February 28, 2006

Redundancies, Repetitions, and Redundancies

After being together for about five years, L and I finally decided we could join a family plan for our cell phone service and signed a two-year contract. (I was a little afraid of the commitment.)

It's been a couple of weeks and getting used to the new phone and new service provider has taken some time. Especially the voicemail provided by Cingular. Here's what I now have to wait through before hearing my voicemail:

"Please enter your password." With my old provider, T-Mobile, calls to voicemail from my cellphone connected me directly without requiring a password. Makes sense, no? Presumably I would be the only person calling voicemail from my own actual phone, so why can't Cingular just let me skip this step? (If I lost my phone, I'd be more worried about someone using it to call Uganda or Tokyo than hearing a message from my mom.)

You have one unheard message. I'll give them this one. I like to know how many messages I have. Makes me feel popular.

The following message has not been heard. Well, that stands to reason since I was just told that I have one unheard message.

First unheard message. You teased me just a second before by saying "the following message has not been heard" and then you pull the rug from under me and don't play the actual message. What gives?

Finally, the message is played. I'm not a conspiracy theorist by nature, but I can't help but wonder if this isn't a ploy to get millions of customers across the country to eat into their minutes 15 seconds at a time, at least a few times per day.

Mr. Cingular, if you're reading, I'd rather it go something like this:

You have one unheard message.
Message one.

After that, play me my message. Then give me the option to delete or save it and then, if I have been so blessed as to have received a second message, say "message two" and keep going.

Cingular's way of walking you through your voicemail has all the grace of Mr. Magoo at the ballet. This was just a minor inconvenience at first, having to wade through a cheerful computer voice telling me how many messages I had, that my messages had not been heard, and that - oh, boy, hold on! - I was finally going to hear my new messages, but now all I want to do is access my voicemail. And quick.

Posted by Doug at February 28, 2006 02:36 PM

Verizon is the exact same way. They actually "upgraded" to this voicemail service. It use to be "First message" and then you would get your message now we are told THREE times about our new messages. Drives me nuts!!

Posted by: R in WY at February 28, 2006 02:49 PM

Hm. I use Cingular too, and mine works a lot more like your idealized voicemail experience. No password from my phone--it says,
"Hello, [my voice]David[/my voice].
You have X unplayed messages (and Y saved messages).
Message one. From (name or number).
(message goes here)
(delete/save options)
(repeat as necessary)"

Posted by: David. (Macon GA) at February 28, 2006 04:01 PM

with my phone I programed my password to play automatically with whatever number you have to call for voicemail thus it is a little more automated b/c I don't have to type in my password each time (just put a couple pauses b/n the number and the password).
Change is difficult. Do you have a joint checking account yet?!

Posted by: JT at February 28, 2006 11:49 PM

Sprint doesn't require a password, but it does take forever to get to my message(s). Geez, answering machines were easier than cell phone voice mails are today! So much for convenience.

Posted by: Tracie at March 1, 2006 01:44 PM

I have cingular in MD, and it doesn't ask me for a password... but it does annoy me that i can't delete messages until it's completely done playing it... sometimes I don't want to hang on and listen to the whole thing!!

MY husband and I just went family plan on cingular also after almost 5 years together!

Posted by: Samara at March 1, 2006 04:52 PM