I'm in rant mode, right now, and all of my ranting is in regards to the telephone. My issues with the phone are numerous, so I'll just highlight a few:
Timing. If you're calling me about a business issue, and you call my home during the day, you have no reason to expect me to be there, because, with the exception of the first 10 months of 2001, I've worked full time since 1989. Most adults, in fact, work outside the home, so it's pretty stupid that anyone tries calling home numbers.
If you insist upon calling my home number during normal work hours you are therefore obligated to leave (at the very least) your full name, your phone number even if you think I have it, what company or organization you are affiliated with, and the hours during which you are accessible. (My home voice mail message states, btw, that if I don't know who you are, and you don't tell me why you're calling me, you won't get called back.)
If you call me after normal business hours, and either leave a message, or I choose to take the call, but am unable to deal with you at that moment, you had better be available for a return call, also after business hours. If you can call me at 7:45 on a weekday evening, I should be able to call you at 8:15 that same evening.
Proper Use of VoiceMail. I don't care if you're the president of a company, a Realtor, my mother, or God, if you choose to leave a message, leave a real message. There is nothing more stupid than “Hi. I need to talk to you. Call me back.” If you simply need to impart information, then you can do that on my voice mail. If it's urgent that you know I heard it, simply ask me to call and confirm receipt. Is that so difficult? And if you need to ask a question, leave the question on my voice mail. That way, if I call you back, and get your voice mail, I can leave the answer, and we don't have to waste eighty years playing phone tag.
Basic Telephone Etiquette. If you call me, and you expect to address me by my first name, then I expect the same privilege. If you identify yourself as Mr. So-and-so, then you'd better address me as “Ms. ” And if I tell you that the time is bad, or I'm at work, or we're in a car, you'd better accept that.
And really, does anyone learn basic manners these days? Last night I answered a call at home that turned out to be a wrong number. I'd barely finished saying “Hello” and the person on the other end demanded shrilly, “Is Maria there?” (I don't even know anyone named Maria.) It wouldn't have killed the caller to respond with “Hello, I'm LoudDemandingPerson. Is Maria there?”
I know this rant is really bitchy. The truth is that I'm not a bitchy person, really, I just think that if people are going to use the telephone, they should use it correctly.