August 23, 2010

My faith in humanity is restored.

Someone who dialed the wrong number just said "I'm sorry."

The other day, this guy said "no problem," as if I'd caused him trouble.

44 comments:

Methadras said...

I'm with you on the 'No Problem'. When I tell someone 'Thank you.' the response is usually, "No problem" which then illicits from me response of "Was there a problem in me saying thank you?" to which the reply I get is, "Uh no, not at all." then I reply back, "Well, if I say thank you and you tell me 'no problem', then that implies that there was a problem. Therefore if you want to avoid this kind of confusion then the proper response is 'Your Welcome' whenever someone says thank you. Then they look at me like I landed from pluto.

dbp said...

Our land line number is the same as what our local library used some years ago. We got a lot of wrong number calls in the first few years here.

Sometimes the caller would ask if we know the correct number for the library.

MadisonMan said...

I have friends down under, so I say 'No worries' instead of No Problem. But never inappropriately, as in methadras' case, when I'd say You're welcome.

I always apologize when I dial the wrong number.

Harsh Pencil said...

Oh for Pete's sake. Are you going to start making trouble in the Starbucks now?

Robert said...

Methadras, Let me translate for you. "(It was) no problem (so you don't need to thank me).

You either have communication problems (that affect your ability to understand others) or you enjoy being a pain (in the ass).

fivewheels said...

"No problem" is the wrong thing to say, but did you first say, "I'm sorry, you have the wrong number?" Not to blame the victim, but if that's the case it was probably just an automatic, unthinking response to an "I'm sorry."

Greg Hlatky said...

A wrong-number caller to my brother, when politely informed of the fact, said, "You dumb motherfucker" before hanging up.

Methadras said...

Robert said...

Methadras, Let me translate for you. "(It was) no problem (so you don't need to thank me).

You either have communication problems (that affect your ability to understand others) or you enjoy being a pain (in the ass).


It doesn't require translation when I take what they said at face value for a declarative statement. Thank you is traditionally responded to by saying, "Your welcome." not "No problem." I must have missed the memo and yes, I enjoy being a pain in the ass. Not crazy, english professor in a starbucks pain in the ass, but just a wee bit of a stickler. If they get it then great. For the most part I am usually given a "your welcome" most of the time and that makes me smile.

mc said...

How can you not feel awkward and intruding when you realize you've stuck your very voice into another unwitting household?

It's an intense race between apology and disappearance for any sane person.

elliot said...

A few nights ago, I got an incoming wrong number.

When I asked, "who are you trying to call," the person said, "Are you telling me this is a damn wrong number bitch?"

I think I would have preferred either of your callers.

MrBuddwing said...

What I've noticed over the years, more and more often, is that when I get a wrong number, chances are the person will simply hang up without saying anything. No "Sorry about that," no nothing. It's as if they're afraid that if I hear their voice, I'll be able to form a mental image of them or something.

Word verification: hestide.

Pogo said...

Manners are the civilized way of diffusing aggression.

Manners are rarely taught anymore.

Aggression is rising.

Hmm.

Christopher said...

Starting about two years ago, way more than half the callers I get to my home phone are identified by my caller ID as people having Hispanic names. Something like 98% of these callers simply hang up when I answer, without saying a word. Very rude--at least say you're sorry, I don't care if it's in Spanish! (At this point I would even take "no problema").

I guess they're startled, but come on people!

But my strangest wrong number was from someone whose close friend or relative's first and last name matched my own (it's a bit uncommon). She called because this other person had died. I guess she was calling to express condolences to the family, and was shocked to hear me answer when I stated my full name, that of the deceased. We talked for about 20 minutes. Must have been surreal for her--for a few seconds it seemed like she was trying to figure out if the man in question was really dead, or alive.

Robert said...

Methadras, So if somebody actually said it all out loud: "It was no problem so you don't need to thank me." Would you tell them that they should have said "You're welcome"????

Is it not more gracious and kind to assert that your gratitude is unnecessary?

AST said...

I usually demand their name, address, ssn and whom they were trying to reach and why. Then I go into a pitch for life insurance.

They seldom make the same mistake again.

Irene said...

I once dialed a wrong number at 6:30 am. I was calling my workplace "weather line" to determine whether the office would be closed because of a snowstorm. A weary voice at the other end of the line told me I had the wrong number, and I said, "I'm sorry."

Late that night, long after I had returned from work, the person whom I had telephoned erroneously in the morning called me. I assume she used <*69> to determine my number. She called me back for the purpose of "b!tch slapping" me for waking her up that day.

Foul.

traditionalguy said...

My favorite is, " Who is this" like they have caught you answering the wrong phone. But 99% of the time a nice tone of voice prevents anger which has no purpose anyway.

edutcher said...

