[An open letter to AT&T rep Mark Siegel in response to David Pogue's "Take Back the Beep" campaign. I sent this in an e-mail to Mr. Siegel at 6:57 p.m. today.]
As an iPhone user, I’m lucky. My voicemail greeting does not burden a caller with an inanely-long “after the beep” message. I realize I’m one of the lucky few, however, because I face this message every time I call someone else.
It has to stop. And not just because of the cost to consumers.
I realize that AT&T needs to make money, and while I wag my finger in shame at using a tactic like the beep message, I understand. I work at a financial institution, and we’re all about using little things, here and there, to draw in more income.
What’s annoying is that it wastes my time. And time, sir, is something I can’t get back.
Like Mr. Pogue mentioned in his article, the basics of leaving a voicemail – which have been with us since the dawn of the answering machine – are known to everyone but the Amish and the corrupt. In fact, many voicemail greetings created by users include the words “you know what to do after the beep” or “leave a message after the beep.” Adding extra instructions without a user’s consent is time wasted.
We’re not long for this Earth, Mr. Siegel. You, or me, or your communications professor from college could go at any time. We live in strange times, after all, and one never knows when the mortality clock could stop ticking. It could happen as I type this. Ever heard of ball lightning?
Anyway, the point is – please let us users decide how much of our friends’ and family’s time to waste. What do you say? Instead of sitting and listening to a laughably-didactic woman tell me I can “page” (is this 1996?) the person on the other end, I just want to leave a message without being accosted by the recorded message. Right?
PS: Fix your service. Half my apartment gets a mediocre reception, while the other half has none at all.