“The Number You Are Calling…” #socs

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We get very little physical mail anymore. The bills are all either automatically paid or I pay them electronically, and in either case I simply receive an email letting me know either that the bill is due or that I’ve been debited. I do, however, participate in the US Postal Service’s “Informed Daily Digest,” where I get an email with pictures of my mail, so that, in the event something important is coming, I can tell Mary to bring it in, because otherwise she simply trashes it. So I’m working off that.

One of the pieces of mail I received on Thursday (the last day I got a notification) was something from AT&T in Carol Stream, Illinois, meaning it was some kind of a marketing letter. In fact, I can see “Take advantage of this opportunity – CALL TODAY” through the envelope, which is a guarantee that we won’t, whatever it is.

See, you can almost make out what the thing in the envelope says.

We have our cellular service through AT&T and that’s it. I’ve stayed with Comcast for my Internet service, more because I’ve heard lousy things about AT&T’s service, we have no need for a landline, and the last thing we need or want is DirecTV, because even if it’s satellite they’ll give us a couple hundred channels that we aren’t going to watch anyway, so I see no need to spend a lot of money for it. Sometimes they have special offers where you can get a free smartphone for opening a new line, which we won’t do because we already have two. They had a 2-for-1 deal a while back and I thought we could get away with getting the two phones without starting a new line. I called and tried to talk them into it, even suggesting that Verizon would give us two phones to move our service there (which would have been a ginormous pain in the ass), but they just laughed. Not just a chuckle or a chortle, I mean the sort of condescending, derisive laughter you get when you try to hit on a woman with your fly open.

I don’t even know why I even have a phone anymore. The only calls I get anymore are robocalls from what sounds like a 12-year-old girl, who I’ve dubbed Robotween, and phishing calls from people claiming to be from the IRS who I’m sure are closer to Mumbai than to Washington, DC…

Which reminds me of the time I had to call a client, a hospital in the western suburbs of Chicago. Evidently I transposed two digits and got the following message from an answering machine:

This is ________ and I don’t give a s— if you don’t like talking to these machines, I AIN’T HOME! And this AIN’T the f—ing hospital!

One more: my in-laws had a phone number that ended in 6643. There was a carryout place in the neighborhood whose number ended in 0043. People dialing the carryout place would mistake the letter O (which was on the 6) for the number 0, and my in-laws would get calls for the carryout place all the time. One night, after getting about a half-dozen calls for the carryout place, my father-in-law took the guy’s order and told him it would be ready in twenty minutes.

Maybe Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced “boo-kay”) should have tried that…


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word from the Bell System, who wants you to reach out and touch someone!

55 thoughts on ““The Number You Are Calling…” #socs

      1. I just shared this in a comment over st Shelley’s page.

        I remember one time, paying bills for three accounts with AT&T at work. They applied everything to the single line for our fax machine. After receiving letters threatening to disconnect our Internet and voice access, we paid those bills, separately, a second time. They never were able to fix the mess, and we carried a credit on that fax line for years. After that, three bills, three checks, three envelopes, three stamps.

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        1. I’ve never had a problem like that, but I don’t have a situation where I need to pay more than one bill to the same company. I’ve got it set up where I pay just about everything with a credit card, then I pay the credit card company at the end of the month. It makes life easy.

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          1. This was at work, and internet and voice (PRI) we’re in separate divisions but all bills came out of Carol Stream. We had to create three vendor names “ATT” “AT&T” “ATandT” so we could get them in our payables system. They complained that the last one wasn’t valid. I told them to fix their accounting and I’d be happy to change it.

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          1. My daughter was so impressed when I brought the “buttset” home from work and ran a telephone line into her room. Now I do not even have a land line.

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  1. LOL – you always make me smile when I read your SoCS replies. I still pay some bills by snail mail. I still get some mail by snail mail too. I get way too many emails. Do you ever think mail will go away…maybe, especially if they keep raising the cost of a stamp.- 55 cents is crazy!

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    1. I wouldn’t mind if they delivered once a week, because 99% of what we get goes into recycling unopened anyway. We hardly ever send (or receive) first class mail anymore. I think there will come a time when the USPS becomes a private business; in many ways, they’re already acting like one.

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  2. I always learn something reading your posts. I need to find out more about “Informed Daily Digest”. Auto pay is the best. The few bills I schedule are also more convenient that paper bills. My in-laws refuse any move towards paperless. I just don’t understand being so attached to paper.

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    1. Mary and I go out of our way to pay everything online, either through autopay or at the company’s website. Mary writes maybe three checks a year.

      Go to USPS.com and look for “informed delivery” at the top of the screen. You’ll need to set up an account (it’s free) and check a few boxes, and you get an email every morning with pictures of your mail so you know what you’re getting.

      Mary and I are as paperless as possible. Almost all the mail goes in recycling before it even gets in the house. What little does come in the mail is dealt with and disposed of quickly. Any paper that comes in that needs to be kept is scanned into Evernote and shredded. Product manuals are downloaded and saved in Evernote. Mary’s getting ruthless with it. The other thing, too, is that I don’t lose important stuff if it’s stored electronically.

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      1. Oh I’ve seen the show, it used to be on PBS when I had cable. She irritates me like Gilligan used to irritate me, no thanks! I love her sister and her sister’s family.

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        1. That’s what’s so funny about the show: she goes so far out of her way to try and impress people that you just know it’ll end up blowing up in her face. It’s like a Road Runner cartoon: you know exactly what’s going to happen and it’s still funny when it does.