Good manners are still appreciated, although there are those who think it's a sign of weakness. These are the people who live by Old Joe Kennedy's motto, "Don't get mad, get even".

They get what they give.

Pogo said...

Grade school civics books from the 50s taught you to answer the phone and write a letter properly.

Now they teach you how to protest.

Robert said...

Recently I had an wrong number leave a message for somebody else. It was all " Hi XXX. So and so told me about the conversation you had and I would like to continue it, etc... and see if there is anything there, call me back, etc...."

I called back the original caller and left a message that they reached the wrong person because it sounded too important for XXX that that person be foiled by a wrong number. The original caller called back and left a message similar to Ann's that their faith in humanity was restored.

Lionheart said...

If someone thanks me and I respond "no problem" it is commonly understood as "it was no problem to do whatever I am being thanked for" or even a different form of "You are welcome". Methadras, this business of asking if there was a problem is just English teacher gone wild and even then if I say "No problem" why in Hell would that prompt you to ask if there was a problem? . Your response literally makes no sense to me.

Pogo said...

Soon we'll be back to baring teeth and roaring aloud.

MadisonMan said...

methadras, as long as we're being literal here, I'll say that if someone said Your welcome to me, I'd say My welcome what?.

Elliott A said...

In my as-of-late absence from wise and witty (or stupid and dull) commentary, another Elliott, albeit spelled with lower case e and one t, has appeared. This is not me, ElliottA.(The A is for Althouse! Unfortunately for me, and fortunately for our hostess, we are unrelated. I became ElliottA after a couple of complaints about my original name confusing commenters. For several years i had posted comments everywhere as AlthouseToo, to irritate my son who was just Althouse until Ann got more widely known in the commenting world, thus causing him to change his ID in deference to the professional blogger. Anyway, ElliottA is still alive and well in Virginia Beach, Virginia and much to the chagrin of all those here will be back in force once summer is over.

Many young women find it convenient to give out bogus phone numbers to would be admirers. A little questioning of multiple wrong numbers for the same "Angie" found that they were all given our home number by this young lady. One would be suitor even said "Hey Babe" to my wife when she answered the phone. You can't fault them. However many wrong numbers are the result of dialing while multitasking, with wrong numbers the result. These people need a little more than "I'm sorry" to receive forgiveness for calling at 2 AM.

Pogo said...

My high school friend's dad got fed up with the wrong numbers to their house meant for the similarly-numbered funeral home, so he began answering the phone Krozer's Mortuary. You stab 'em, we slab 'em. How can I help you?

Not sure if it helped.

Palladian said...

An elderly-sounding woman with a thick New York accent dialed the wrong number and called me recently. I said "I'm sorry, I believe you have the wrong number" and she said "Why should I believe you?!" and I said "Because my name's not Agnes, and no one named Agnes lives here" and she exclaimed "Oh Jesus Christ!" and I said "I'm sorry, He can't be reached at this number either".

Then she hung up.

As my whimsy leads me.. said...

It's probably a generational thing, but I, too, find "no problem" off-putting when "You're welcome" is the expected answer. My son-in-law always says this, and it always sets me back. "You're welcome" has been the standard response to "Thank you" for generations, and is a much more gracious answer than "no problem." "You're welcome" tells me that the responder was happy to do something for me, and happy to accept my appreciation. "No problem" is dismissive and condescending.

Toy

Methadras said...

Robert said...

Methadras, So if somebody actually said it all out loud: "It was no problem so you don't need to thank me." Would you tell them that they should have said "You're welcome"????

Is it not more gracious and kind to assert that your gratitude is unnecessary?


Well, that's never happened before, so I can't really answer it. Hey, you are the one who translated it to your own meaning. I just take it at face value. However, to answer your question, if that did happen and they actually told me that, I'd like to think I'd be gracious enough to say, "Your Welcome" to them. If someone doesn't require gratitude, I suppose I would err on the side of caution of giving it anyway as to not appear as a rude ingrate. That's just me.

Methadras said...

MadisonMan said...

methadras, as long as we're being literal here, I'll say that if someone said Your welcome to me, I'd say My welcome what?.


Damn you, stickler.

prairie wind said...

I have the most fun when a caller dials my number by mistake and I tell them they have the wrong number. They hang up and hit redial. "This is still the wrong number," I say. Sometimes they understand that they did something foolish and sometimes they just don't quite get it. I still tell them it is "no problem"...unless they are rude to me, and then I get all Mrs. Business with them and demand, "To whom do you wish to speak?"

Cell phones and caller ID have wrecked good manners on the phone. Now that everyone already knows who is calling and people answer the phone in the bathroom, we just skip the polite exchange of "Hello" and "Hi, this is Bill. May I speak to Judy?" "Just a moment--I will call her to the phone." I miss the old phone call liturgy.

