Take back the beep

Dear Mr. Siegel,

I believe it was 1982 when we got our first answering machine. We had a recording on it that said something like “at the beep, please leave your message.”

So, 27 years ago.

On my cell phone, I have a message. I say something like “I can’t answer your call, please leave a message.” But even that is unnecessary. Folks know what to do.

Unfortunately, after that message, there’s another message, in a stranger’s voice, telling the caller to … leave a message after the beep. I already told them, and they already knew before that.

If I were cynical, I would think that the sole reason for this additional message is so that the cell phone company can bill me for that additional 15 seconds of non-information. Ok, I admit it, I’m cynical. This is a cheap way to run up my phone bill, in exchange for no services rendered.

I understand that you’re one of the folks that can do something about this. Is that right? David Pogue told me about his grass-roots effort, on Twitter, and then directed me to this write-up: http://www.nytimes.com/indexes/2009/07/30/technology/circuitsemail/index.html?8cir&emc=cir

Anyways, please drop the message. Nobody needs it. Nobody wants it. And I don’t want to hear that every time I call my wife to leave a quick message. It’s silly, unnecessary, and nobody believes that it’s there for our benefit.