Number please

When you want to replace an appliance, it can be quite tricky to find the particular features that you want. Recently, for instance, when I needed a new washing machine for one of the London flats, I needed it to be a particular size – but that wasn’t offered on the website.  Price, colour, manufacturer, but not size.  But that was fundamental – if it didn’t fit in the space, it didn’t matter if everything else was right.

Quite often, it’s only after buying something that you find out what feature you liked in the old machine that you don’t get in the new one.  Even if you knew that you wanted it, it might not be mentioned.  You want an example? Darlings, you shall have one.  Our last telephone.

Our last phone had an amber light to show that the answerphone was switched on.  Then there was a red light, which flashed when there was a new message, and stayed on without flashing when there was a message which had been listened to but not deleted.  This was ideal.  The first one to see it listened, if it was for him/her they dealt with it and deleted it, if it was for the other person it was still visible so he/she listened, dealt with, deleted.  That phone finally died, some years ago, and I was unable to find one which I was sure had the same feature.  The present one, which (with four handsets) was expensive, doesn’t.  A light shows that it’s on or flashes to show a new message.  And that’s all.  Once it’s been listened to, it doesn’t show.  And this causes a few ructions.

The thing is, I’m not very telephone minded, and the Sage is.  So it’s usually he who listens to messages.  When I get in, I’ll check the phone, possibly not for a while, but he goes to look straight away.  Most messages are for him anyway, people normally phone me on my mobile, text me or email.  But if there’s a message for me, he leaves it for me to find.  However, if there’s not a new message, it doesn’t occur to me to check the answerphone, particularly because he doesn’t really know how to delete messages and so there might be 15 of them to listen to before I find the most recent and so I tend only to do it if there’s one for me … which I only know if he’s told me.  Today, he told me there was a message for me, I listened to them all.  One for me was from last Wednesday, which quite dismayed me.  Another for me, he’d phoned back and not even told me.  The third, fortunately, I remembered who it was from and was able to look up her number – because afterwards he tried to delete the old messages but lost that one instead.

This is not intended to be a complaint, the Sage and I manage to live with each other’s shortcomings.  What I would like to know is, if anyone has a telephone that shows messages, even when they’ve been listened to once, please let me know its make and model, because I will buy it.  I will pay hard cash not to be irritated.

Another thing, when I bought this phone I listened to its own answerphone message and I was quite dismayed by the speaker’s voice.  Dreadful vowels, darlings.  I couldn’t put up with it.  So I had to record my own message, posh little girl with a surprisingly deep voice being better than no discernible regional accent (which would have been fine) but badly spoken – but that means that most people, when leaving a message, speak to me whether it is for me or not.  “Hello, Z, will you tell the Sage…” … probably not, I’ll not have heard it in the first place.

9 comments on “Number please

  1. Tim

    My elderly phone (BT Freestyle 7250) tells me how many messages there are on the answering thingie, and flashes red if there’s an unlistenedto one. If the display says >0, the red light will be flashing. Simples! But there’s only the one of me.
    I might have to blog on the same theme…

  2. Z

    Our old one was BT, and when I bought it there was a little BT shop in Norwich and you could look at and play with the various models. And that’s right, it had the number of messages. I’ll check out BT phones.

  3. lx

    My home phone service is provided over the Internet (MagicJack). There is a pop-up on the computer screen when the phone rings. If the caller leaves a message, it is sent via e-mail as an audio file attachment. I find all of that helpful.

    Perhaps there is equivalent service in the UK?

  4. 63mago

    I’m sorry, I am technically illiterate (?). I use a phone with a display a friend gave to me, that features the mentioned display and a very simple menue, no blinking. The apparatus is pretty old and not built anymore. In the “Business” there is a phone with a display showing that there is a number of “old” calls or messages, those not deleted, but one has to read the display. There is something blinking red, but only when a message is not heared / listened to. And: When the call is answered by pressing the “call back” key, the number is automatically taken from the list, but the voice message stays until it is manually deleted.
    It took me some time to figure this out!

  5. Blue Witch

    The more expensive BT answerphones (top of the Diverse range – don’t know if this is still the name) allow you to listen to the messages from a handset without affecting the messages blinking on the main machine.

    But, BT answerphones are no longer made by who they once were, so, IMHO, have vastly decreased in quality. But, they are still the best of the bunch: a couple of years ago, I took 3 different types (Panasonic, Phillips, cheaper BT sort) back before I found one that worked at the Coven (thick walls and long garden, coverage by them hopeless). I guess you’d have the same sort of problems.

  6. Blue Witch

    Little known point of info that may interest someone – if you have a landline phone that can do SMS, and are with BT, you can send free text messages at any time with even their cheapest package.

  7. Z

    The problem would be that our wireless internet connection (even with a booster) doesn’t reach all over our house and we want a phone in our bedroom. Our internet phone signal is even quite patchy in the drawing room.

    A display showing the number of messages is all I want, Mago. I use none of the extra features.

    That’s something I suppose, BW, though if the message is for you, the other person would end up listening to it anyway. Coverage is nowhere near the distance it says it should be, but it never has been with any phone. I don’t see why this should be the case outside in direct line with the main machine which is by a window, but it’s like broadband speed and fuel consumption, the most wildly optimistic estimation with nothing to back it up.


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