No, I’m not here. Hence the recorded message and the beep.

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of messages on my answering machine of the form “Hello, is Travis there? [long pause] [caller hangs up]” I have a hard time believing that there are people confused by the concept of answering machines, so my best guess is that these are telemarketers (or, given the season, phonebanks for political campaigns) using autodialers that have crude answering machine detection. My recording is somewhat brief so I am speculating that some software is getting fooled into thinking that a human has picked up the phone. Anyone else experiencing this?

3 thoughts on “No, I’m not here. Hence the recorded message and the beep.

  1. Lemming

    I’ve known a few people over the years who specifically use an answering machine to screen their calls. I really hope that isn’t catching on / becoming common practice, because it’s more annoying than anything.

  2. Arcane Gazebo

    Hmm, I wonder if these messages could be telemarketers/phonebankers trying to defeat this sort of call screening; hoping that by saying “Hello, is Travis there?” they will give the impression that they know me personally and fool me into picking up if I’m screening. (If it really were people I know personally, I assume they would either leave a message, or try my cell phone.)
    I would like to offer a defense of using an answering machine to screen calls: Screening reduces the economic costs associated with answering unwanted calls, but imposes an economic cost on those calls that are eventually answered by making the caller wait longer and then leave a message. If a sufficiently large fraction of my calls are unwanted, the overall cost to society is reduced if I use my answering machine for screening.

  3. Mason

    Nope, I have a long answering machine recording (and am also on the do not call list, so I get very little of this stuff anyway), so I don’t typically have many messages, which is the way I like it. Practically every message of importance comes by e-mail anyway.
    The Yankees died today. That was awesome! (The last several days of baseball have been great, even though I missed most of today’s game for D & D reasons and spent some time drafting papers with the tv on in the background on other days.) This warms my heart. And the two series have both been quite exciting!

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