office phones.
© 1996 Jamie Zawinski <>

I never answer the phone at the office, because anyone who would call me at work instead of sending me mail is someone I almost certainly don't want to talk to anyway; mostly they're headhunters.

One of the latest tactics that the headhunters have been using is to begin with a line like ``Hey, I used to be an engineer! But now I'm hanging out here doing recruiting, cool huh?''

Wow. You were so good they made you a recruiter.

Of course, since I never answer the phone directly, this means that I have to interact with our Corporate Voice Mail System (it's not just an answering machine any more!) more often than I would like. It sucks so bad that I only do it about once a week.

Where did these pinheads find their user interface designers? Did some masochistic CEO go home one day, try to program his VCR, and say, ``hey, this really sucks! I've got to hire this guy and see if he can fuck up my telephones this bad!''

In case you've been living under a rock for the last two decades, let me refresh your memory about how every god damned telephone in every god damned home in America works: it rings. If you don't answer, then the answering machine answers it for you. When the time comes for you to listen to the messages, you press play. You then listen to every god damned message. You then press rewind.


I've had the misfortune of needing to interact with a lot of voice mail systems over the years, and what I want to know is, why have I not seen one that has a default mode of operation that is that simple? Two clicks. DONE.

No, I don't fucking want to remember what multi-key sequence deletes messages. No, I don't fucking want to have to press a button before each message to get it to actually play. And no, I don't fucking want to have to delete every one of them explicitly after listening to them. Just play all the god damned messages, and then throw them the hell away, you bastard infernal machine!

Thank you.

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