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Benefits and Pitfalls of Answering Machines

March 07, 1987

Bloom suggests his case against the use of answering machines for other than professional reasons is quite simple. He suggests they aren't needed, and nobody needs to make such a fuss about a phone call. However, I suggest that Bloom should think his case through again, because he is not able to qualify another person's needs.

As deregulation has concluded, the telephone and lines servicing my household are mine to control. There was a time in which I had to accept calls from numerous advertisers, fund-raisers and solicitors at an hour of their choosing and at the risk of inconvenience to whatever I may have been doing at the time. I strongly object to the use of the telephone in this manner, as my home is my shelter from unwanted abuses as much as it is a shelter from the weather.

My solution was to get two phone numbers. The first is listed, and is used solely with my answering machine. The second number is unlisted, for my personal use, and is only given to those people with whom I wouldn't mind conversing. And if I'm not home, those people know they can either try me later or they leave a message on the other line and I'll get back to them.

As for the rest, they can choose to record a message or they can give up, and I really don't mind listening to the sound of their hanging up, for I am still at peace.

And, speaking of hang-ups, Bloom has gone so far out of the way to condemn other people's answering devices that he even suggest that the use of the machine has become a burden to the owner who bought it and installed it.

I am sorry, Mr. Bloom, but you must wise up. The personal answering machine is here to say, and, whatever the monetary cost, I pay it gladly to eliminate my unwanted interruptions.

I'd really like to help you relax your phobia toward leaving a message on a recording machine. Maybe you should give me a call sometime; my machine's number is in the book.

STEPHEN P. WILLIAMS

Alhambra

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