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September 11, 2008

Caller ID withheld

LONDON, England – This might just be me, but more often than not, I’m
finding people withholding their caller ID. My brother was the first to
do it, and it was really annoying as more often than not (given the
time he’d call me, and the fact I’d just ignored his message on my
landline) I’d have a good idea it was him, I couldn’t answer with
anything other than a quizzical hello.

If it was just my brother, I wouldn’t mind (he’s used to being ignored). But it’s becoming increasingly frequent. Some friends have started doing it too.

Over the last few years we’ve seen caller ID find its way into corporate phone networks, so you could see who was calling you from a landline. Now even that seems to be receding with people who previously let themselves be known, before letting themselves be known (as it were), do so no longer.

Aside from the paranoia, the whole withholding thing does give us one big problem though – to answer or ignore. Answering could walk you straight down a corridor of misery, or open the windows onto a garden of delight. Ignoring makes both those problems go away, but throws up a load more hassle if you then have to pick up a voicemail and worse still, respond to it (taking the call in the first place would have been so much easier).

Now, I can’t say that I haven’t employed similar strategies myself. Getting through to someone who doesn’t want to hear from you can be challenging in these well-informed times. But to make it a permanent fixture of one’s calling habits? It’s not worth the hassle in my book. But what if it is. What if, like Charlie’s doing, we’re actually regressing to a much less complicated world? Thoughts, and comments, below.

Photo from Hamed