At the tone, please leave your stupid message


The device is not new. As long ago as 1898 a man named Valdemar Poulsen invented the Telegraphone. Skip ahead some time and in the 1970’s cassette tape answering devices—though pricey—arrived on the market in the US. By 1982 there were over 800,000 answering machines in the United States.

So I ask you, don’t you think by now people would have a clue as to how to leave a clear, concise, SHORT message with all the pertinent information on a voicemail message?

The answer is NO. Voicemail etiquette needs to be addressed. We are a country of people incapable of leaving a coherent message on voicemail! You know it’s true. In one day I can receive messages, without names, without a return number, with no information at all except heavy breathing, or with so much information they are cut off.

Let us start with the obvious—or less obvious than I thought—YOUR NAME. Handy piece of information if you would actually like a return call. Then, though you all think your number is miraculously left as some sort of hologram in front of me, you might want to leave your number. Going on from there, a brief description of why you are calling. And finally, if you so choose, a friendly send off of your choice. “Toodles”.

I receive calls from people who seem to think they are talking to me. It is the oddest thing. Remarks like, “hold on while I got get the prescription bottle”, was a favorite from work yesterday. Of course my voicemail cut her off when there was silence for too long. Or, the message that has “so, is that ok?” People… it’s a voicemail. I CAN NOT ANSWER YOU.

I suppose my biggest gripe is the unprepared caller. Too often people dial a phone and have NO idea what they are going to say, whether I am there or not. Do me a favor and KNOW before you dial. Because if I am not there you will get my voice mail and have to leave a short, concise, informative message. And if I am there, and you fall into that hesitation from hell, I WILL PUT YOU ON HOLD INDEFINITELY.

So to sum up my voicemail etiquette for today, please get your $h!t together before you DIAL a number. Thank you so much for your time, have a nice day.    🙂

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