Navigation & Music Control
 [ BACK]  [NEXT]                       Issue #056 - 09/07/1997


Putting Your Life On Hold...

Hi, All!
     How would we manage this modern life without the telephone? 
Having a teenage daughter here at SUNFUN central, we have learned
how hard it is to live without a phone.  The telephone is
certainly a wonderful invention - we can hear the voices of far
away friends and relatives that we would have a hard time
visiting.  But there seem to be an endless stream of callers out
there who want to sell us something, or worse.  Not long ago, one
of those slimey companies called just at supper time and asked to
talk to my bride, Carol.
     "Oh, you haven't heard, then," I said quietly.  "She died."
     The telemarketer got off VERY quickly, but I found myself
facing my dear bride.
     "Why did you say such an awful thing about me!," she
     "Well, I know you didn't want to talk to them, anyway, and
now you know they won't ever call back"
     To this day, I think Carol believes there is something a
little too Freudian about my answer...
     A quick note for those of you outside the US...  Most of you
have only one phone company to choose from.  Here in the US,
things are a little more confusing: you don't usually have a
choice of the local phone company, but you can choose among any
of HUNDREDS of long distance companies.  So instead of one bill,
you get several.  Think that's confusing?  Don't even get me
started on Inter-LATA and Intra-LATA calling!
     Thank you calls go out this week to: Rosana Leung, Jerry
Taff, Helen Yee, Howard Lesniak, Dale Frederickson, Kerry Miller,
Peter Adler and Ellen Peterson.  You'll always have a place in
the SUNFUN Directory.  Now, deposit 45 cents for the next three
minutes, and...
     Have a great week,



     "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously
considered as a means of communications. The device is inherently
of no value to us."
               - Western Union Company executive in 1876,
               responding to Alexander Graham Bell's offer to
               sell them his patent on the telephone for $100,000



     I got an offer in the mail -
               PHONE BILL"

     Well, why not?  $35 is good money for one phone call."  I
called Sprint and made the switch.

     Two weeks later I got an offer from AT&T -
               "WE WANT YOU BACK - SWITCH NOW AND GET $25
     I put the offer aside intending to make the switch, but
forgot to follow up...

     A week later a $75 check arrived from AT&T -

     Can't argue with that.  So I cashed the check and went back
with AT&T.  Another two weeks pass and I got a call from Sprint -

          Sprint Lady: "We want you back at Sprint"

          Me: "What incentive are you offering"

          Sprint Lady: "Better service and prices than AT&T"

          Me: "But AT&T just paid me $75"

          Sprint Lady: "I can't give you any money, but listen,
               Switch back to Sprint now and then AT&T will send
               you another $75. Then go back to AT&T!   We're
               happy to have AT&T spend their money on you."

     Really, that's what she said.  I gave her full points for
creative marketing and agreed to go back to Sprint.  Sure enough,
a check arrived from AT&T - but only for $25.  That night I got a
"please switch back" call from AT&T.

          Me: "I got your $25 check today - what's the best you
               can offer me?"

          AT&T Guy: "The screen says I can offer $75"

          Me: "Make it a hundred and you've got a deal"

          AT&T Guy: "I can't go over $75, but I'll tell you what
               - Go ahead and cash the $25 check anyway and I'll
               also send you $75 in credit certificates."

     Really, that's what he said.  So, you guessed it, I'm back
with AT&T.
     Now I'm thinking, this is a great business.  With a few
dozen phone lines I could earn a living just swapping long
distance carriers.  On average I could probably net $50 per line
per month.  But why stop there?  How about starting a company
that handles long distance company switching for the public?  I
could sign people up giving me discretion of which long distance
company to use, and take 20% of the incentive fee, passing 80%
back to the consumer.  Of course, then some enterprising soul
will start a competing company and offer my switchers an
incentive to switch to his switching company ...

                              - Author Unknown


     Trying to get more long distance telephone calls from those
charged to a credit card or a third number, AT&T reserved the
toll-free number 1-800-OPERATOR. 
     Not to be outdone, and perhaps knowing the public better,
MCI reserved the number 1-800-OPERATER and has been scooping up
calls intended for its arch-rival.



