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Busy Signal

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NEWS
August 9, 2002 | By ELMER SMITH
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.
NEWS
December 19, 2010 | By Lisa Scottoline, Inquirer Columnist
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.
BUSINESS
January 26, 1997 | By Reid Kanaley, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER Inquirer staff writer Jeff Gelles contributed to this report
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.
NEWS
October 16, 1991 | By Edward Colimore, Inquirer Staff Writer Inquirer Staff Writer Joseph A. Slobodzian, The Baltimore Sun, and the Associated Press also contributed to this article
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.
NEWS
January 18, 2010 | By BEN WAXMAN
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.
NEWS
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.
NEWS
October 24, 1993 | By Jere Downs, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
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.
NEWS
March 10, 1993 | By Dominic Sama, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
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.
NEWS
January 13, 2012 | BY HOLLY OTTERBEIN, hm.otterbein@gmail.com 215-854-5809
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.
NEWS
November 11, 1992 | by Bob Warner, Daily News Staff Writer
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....
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
February 6, 2012
EVEN ON A Sunday afternoon, Everett Gillison's BlackBerry is buzzing with updates about the latest happenings on the streets of Philadelphia - a weekend fire, a person found dead of a possible drug overdose. Gillison, 55, who wears hats as both the city's deputy mayor for public safety and Mayor Nutter's chief of staff, gets those updates 24/7, but the buzzing doesn't distract him from the task at hand. A proud father of two, he beams as he navigates his iPad to a photo of a swimmer, headlined "Gillison paces women's swimming.
NEWS
January 13, 2012 | BY HOLLY OTTERBEIN, hm.otterbein@gmail.com 215-854-5809
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.
NEWS
December 19, 2010 | By Lisa Scottoline, Inquirer Columnist
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.
NEWS
January 18, 2010 | By BEN WAXMAN
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.
SPORTS
June 23, 2005 | By Bob Brookover INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
It was a chance for Eagles fans to buy single-game tickets, and the team readily admits it was a slim one. In just under 15 minutes yesterday, the tickets were gone. "They sold slightly faster than last year," said Leo Carlin, the Eagles' director of ticket client service. "Last year, we sold out in 15 minutes. This year, it was just under 15 minutes. " The tickets went on sale at 10 a.m., and the only way to land them was by calling Ticketmaster. A reporter tried more than 200 times and was greeted with a busy signal each time.
NEWS
October 1, 2004 | By Jennifer Lin INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Acting Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers has raised questions with city officials about radio communication problems at the scene of a Port Richmond fire on Aug. 20 that killed two firefighters. In testimony yesterday before City Council, Ayers said he was seeking information from the city's Department of Public Property and Motorola Inc. about problems encountered by firefighters at the fatal fire. The hearing was the second by City Council to examine persistent complaints from public-safety workers about the reliability of the new radio system.
NEWS
August 9, 2002 | By ELMER SMITH
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.
NEWS
November 23, 2001 | By Rita Giordano INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
You have just lost your job. The last thing you want to hear when you apply for unemployment compensation is a busy signal. You do not want to be told that if your claim is turned down, you might have to wait months for an appeal. But if you file for unemployment benefits in the Philadelphia area, that all too often can be the case, say advocates for the unemployed. The problems, they say, go back a year - to a time when the state shut down the five-county region's walk-in unemployment service centers in favor of a phone-in system.
NEWS
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.
NEWS
May 28, 1999 | By Sara Eckel
Steph and I stood on the street corner, tapping our feet and waiting for our friend Charlie. After 20 minutes, Steph whipped out her cell phone to call him. Her phone was a bright-green little number - it looked like something Fisher-Price could have made. "That's the only way I could have a cell phone," Steph explained. "I have to have one that looks like a toy. " The trouble is, cell phones won't be toys for much longer. They will soon cross that line between luxury and necessity, and I feel a slight twinge of dread when I think about that day. Because I know I'll cave.
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