Thursday, May 28, 2009

Living without voicemail

I want to leave a message.

I want others to leave a message for me.

Alas – it seems most Brazilians are not on the voicemail train. Practically no one leaves a voicemail message and most do not have a voicemail option on their cell phones.

Luiz and I are to the point that we are ready to say in our outgoing phone recording “Please leave us a message – PLEASE!”

The problem seems to be that voicemail is a double-charged reality here. As a caller – you pay extra to leave a message in someone’s voicemail box -- and as the called you pay extra to listen to that message. The phone companies are working it at both ends.

When our friends hear an outgoing voicemail message they hang up.

We are trying to encourage our friends to leave a message on our personal home phone machine (we don’t charge anything!!) In fact, for the most part, we never answer our phone when we are home. We wait to screen the call. But here – nobody leaves a message. They just hang up without a peep.

This is a far cry from the two or three minute voicemail messages I used to leave with friends in San Francisco – almost like talking to them directly. Now we are back to not knowing who called or why – until we track them down.

On the bright side – there is no time spent emptying the phone machine and calling people back.

Do you remember when you did not have a phone machine?

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