Current local Las Vegas time is 12:18am, January 17, 2018.

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This is NOT the Party to Whom You’re Speaking!

OK, Las Vegas … what gives? Since we moved here, we have received more wrong number calls in three months than we did in a decade anywhere else.

Apparently we got the phone number that people named Vince and Gayle [Last Name] used to have. How do we know this? They get more phone calls than we do, and the callers ask for them by name. I guess they left town, and apparently when they left town, they did it in the middle of the night. The people calling for Vince and Gayle do not sound like happy folks wanting to talk to contest winners, nor do they sound like concerned relatives. They sound like professional collection agents, taking stern tones with anyone who answers.

Now I’m not saying that Vince and Gayle have done anything wrong, or that they left their creditors behind. Not at all! I’m sure they are fine, upstanding citizens who merely forgot to notify a few folks of their new number. All I’m really saying is that they get lots of calls on our number. Actually, they get more calls than we do. Not to mention, it’s entirely possible that their Aunt Betty sounds just like someone trying to collect money.

The wrong calls I understand. People change phone numbers and the old numbers get re-assigned. Such is life. What baffles me are the answering machine messages the collectors, er, callers leave. Our answering machine message states rather clearly that “You have reached Lars and [Mrs.] Vargas”. I made the message myself and even used my “official voice” so it would be loud and clear.

It doesn’t matter.

Vince and Gayle get messages, too. Sometimes they both get the message, and other times it’s just for one or the other. We don’t have caller ID on this line, so we can’t screen the calls. We just answer them. It does have its upside, though. Once in a while, for variety, we get a regular wrong number for someone else. Real excitement rains down upon us when that happens. In fact, I need to re-stock my supply of those little 10-cent confetti popper things.

Well, there was the time that American Express left a message. Since we do business with them, we dutifully called back wondering why they needed to chat. Our bill has paid in full, so we were curious. Apparently Amex had called someone else that had our number previously (I won’t name names). It took about 15 minutes to get everything straightened out and everyone, including the Amex rep had a little chuckle. A few minutes later, I got to thinking, they really should have told who they were leaving the message for.

So my words of advice to anyone doing collections: don’t assume you dialed the right number or that the person listening to the message knows who it is for. Tell them that this message is for so and so. Again, it will save everyone a little worry and time. Why do I have to figure this shit out for multi-billion dollar corporations?

As if the constant onslaught on our “private” line wasn’t enough, my home business line gets its share of wrong numbers. Apparently a computer store of some sort used to have this number. I get 4 or 5 calls a week. Since I sort of work in the computer industry, albeit a different part of it than a computer store, the calls are occasionally confusing.

One time Microsoft called and wanted to do a partner survey. OK, fair enough. I didn’t remember becoming a partner, but am always willing to speak my mind. We got about 10 minutes into it when the survey person asked if he was talking to “XYZ Computer Solutions” or something like that.

I said, “No, this is Lars Vargas, Computer Guy.”

“Oh, never mind then. We wanted to talk with XYZ.”

“Well, apparently I got their phone number.” Sigh.

Hey, Microsoft, save everyone some time and check that little bit of information up front. I know you can afford the long distance minutes, but really. That looked like amateur hour.

I have started explaining to wrong callers that we got someone else’s phone number and to please remove it from their list. It has helped bring the number of calls to the house down quite a bit.

My cell phone is a different story. Irritation has gone mobile. That’s right, you guessed it. I get plenty of wrong numbers on my cell phone, too. Many sound like dumb young people with fat fingers trying to reach another pizza-and-Red-Bull-addled youth.

Some sound like they are some sort of ethnicity that would make the characters on Star Trek look like Ozzie and Harriet Nelson. Really, if you’re English sounds that much like Klingon, you really should learn how 0 – 9 works and simply give up on the fact that English will ever benefit you in any way. Stick to the East Armpitian and do us all a favor. It will save me having to try to figure out what the hell you’re trying to spit out. The opportunity to simply hang up is preferable to me at this point.

My cell phone has extra features of annoyance, new opportunities for people to dial in the wrong number. It has text messaging. Some of the text messages are weird. I get really pissed at having to pay 10 cents for someone else’s mistake, especially when my provider won’t disable the stupid service that I have no use, need, or desire for. But I digress. Suffice to say, I get a couple wrong text messages a month. It’s not even worth it to text them back and let them know the error of their ways. I’m not spending yet another dime for their screw-ups.

Mrs. Vargas has a cell phone, but it’s off 98% of the time. She probably gets her fair share of wrong number calls, but simply doesn’t have to deal with them because the phone is off. I wish I could get away with that.

Along with crazy drivers, I guess inordinate amounts of wrong numbers are simply part of life in Las Vegas. After all, Las Vegas is a town built on the fact that many people don’t understand numbers. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that many here don’t quite get phone numbers either.

Published Thu 1/12/06 at 1:43am

Categorized in Journal, Lars Vargas, Las Vegas