An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

The People of the Caller ID

My friend T used to write a blog called Poocakes. It is, alas, no more, but she did one of the best rants I've read on people who use their caller ID units as answering machines.

Caller ID people, as they're known, come home, check their caller ID units and then sit and call every number that has called them throughout the day, familiar or not, to find out who was calling them and why. T and I share the opinion that Caller ID people suck the pituitary glands out of dead chickens. We think they should be tied down and forced to watch multiple reruns of Small Wonder and She's the Sheriff until they learn the valuable lesson that there are better things a person can do with their time. (Says the guy with nothing better to do than write a blog.)

At the time of her rant, Theresa had the misfortune of working as a receptionist in a medium large non-profit organization and was constantly plagued by Caller ID people calling their office back to find out who had called them and what they wanted. Theresa would point out to them that there were 40 people who worked in the building any one of whom might have been the culprit. This never seems to matter to Caller ID people, though.

Our point is, if someone didn't leave a message on the answering machine in the first place, it probably wasn't important enough to matter. And if the Caller ID person doesn't own an answering machine, well they need to get off their butts and go get one. Right Now! I mean, for Shank's sake, they're dirt cheap these days! People get `em in the bottom of cereal boxes! So if knowing who called you and why is so all-fired important then join the rest of us in the 21st century and go get an answering machine! It's not like you have to feed it or anything. Just put it in a corner, record a nice outgoing message, join the call-screener's union and quit calling everybody all the time. (And this goes double for you people who have books put on hold for you at the library and then are never home when we call. You folks frustrate the ever-living just-you-nevermind out of me!)

*sips nerve tonic*

Today we had one at work. A lady named Tammi called to ask why someone from the "liberry" had "called me on my phone." Mrs. A took Tammi's name and asked around if any of us had had reason to call this woman. We had not. Mrs. A explained to Tammi that none of the employees had called her and suggested a patron might have borrowed our phone to do so. Nope. Caller ID people don't care for logic. Tammi insisted that she had no business with the library so there was no reason for anyone to have called her from it and she wanted to know why we had anyway. Mrs. A tried to defend our good name, but it was to no avail and Tammi hung up, irritated.

Something about Tammi's name rang a bell with Mrs. A, though. Sure enough, a quick check of our computer login sheet showed that either Tammi herself or perhaps a relative of Tammi's named Tommi (we were never quite sure, as the handwriting was so poor) who shared Tammi's last name, had been in and had used one of the patron computers today. We theorize this person probably even borrowed the phone to call home. If it was daughter Tommi, it makes sense. If it was Tammi herself, though, she maybe needs to cut back on the weed. The jury's still out.

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