Re: Don’t call me

When I posted Don’t call me this morning, I sent an email to Mark Anderson informing him of my blog entry. I just checked my email and found that he had replied. I will share with you Mr. Anderson’s message and my subsequent response. I am doing so because I believe it helps clarify my position. The only thing I changed before posting this is the removal of my actual phone number from my response.

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First, my email to Mr. Anderson:

Dear Mr. Anderson,

We have been receiving your annoying phone calls. Well, not your phone calls. The phone calls made by your machine.

This is a particularly annoying manner of advertising. I posted a blog entry about this at https://lovehatephoenix.wordpress.com/2008/07/13/dont-call-me/

Thank you.

Thaddeus Dombrowski

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Mr. Anderson replies:

Dear Mr. Dombrowski, I apologize for the unwanted recorded message phone calls. If you give us your phone number, we will remove you immediately from the calling list. Unfortunately you may get other calls from other campaigns as we get closer to the election date. Again, I apologize for the calls. Let us know if you would like to stop receiving them. Mark Anderson

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My response to Mr. Anderson:

Dear Mr. Anderson,

Thank you for your prompt reply to my email. I’ll start by saying that I do want to be removed from your calling list. My phone number is AAA BBB-CCCC.

I also want you to know that my blog entry is not about you personally, or your campaign. I hope I was clear in my blog post that what I find annoying is the use of robots to reach people in their private spaces, through private modes of communication such as phones and email accounts. Your response leaves me with the impression that while you respect my desire to be removed from your calling list, you may be missing my larger point — the use of phone-bots in the first place.

I told my wife that you responded to my email, which engendered a discussion about the practice. She finds it annoying, too. If you want to reach me in my private space, you can do so personally and I don’t object. In fact, I respect the politician who takes the time to get to know constituents through phone calls and door visits. I don’t have a problem with politicians mailing letters. (Abuse of franking privileges are another matter, of course.) Even a campaign that mobilizes people to call other people for the sake of a candidate or issue is something that I can accept. I can’t promise that I wouldn’t be annoyed, but I believe it is legitimate for someone who wants my attention on an issue to call me personally.

The use of machinery to spam large mailing or calling lists is the thing that is so annoying. I understand you are probably a busy guy. Anyone who is making a serious run for office is either busy or an uncontested candidate. But we live in a world where machinery is ubiquitous. It can be an oppressive world if we have to respond unnecessarily to the machines, instead of the machines for working for us. You may think you have solved a problem by getting a robot to call the people you don’t have the time to contact personally. But, the people receiving the phone calls find themselves having to stop what they are doing to respond to your machine.

When congress passed the legislation enabling the national do-not-call registry, they did so in response to people who were receiving sometimes dozens of calls in a day. And most of these were from people working in call centers. When we first bought our home here in Tempe, before our number began to show on the do-not-call list, we also experienced the machine-gun telephone effect. The use of phone-bots by candidates for public office promises a similar result. That’s why I decided to write about it. The fact is, we are all busy people. Your time is limited, but mine is just as valuable to me.

I will conclude by letting you know that I will post your email on my blog along with my response. If you wish to further clarify your thoughts on my blog entries you can respond here or on my blog and I will publish that.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Thaddeus Dombrowski

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