August 9, 2002 |
I NEVER KNOW when dinner will be served at my house, even when I'm serving it. But THEY know. No matter when we sit down to eat, be it high tea or midnight snack, the phone rings. It's THEM! My wife and I thought we were under surveillance. It seemed too regular to be random. We were right. We fall into an exclusive category specifically targeted by telemarketers: those who have phones and eat dinner. Turns out that there are millions of us. I judge this from the flood of phone calls to Pennsylvania's "Do Not Call" registry from folk like us who just want to eat our pot roasts in peace.
December 19, 2010 |
Here's what we don't have anymore that we need, especially during the holiday season: A busy signal. Do you remember the busy signal? It may still exist, for all I know, but I haven't heard one in ages. It was a horrible beeping noise that you got if you called somebody on the phone, but they were already on the phone talking to somebody else. This was before voicemail. And before computers. Spanx hadn't yet been invented, and telephones were two empty cans on a cotton string.
January 26, 1997 |
Hey, America Online subscribers! CompuServe will have a message for you during the Super Bowl. The No. 2 online service is running a commercial titled "Busy Signal. " That would be what many people say they get, over and over, when trying to access America Online, even as the computer service continues to sign up new subscribers. "The most difficult thing was listening to the busy signal . . . and hearing an ad for AOL on the TV right next to the computer," Gary Arlen, an Internet industry analyst in Bethesda, Md., said in an interview.
October 16, 1991 |
Everybody wanted a say. But not everybody got it - at least not without a lot of persistence. And frustration. At Sen. Arlen Specter's office in the federal building in Philadelphia, all the phone lines were lit up yesterday. Calls came at the rate of 60 an hour. Down the hall, at Sen. Harris Wofford's office, it was busier. Some people broke into calls, claiming "life and death" emergencies. And in Washington, where Wofford, Specter and their colleagues agonized over the fate of the Supreme Court nominee, the Senate's switchboard was hopelessly jammed, with hundreds of thousands of calls.
January 18, 2010 |
IN SEPTEMBER, Andrew Nelson bought a house in South Philly. He called the Water Department to have the bill for the property put in his name. He got a busy signal. He called again. He got a busy signal. "I kept faxing them and calling them, and nothing ever changed," Nelson said. "You'd figure that with today's phone systems, you ought to be able to process calls. " Nelson estimates he called more than two dozen times and was never able to get any help. "The absolutely staggering thing was that I was calling the Water Department directly and getting nothing," he said.
August 3, 2001
YOUR STORY on Comcast (July 25) was good. I wish it had been on Urban Cableworks (formerly Wade Cablevision). Call its customer service number from 8:30 to 6, and you get a busy signal - not a greeting to put you on hold for the next available representative. It is virtually impossible to contact them. On a recent Saturday, we lost some free channels. We couldn't get through by phone, so we went to 49th and Parkside. After waiting outside in line, we finally got to the window - a hole cut out in glass for you to speak or try to hear.
October 24, 1993 |
While calling the Better Business Bureau (BBB) now costs you money, bureau officials say the fees will provide better service. The organization launched a 900 number service recently for consumer and business callers. Callers are charged 95 cents a minute, said BBB spokesman Kenneth Hawkins. "Most people call the BBB to investigate a company they are about to do business with," Hawkins said. "We used to give that information for free. " Budgetary problems persuaded officials of the nonprofit organization to go the route of the 900 number, Hawkins said.
March 10, 1993 |
Frustrated callers couldn't reach the toll-free pothole hotline operated by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for a while on Monday, the first day it was in service. Neither could PennDot officials. For a little more than two hours, in fact. Callers to the hotline (1-800-222-1956) are promised that state highway potholes will be repaired within 72 hours of a call. The line was activated Monday at PennDot's Radnor Township office. But PennDot workers first tested the number from another phone in the office and the hotline responded with a busy signal.
January 13, 2012 |
JASON McELROY can't get through to the city's Revenue Department. He needs help paying his taxes, but every time he dials the number, it's busy. He's tried and failed to get through so many times, he's becoming incredulous. "I don't believe it's an actual number," he said. He's not crazy. It's Our Money conducted an admittedly unscientific study and called the department's number 10 times, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on a recent weekday. It was busy every time. Then we periodically dialed the line throughout the past week.
November 11, 1992 |
SEPTA never promised that its takeover of the senior citizens' Shared Ride program would be glitch-free. And it hasn't been. One driver got lost and fell two hours behind schedule, stranding the senior citizens he was supposed to pick up. Operations on the highways went more smoothly yesterday - but was rougher inside SEPTA headquarters, where the switchboard was overwhelmed with calls from senior citizens trying to schedule rides....