By Paul Bolster
Don’t call me on my home phone ever again. I am cutting it off.
For 50 years friends found me, Riki, and my children at 627-1697. When I think about all the connections made through that number it makes me sad. We raised our three kids on 627-1697. We found their babysitters for Saturday nights. Riki called the Grady ambulance when my daughter Lillian stopped breathing. It was this number my other daughter used to call from Tanzania, and my son called from college to tell me how he broke his nose jumping off a bridge. A neighbor barked into this phone at 2:00 a.m. to let me know I needed to find a new home for my lonesome barking Irish setter. I talked to a lot of voters on this number.
No one we care about except Mary Maynard and Robert Searfoss calls us at this number anymore. You can’t find it by dialing information but it is embedded in databases all over the world and is now under the control of marketers and their computers.
Anticipating the end, I took notes on the last calls to 627-1697. A website builder wanted to build a new site for me. A realtor wanted to sell my home. A realtor wanted to sell my daughter’s home. A marketer wanted to list my Tybee rental property that I sold three years ago. Another wanted to design a website for that rental. Google wanted to improve the listing of my non-existing business. There were two offers to extend the warranty on my van which has an extended warranty. A caller wanted me to support the police by giving to a PAC. I got a little interested because it was a real person. I asked what reforms the PAC supported. He said he could not talk about any issues. He could only read to me what his computer said. He referred me to the website. A real person called to see if I wanted a walk-in tub. I said I wasn’t ready yet. My phone said one call was from Harold Clark. I have a highly respected dead uncle of that name and answered with anticipation. I would love to talk to Uncle Harold again, although I knew that was unlikely. The computer voice asked if I was paying too much for utilities and offered to help change what Georgia Power charges me. I didn’t think Uncle Harold had that kind of clout with Georgia Power.
These are only a few examples of the marketers and scam artists who have taken over the number I paid for and I will always remember. Like a lot of people, I resent what marketers have done to my home phone and whoever has allowed them to do it.
We had three lengthy calls with AT&T (8 hours and 30 minutes) to see if we could move the number to a home cell phone. It didn’t work. It took 2 hours and ten minutes and 8 transfers to find a person who would agree to cancel the phone. I am still not sure if they have told the billing folks.
I am feeling the loss of 627-1697. And I am very sorry for the person who gets assigned this number in the future.