Phone Conversations in the Texting Era

Many people seem to lament the decline of phone conversations in the present era of texting. I for one am glad that SMS, Whatsapp and BBM have killed phone conversations, mainly because I seem to have bizarre phone conversations.


When a stranger calls me it typically goes something like this

“Hi ma’am. Do you like jewellery?”
“Not really”
“You’re a woman. You must like jewellery and when you sign up for our credit card you get jewellery at special rates”
“That’s nice but I’m not interested”
“Ma’am maybe you didn’t understand. Let me explain again”

Then there are phone calls from people you know. Like co-workers who call you on your day off…

“Is this a good time to talk?”
“Not really. I was sleeping”
“Okay good. So the reason I’m calling is…”

I don’t tend make long phone calls, but when I do, they are usually angry phone calls to my telecom provider. The reason they are so long is because I typically spend 20 minutes on hold waiting to talk to someone who will somehow achieve the impossible by making me more frustrated than I was at the start of the call.


“Can you tell me the reason I was overcharged?”

5 minutes of me yelling about how about I would switch to another service provider if I had the option

“So how do I get the false charges reversed?”
“You need to file a complaint”
“This is me filing a complaint. Is there anything else I need to do?”
“Yes you need to file a complaint”
“How do I file a complaint?”
“By telling me”
“Isn’t that what I just did?”

3 minutes of me ranting about wanting to file a complaint about their system of how to file complaints

“Okay, can you tell me how to follow-up if my complaint is not resolved within 7 working days?”
“There’s no need to do anything”

And then there are follow-up calls.

“I received a text message saying the extra service was cancelled but I didn’t get my money back”
“The system says your complaint was resolved”
“How is it resolved if I didn’t get my money back?”
“Well right now the complaint is just resolved. If you don’t get your money back after the complaint is closed, you can open a new complaint”

As unpleasant as it can be to make or receive certain calls, there is one type of call that is even worse. I’m referring to the calls you cannot participate in, but can clearly hear on speakerphone.  Calls which make you unsure about whether to laugh or cry. Calls which feature gems like

“Isn’t it at the company’s discretion about whether they want to follow the labour law?”


Perhaps we need to fast forward to the days when cellphones can only be used to tell time, take pictures, play games, watch videos and listen to music. Phone calls are simply too taxing.