Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Political phone harassment
We screen our calls. Period. We get so many phone calls from the SF Police, the SF Fire Department, politicians calling to endorse this candidate or that proposition, surveys and polls that we just don't answer the phone until we know that it's someone we want to talk to.
When I got home tonight, the phone rang, and the caller hung up during the fourth ring -- not long enough for the fourth ring to finish, but long enough that the answering machine picked up. Ten or fifteen minutes later, it happened again. Chip said this had been happening regularly since mid-afternoon.
The phone rang this way every ten to fifteen minutes, never finishing its last ring, and a dial tone coming out of the answering machine.
Finally, I had enough of it. I answered the phone and didn't say anything for a few seconds until I heard a tentative, "Hello?"
"Can I speak to Chip Hoover please?"
He gave me his name.
"And you're calling from...?"
"I want to talk to him about the primary elections."
Oh, to have had the presence of mind to have said, "You didn't answer my question. Where are you calling from?"
Instead, I said, "Are you the reason that our phone has been ringing every ten minutes?"
"Our phone has been ringing off the hook all night, and whoever it is hasn't been leaving messages. If you're the reason our phone has been going crazy, we certainly don't want to talk to you."
"Are you Chip Hoover?"
"Okay, thanks, bye."
While I was typing this, they called back.
"Is this William Green?"
He gave a name, "...and I'm calling about the upcoming June primary. There are some democratic candidates that--"
"Are you the reason my phone's been ringing off the hook?"
"I believe this is the first time I've called."
"I get the impression that an auto-dialer has been calling this number for several hours until someone picked up the phone. Thank you for calling. Good night."
[Thursday morning P.S.: The phone didn't ring again all night.]