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E.T., Don’t Call Home

October 31, 2008

We haven’t had a television in our home for over twenty years. Now we can feel even more like edgy hipsters, as we no longer have a home telephone either. A few weeks ago, we canceled it.

It’s not like there aren’t a lot of ways to communicate with us. We have personal mobile phones, which are with us almost always. Then there’s the Internet, with email, IM, and Twitter. If you’re Old School, send us postal mail, make smoke signals, or just shout loudly.

Nor was it like we were getting any real value from having a home phone. We were on the National Do Not Call Registry, so most of our calls were from those exempted: political organizations, charities, or telephone surveyors. After the fourteenth call asking if plan to vote for Obama–and if not, can we be talked into it–it gets a bit old. Ditto for the endless political surveys to which New Hampshire residents are subject, and the endless cries of “PLS HALP!” of charities.

Oh, occasionally we’d get a call from a doctor’s office reminding us of some upcoming appointment, or just a chat from someone else who could just as easily dial us directly. We directed the few who had our home number–or at least those that we might actually want or need to hear from–to call our mobile numbers. To Hell with the rest! We didn’t usually want to talk with them anyway.

Beyond the annoyance factor, a recent review of our phone bills showed we were paying outrageous monthly fees for a bevy of services like caller ID and you-can’t-call-us-unless-you-have-caller-ID that are primarily designed to keep us from being bothered. Nickel-and-dime charges, we don’t need you either!

Some folks have pointed out that not having a home phone wouldn’t suit everyone. With a busy household, for example, you might actually want to be able to call and have whoever’s closest pick up. Or, with kids in the house, you might want an easy, guaranteed way to call 911. If you have broadband Internet, services like Vonage can give you telephone-over-IP on the cheap. Fair enough. But we don’t seem to need anything else, and so far not having a home number is working just fine.

So buh-bye, Verizon landline! Thanks for the memories. Don’t let the door spank you on the way out.

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One comment

  1. did the same but had to go back. Alarm wouldn’t work. 911 didn’t always work. Then we lost power for a day (this is Texas). Sadly we have a landline and all those calls you mentioned.



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