     The speaker of Sri Lanka's parliament warned lawmakers last
     month that he would confiscate their mobile telephones if he
     found them being used in the chamber.  The warning came
     after one lawmaker's mobile phone rang, briefly interrupting
     parliamentary proceedings. (Reuter)
          [ Well, there's one place telemarketers can't find
          you... ]


          Bezeq, the Israeli telephone company, recently mailed a
     letter to a company owned phone booth.  The form letter,
     addressed to "Bezeq, Inc." at the address where the phone
     booth is located, informed the telephone booth about a new
     service offered by the phone company.  The Israeli Post
     Office delivered the letter by placing it inside the phone
     booth.  Bezeq said that the computer program that sends out
     mailings will be corrected.  (Yerushalaim, a Jerusalem local
          [ The phone booth wasn't available for comment... ]


     Stupidest Phone Tricks:  "I called a company and asked to
     speak to Bob.  The person who answered said, 'Bob is on
     vacation.  Would you like to hold?'"


          People calling an FBI phone number in Philadelphia to
     report public corruption got quite a surprise when they were
     instead connected to a X-rated adult chat line.  The number
     had been disconnected by the FBI and was reassigned to a
     Beverly Hills adult hotline. (UPI)


          Don Smith of New Orleans is tired of phone calls in the
     middle of the night.  It turns out that he has a phone
     number that is similar to a Papa John's pizza parlor, and
     people dial his number at all hours to order delivery. 
     Trying to cut down on the repeat calls, Smith recently
     recorded a telephone message telling callers they had
     reached "Papa Don's", and that he was sorry to say he had
     been closed down by the health department.  Not amused by
     this, Papa John's has sued, asking that Smith be ordered to
     stop playing the message. (UPI)


     Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)..... (718) 459-3140
               If No Answer, Call ............. (718) 459-3140
                    - 1991 Telephone Directory for Nassau County,
                    New York


          A worker in China, who was angry because his company
     wouldn't provide him with housing, made $96,400 in phone sex
     calls from a company phone.  On the positive side, he did
     finally get his free housing - for about 15 years, which is
     the length of his jail term. (AP)



     Recently, FBI agents conducted a raid of a psychiatric
hospital in San Diego that was under investigation for medical
insurance fraud.  After hours of reviewing thousands of medical
records, the dozens of agents had worked up quite an appetite.
The agent in charge of the investigation called a nearby pizza
parlor with delivery service to order a quick dinner for his
     The following telephone conversation took place and was
recorded by the FBI because they were taping all conversations at
the hospital.

     FBI AGENT:  "Hello. I would like to order 19 large pizzas
          and 67 cans of soda."

     PIZZA MAN:  "And where would you like them delivered?"

     FBI AGENT: "We're over at the psychiatric hospital."

     PIZZA MAN: "The psychiatric hospital?"

     FBI AGENT: "That's right. I'm an FBI agent."

     PIZZA MAN: "You're an FBI agent?"

     FBI AGENT: "That's right. Just about everybody here is."

     PIZZA MAN: "And you're at the psychiatric hospital?"

     FBI AGENT: "That's correct. And make sure you don't go
          through the front doors.  We have them locked. You will
          have to go around to the back to the service entrance
          to deliver the pizzas."

     PIZZA MAN: "And you say you're all FBI agents?"

     FBI AGENT: "That's right. How soon can you have them here?"

     PIZZA MAN: "And everyone at the psychiatric hospital is an
          FBI agent?

     FBI AGENT: "That's right. We've been here all day and we're

     PIZZA MAN: "How are you going to pay for all of this?"

     FBI AGENT: "I have my checkbook right here."

     PIZZA MAN: "And you're all FBI agents?"

     FBI AGENT: "That's right. Everyone here is an FBI agent. Can
          you remember to bring the pizzas and sodas to the
          service entrance in the rear? We have the front doors

     PIZZA MAN: "I don't think so!" {CLICK!}

© 1997 by Bill Becwar. All Rights Reserved.