Ralph L said...

Recently I told a telemarketer to put me on their Do Not Call list, and he sneered they'd still call me next week. Having learned from my boss, I gave him a hearty "Fuck You" before he hung up.

Tari said...

You clearly live far, far away from Texas. ;) I've never called a wrong number without the person on the line being exceedingly polite. Same goes for people who call me, when I inform them they have the wrong number. Usually I get "I am SO sorry, ma'am. Have a good day."

This never happened to me when I lived in NY. I wonder why ...

Kev said...

Cell phones and caller ID have wrecked good manners on the phone.

Very true. I used to work in retail, and part of my job was calling customers to tell them that their orders had arrived. If I didn't get an answering machine or a live human, the orders went in a "call back later" pile.

I was always surprised at the number of people who used Caller ID as an answering machine, and the rudeness spawned by same. Many of these customers whom we'd missed earlier would see our store's number on the Caller ID and say something to the effect of, "You called me. What do you want?"

That sort of behavior (and the fact that I don't want to pay for something that's free on my cell phone) caused me to never purchase Caller ID for the land line. Nowadays, my solution is simply to never answer the land line, which is only there for emergencies anyway.

And even on my cell phone, I won't pick up for numbers I don't recognize. And if they don't have time to leave me a voicemail, I don't call them back. Does that make me a curmudgeon-in-training?

Re "no problem" as a substitute for "you're welcome"--I don't mind it, but it drives my parents crazy. As someone said earlier, it must be a generational thing.

Paul said...

I have a similar number to a doctors' group practice, and all the wrong numbers I get are for them. The callers usually sound so sorry I have to assure them it's no problem (that seems like the appropriate response to me). I give them the correct number, which I know by heart.

kimsch said...

My number is one digit off of the number for the local Applebees. I don't even have to think about it when I call to place a Carside to Go order. If anyone calls for Applebees I tell them the correct number.

I do get wrong numbers that just hang up when they figure out they've called the wrong number. Many times it's because I say Hello rather than Bueno or Hola when answering.

I have called people back who have left a message for someone not at this phone number. The last time I did so, the original caller was very appreciative of the fact that the message did not reach its intended recipient. I've even called people who have misdialed when faxing.

wv: lickle - a lick-tickle like when your dog licks your foot.

BJM said...

The funniest wrong number was on my cell. An angry young black woman launched into a tirade about bitches fooling around with her man Jamal and described what she intended to do to any ho she caught with him and hung up.

I've always wondered what happened.

El Presidente said...

Meth: Thank you for helping me split and stack that cord of wood.

Me: No problem, I enjoy splitting and stacking cords of wood.

Meth: Was there a problem in me saying thank you?

Me: Fuk you, split and stack your own wood for all of eternity.

DaveW said...

This one always gets me too.

Some unknown number rings in, I pick up the phone and the ask for Daniel or something. I say "I'm sorry, you must have a wrong number."

The response is almost always the sound of them hanging up.

Paul Zrimsek said...

They hang up and hit redial. "This is still the wrong number," I say.

"I'm sorry, but no one named Michelle has moved in with me since the last time you called."

MadisonMan said...

I've even called people who have misdialed when faxing.

This happens to my officemate all the time. If you dial a campus phone, you leave off the leading 26 -- if you forget to do that, my office mate will often get your call. He gets many faxes, some that are highly personal -- medical records and such.

He always destroys them. If it were me, I'd scan them and put them on the web, a website like misdirectedfaxes.com.

prairie wind said...

The response is almost always the sound of them hanging up.

The phone used to be in a central location and it was hard to use it privately. So anytime I answered the phone, Mom was able to hear me...and to hiss at me, "YES, not YEAH!" and "Say please!" and "May I, not CAN I" and so on. She taught me manners, and enforced those teachings.

Now, every family member has his own phone and phone use is completely private. I rarely hear my children on the phone, though I still hiss at them when I can hear them. That's when they walk away where I can't hear them. I don't know what they say when they dial a wrong number. Maybe they just hang up. If I catch them at it, I will teach them to say, "I'm sorry to have bothered you."

Methadras said...

El Presidente said...

Meth: Thank you for helping me split and stack that cord of wood.

Me: No problem, I enjoy splitting and stacking cords of wood.

Meth: Was there a problem in me saying thank you?

Me: Fuk you, split and stack your own wood for all of eternity.


lol!!!

ken in sc said...

In Thailand, they say ‘my ben lai’ for ‘you’re welcome.’ I was told it literally meant ‘no be sweat.’ It’s interesting that ‘no sweat’ is a common American substitute for ‘you’re welcome.’

KeesKennis said...

Anger Management is the answer
http://keeskennis.blogspot.com/2010/08/anger-management.html