Monday, July 9, 2012

"Dear Abby" gives the wrong answer in today's column

"Honestly mistaken in Plano, Texas" explained that she'd accidentally dialed a couple of wrong numbers.  When no one answered, she just hung up. However, both times, the persons she'd called later called her back.

""The first time," she wrote, "it was an irate mother demanding to know why I was calling her kid's cell phone.  She threatened to call the police .... "  The second caller also was angry with her. "Honestly mistaken's" question was how to respond when this happens again.

Abby's answer was just to apologize the next time. That was not the best answer, right?  If you've been following this blog, you already know the answer.  It is so obvious that I'm going to let one of you readers post the answer as a comment, below.  :-)


  1. She shouldn't have accepted the returned phone calls in the first place, I propose, after glancing at the incoming numbers and determining that she neither recognized nor wished to speak with the callers.

    ~ Jacob

  2. The answer; don't pick up the phone for a caller you don't know.
    If they can't talk to you, then there is no dialogue, and you can't get dragged in too deep or otherwise incriminate yourself.
    A legitimate caller will leave a message. Someone who wants to give you a problem won't. Since it's pretty hard to give an answering machine a hard time.

  3. I'd hate to embarrass myself with the wrong answer but shouldn't she attempt to make her number not visible from caller ID? Then there is no call backs, and no apologies.

  4. I'll go out on a limb here: have the phone company block outgoing caller ID?

  5. If the answer is to use a blocked cell number, that translates to, "no one will answer their phone when I call them" (I never do). If, instead, the answer is to leave your phone off when not in use, it doesn't work for those of us who use our cell for business (gotta answer those calls). It's a tough call either way though.

  6. Don't answer the phone if you don't know who's calling, or are not expecting any calls.

  7. She should have called on a cell phone that did not have her true name or address attached.

  8. use a cell phone not tied to your name or address.

  9. I use a prepaid cell phone with
    none of my personal information attached.
    Also, if I find myself getting unwanted calls
    from the same number, I add that
    number to the "Contacts" of my phone and
    give it the name "Do Not Answer" or "DNA" so that
    shows up if the phone rings and
    I know not to answer the call.

  10. The answer I was looking for was to use Caller ID Blocking. In the rare case where some friend will not answer such calls, I either start with *82, or else I leave a message.

  11. *67 blocks my #
    Also, a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th cell fon is not that much more for privacy and security.

  12. answer the phone like "this call is being recorded how my I help you" This is for people who must answer all calls

  13. Our stupid phone company randomly 'unblocks' our unlisted phone number. The only reason I know this is if I call someone I know, and they sometimes say, "Hey, your name and number showed up this time!" So, just a little tip to beware, blocked/unlisted doesn't always mean what they say.

    If you accidentally pick up a call you don't want, just do what I do and keep saying, 'Hello? Hello? Sorry, I can't hear you. Bye', or start speaking a foreign language or just mutter gibberish. Also, you have to keep calling a number before the cops will put a trace on it (at least in Pennsylvania). I wish we didn't even need a phone!

  14. Even better: now knowing what the mother has made known, that the phone belonged to a young kid, pretend to be his teacher, having called about his son being drunk at school, and watch HER now being all embarassed and apologatic. Or, better yet, tell the mother off about something SHE is supposed to have done ("your son told me you force him to drink alcohol!") and enjoy her being lost for words.

    Hihihihihi.... Only joking, leave them alone.

    Do as JJ Luna says.


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