fear pertaining to this came true for me...

    We don't have a landline. One weekend when I was oncall & my husband (back up phone!) was out of town, literally, my dog ate my phone. She has a thing about carrying things out her doggie door into the backyard when we leave home & I had left home to go back to the hospital, forgetting my phone on the couch. Doggie carried it outside & didn't chew it up per se, but did put a tooth mark into the glass that prevented any useful operations on it. I FLIPPED. Then, after I calmed down, I ran up to Walmart (Target was NOT helpful) and bought a $25 crappo phone with about 15 min on it & got through the night. The next day I got a new phone. We still don't have a landline. This was clearly not my most shining moment in life, but I get a laugh out of it now.

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  12. Maybe it was secretly a survey testing the patience or politeness of people. :)

    I live in Scotland and have a landline (which almost never gets used for incoming calls), but I use it to call my parents back in Canada. I HATE talking on a cell phone.

    I have a mobile phone but have adopted my dad's policy. It's for my convenience not everyone else. So it is frequently off or on silent and I don't answer.

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  13. I have kept my landline for two reasons. The first is having lived through a storm in which all the cell towers blew down. No cell service for 2 weeks, but the landlines were fine. The second is 911. If I use my landline to call 911, it automatically pinpoints my house. If I am too sick to talk, or if someone has broken in and I don't want them to hear me talking, dispatch will send someone for a welfare check. Okay, there's a third: I use it as a home fax line.

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  14. Ha ha. Did anyone besides Crissy O comment on the survey? More blog fodder: How come every time you go to the Toyota place to get your oil changed you get spammed with surveys to answer? Or to the freaking grocery store? Or even from your friendly national medicine organization to whom you can't help sending money every year to maintain membership? I mean GOD. The last thing I have time to do in my day is fill out a freaking survey. On my oil change, for goodness sake. As if that is worth surveying - just change my oil so I don't burn my engine out like I did in college (sorry Dad!). And leave me the hell alone about how I feel about my experience with the oil change. I do not need oil change therapy. I'm just glad I don't have that overdue maintenance light on that has been glaring at me for a month from my dashboard, thank you very much.

    I do love your empathy for the person with that crappy job. Such a softie at heart. With a limit - good for you.

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  16. You're throwing your money away with a landline!

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  17. I still have a landline because I'd like to be able to make calls in the event I lose or break my cell phone...or maybe the cell network goes down. If the phone lines go down maybe I'll consider getting a satellite phone, or learn how to send Morse code by smoke signals.

    Interesting tidbit about the surveys...my dad decided to answer a survey by a psych grad or phd student once. He answered questions for about 10 minutes and he said they questions became ridiculous and completely unrelated. He finally asked the kid if they were studying how long people would stay on the phone and answer questions...he was right.

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  18. I have an Ooma phone. It's through the Internet.

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  19. Until my kids are out of the house, I'll always have a landline. Between older kids checking in after school who aren't always responsible with cell phone, to babysitters who don't always have a phone (or have a different carrier that happens to have crappy coverage at our house), a house line is important and used insurance. I hate hearing my kids call friends, only getting moms number, and having no way to reach their kid, who you know is just sitting home bored. My sister only has a cell phone, with her oldest kids having cell phones. There has been times the younger kids had no way to reach anyone, and thank goodness nothing huge has come up. Not to mention the poor houseguest who may have all of the before mentioned problems. My point: if you have kids at home its worth the expense and peace of mind to have one. We don't regret it at all, the money isn't wasted.
    But the above suggestion is great: turn off the ringer! Our phone has a blue light that flashes during calls. That's enough if we were interested to look at caller ID. And its not a big deal to turn it on as needed.

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  20. I was once employed as a 'telephone interviewer.' most of our surveys were political.

    We were told that the same people were not called again and again because our system used an auto-dialer. This was a lie. The only way to be removed from 'the list' was to ask for a supervisor and ask the supervisor to remove your number from the list.

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