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          1. Not my kind of humor, too predictable. Hey, to each their own! I am one more for shock humor like the show (American version) “Shameless.” You just never know what mess Frank Gallagher is going to get into next. I also LOVE Kevin and V on the show. Kevin really cracks me up.

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  3. We have a number similar to the local liquor store but most of the calls we get are from people wanting to see if we need any work done around our house or to let us know that we have a virus in our computer! Heavens! LOL the take out clip. I’ve never seen that show but it looks hilarious. I pay a lot of bills online but I still like the paper reminder so we still get a lot of mail. Interesting about the scanning at the post office. What a concept.

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    1. Informed Delivery is really great, especially if you’re waiting for something. Rarely, a piece of mail that it shows you takes a day or two extra to get there, but it’s worked out really good for us.

      I have one email account that’s strictly for business correspondence, and all the notifications go there. Moist companies that offer online bill pay also keep a copy of your bill online where you can download it, if you want to keep it (some places store several years’ worth of bills online, so you know you can get your hands on it if you need to). Electrons are cheap…

      You might want to check your local PBS station to see if they carry “Keeping Up Appearances.” atricia Routledge, who plays Hyacinth, is really good in it, and trust me, Hyacinth gets her comeuppance in every episode.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You might want to consider getting rid of it, then. I’m sure you can find a use for the money you save. But it’s up to you: some people want it there just in case…

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  4. Loved “Keeping Up Appearances.” I never heard of that service where you get an email telling what is coming in the mail.

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    1. I like informed delivery because unless I tell Mary to look for something she’ll throw everything out. Practically everything we get is bulk mail anymore.

      “Keeping Up Appearances” was inspired comedy, and the actors in it were wonderful.

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  5. I get the same kind of calls. But what is frustrating is the other day when I wanted to get the call back from the doctor it mysteriously went to my voicemail and I did not know he was calling. What is with that? I am online with a lot of bills as well. We have too much paper piling up around here already.

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  6. I pay everything via online. I had ATT for awhile for internet and TV and switched back to Xfinity (Comcast). ATT too hard to deal with plus the TV bopped off once day. After our Xfinity contract expires, I promised myself that we will seek another alternative for TV. Love my cellphone – don’t have to answer it if I don’t know who’s calling. Every now and then, we get a call from United States! Reeeeallly! We look up the #’s and block most of them. Hubby and I have our own phones just because.

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    1. When this TV goes, we’re going to get a smart TV that allows us to use a Roku box for streaming and an antenna for over-the-air broadcasts. There are a lot of good channels with OTA, and if we don’t end up watching one we don’t care because we aren’t paying for them. Picture quality is better, too, even with our old picture tube TV with a converter box. We pay about $86 a month for just Internet from Xfinity (I have my own cable modem and router–they charge an arm and a leg to rent one).

      I have an app on my iPhone called No Neighbor which sends any call from numbers that have the same area code and exchange as mine that are not in my contacts right to voice mail, and that’s cut out a huge amount of spam calls I get. It was $3, I think. I think you have an Android phone, so maybe they have a version in the Google Play store. I’m like you, if I don’t know who’s calling, I don’t answer. If they’re legitimate, they’ll leave a message, and a lot of them don’t.

      Mary and I both have phones, because a lot of times she’s out by herself, and I want her to be able to call the auto club if she breaks down or the police if she’s in trouble, or me if she needs my help. With me, if she’s out and I have a fall or something and need help, I can call 911.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. We bank on line, intact we try and do everything on line which is great until someone wants a utility bill, or bank statement for proof of address. But then all we have to do is print one out I suppose. I do love Hyacinth and her poor hubby Richard! We are concidering getting rid of land line next time our contract needs renewing as we both have phones and don’t really need anything else. We can use a home WiFi and data for mobiles and for TV . Which will make life cheaper💜

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    1. Personally, I think even the most laid-back husband would lose his patience with Hyacinth and put a stop to it, walking out if need be. I guess that’s where a lot of the humor comes in, where he treats her like a force of nature (a hurricane, say).

      Mary and I gave up the landline and have just used our cellphones for several years, and even with the payment contracts for our phones it comes out cheaper. I think phone companies will start pushing their customers that way eventually: maintaining cell towers has to be less expensive than maintaining undeground cables and all the other hardware associated with telephony 1980’s style.

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      1. I agree on both counts. Richard is a saint he is the best character in the program, though her sisters and brother in law are fantastic 💜💜. As for the phone again you are right we can get WiFi for the home as well as our standing contracts. The Telecom companies , I think have come to the end of their hayday. 🌹🌹

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        1. That’s the charm of “Keeping Up Appearances”: she comes from a family of what we would call rednecks, and they embarrass her, so naturally they think she’s absurd. They’re also the only ones who aren’t afraid of her.

          The telecom companies are changing with the times, I think, moving more into Internet and streaming services. Even so, there are bound to be changes, mergers and bankruptcies. In this country, there was a huge antitrust lawsuit about 30-40 years ago that broke up AT&T, but they seem to have re-emerged…

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            1. We’ve seen Dame Routledge in the Hetty Wainthropp mysteries, where she was nothing like Hyacinth. Seems like the kind of lady that would be worth knowing (Hyacinth would be tripping over herself…)

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  8. I’m leery about going totally paperless, although all my books and stories are stored electronically only. I figure, if the grid goes down and all electronics are lost, we’ll have more to worry about than my fantasies/mysteries/whatever.

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    1. Right: none of us are bound to care that much about fiction if the grid collapses, which I’m concerned we’re much closer to than we think. I’m moving most of my important files to iCloud (Apple’s cloud service) so that I won’t lose that, and I have about half my life in Evernote…

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