Who's there? Answer friend or foe!

Whenever someone uses a 'rights' defence I get a little uneasy. I have always preferred the concept of responsibilities to rights. Here's one example that drives me crazy.

The phone rings. Who can be disturbing me at this time/at the key point of this really important TV programme/in the middle of a meal? It's okay, I've got caller ID. So I take a look and it says 'Withheld Number' or whatever the message is.

That gets me really mad. It's argued that people should be able to withhold their number because it's their 'right' to remain anonymous. What about my right to know who is ringing me? The only reason I don't have our phone reject all Withheld Number calls is that the telephone company makes it harder to do than to implement any other feature.

Some people will tell you they use Withheld Number because they don't want people making sales calls. What's that all about? How do they think letting me know what their phone number is will result in sales calls? I'm sorry. There's no excuse. It's anti-social, irritating and should be banned forthwith.


  1. for the last few months in our house, we have taken to religiously ignoring ALL withhelds, no-IDs, confidentials and even numbers we don't recognise (people we want to call us know our mobiles). we thought it would stop the damn things. it has actually made the number of calls increase! still not picking up though.

  2. If you get a lot of commercial calls and are UK based, the telephone preference scheme is very good - we get hardly any sales calls now (those we get are usually from abroad) - you can register at http://www.mpsonline.org.uk/tps/

  3. If I'm busy or doing a Victor Meldrew I won't answer any call where the number is withheld. (BTW how many other words have two H's, says the bookkeeper?) For some reason my mother has now decided to hide behind this device and so whenever she gets through to one of the children (who aren't yet wised up to this problem) I get maternal strife for not having been at home whenever she's called.

    The problem now, of course, is that she doesn't know (or understand) how to remove it...


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