“Your call has been forwarded….”

When is that unknown lady on your cell phone message finally going to retire?

Are you curious why I generally refuse to leave you a voice message when I call your cell phone number? I’ll tell you why…..

When you do not answer and your phone switches me to leave you a voice message, for over two decades by now an unknown but maddeningly familiar woman’s voice says:

“Your call has been forwarded to an automated voice messaging system. At the tone, please record your message.”

Ok, I know that, and I never needed this instructional assistance. I was making calls and leaving messages for many years before cell phones were even and idea. And she is not going to give you that promised tone, not yet anyway. If that were all she said, that would be aggravating enough. But, no! She’s just getting started:

“To leave a call back number, press 5.”

Really? Can’t I just leave you a call back number in my message? And there is even more!

“When you are finished calling, you may hang up or press 1 for more options.”

Apparently, I need permission from this woman to terminate the call. Is she finally done now? Nope, there’s more…..

“For delivery options, press 4. To mark urgent, press 1. To mark confidential, press 2. To mark urgent and confidential, press 3. To mark normal, press 4.”

By now, this long-winded useless instruction must be making blood boil for a lot of people. Just to make certain you are bored and aggravated with it, here is the full text again, this time without comment:

“Your call has been forward to an automated voice messaging system.

At the tone, please record your message.

To leave a call back number, press 5.

When you are finished calling, you may hang up or press 1 for more options.

For deliver options press 4.

To mark urgent, press 1.

To mark confidential, press 2.

To mark urgent and confidential, press 3.

To mark normal, press 4.”

This entire automated recording uses 40 seconds of your life that you will never get back. And that 40 seconds feels much, much longer every time we listen to it. A message cannot be recorded until it finishes playing.

Encounter this message four times in a day and you have wasted over two and a half minutes. Imagine if 100 million Americans listen to that recording every day, and it adds up to some seriously huge lost productivity time! That would be over 4 million hours, or over on half million workdays, 74 thousand work weeks, and finally, 1430 work years, just in case you are not fast at mental math.

One thousand four hundred and thirty years of lost workdays, cumulatively in a single day, listening to this robo-bitch who for decades has treated all of us like we are too stupid to know what to do if someone does not answer their cell phone when we call!

There is a way to shut this waste of time down on your personal phone so you do not contribute to this time wasting practice. Good luck figuring out how to do it. But just be patient and keep working on it. I’m confident you will get it done. And thank you in advance for taking the time to do it.

When you do, I will leave you a message.

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Kent Comfort

Kent Comfort is a writer, entrepreneur and podcaster. He enjoys life in the southwest with his wife and their cocker spaniel.