honest songs, honestly sung
singer and songwriter ben bruce

blog > Cell Chatter

May 27th, 2008

We’re paying for these seconds.

Does it bother anyone else that the cell phone companies both charge us for each minute used, and build in almost a complete minute of little instructions each time you get someone’s voicemail?

Mine goes something like this:

Your call has been forwarded to an automatic voice mail system.”


The person you are trying to reach is unavailable right now.”

(I know this, that’s why I’ve reached voicemail)

To leave a message, please wait for the tone.”

(Yes, we’ve done this before.)

(There are some systems that have a “Press 1 to leave a message” option here — still, there’s quite a bit of time invested in the few phrases above)

To Send a numeric page, please push # now.”

(This is somewhat helpful, but seems a little niche to me — how many people actually use this feature? I don’t. I never have. I wish I could turn this little message off)

Leave a message at the tone”

(Yes, you already mentioned that)

When you have finished recording, you may hang up”

(Gee, thanks for your permission)

Or press * for more options”

(Again, I feel like this is information that should be in your phone manual, not repeated each time I make a call.)

We’re paying for these seconds. It would be interesting to average out how much a person pays for these phrases in a year (ie, the average person places 600 voicemail calls in a year (wild guess, 2/​day), the entire message is ~30 seconds (being conservative here), so for the year you’re looking at 600 * 30 = 18000 seconds /​60 = 300 minutes/​year).


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