It’s one thing when you call up a friend and end up having to leave a message; it’s another thing when you have to sit through a completely obnoxious voicemail greeting first! We love our friends and family members, but sometimes when our calls to them go to voicemail, we would rather hang up and call back later than listen to the entire recording.
This week, we’ll look at five of the most annoying voicemail/answering machine greetings we encounter on a regular basis. Think about your own message systems and whether or not you’re guilty of any of these!
The Friday Five: Most Annoying Voicemail Greetings
1. The Song With Poor Sound Quality.
To achieve this, cell phone users will record a favorite song to play when a call goes to voicemail. At first, callers will wonder what aural atrocity has just destroyed their ear drums. Even if the chosen song is well liked among callers, they will be: a) unable to hear it because of white noise and other sound interference; or b) perturbed that they have to sit tight through at least part of the song in order to record their very important messages. However, chances are that most callers won’t even like your choice in country/heavy metal/rap music. Although most popular between 2005 and 2008, The Song With Poor Sound Quality still exists among cell phone users, and even serves to replace the usual ringing sound on some calls.
2. The Cutesy Couple.
The Cutesy Couple greeting usually occurs on landlines in the homes of married or otherwise live-in couples. Because the phone line belongs to both parties, the two sometimes decide to record their welcome message together, making little jokes here and there, and usually completing each other’s sentences. Although well-intentioned and meant to humor callers, The Cutesy Couple does a better job of annoying those who call. (Can also occur in families with children, in a variation called The Flamboyant Family.)
3. The False Greeting.
The False Greeting begins innocently enough with a “Hello?” Callers then believe that they have reached a live person, and will begin to speak. “Hello?” the greeting repeats, leading callers to think that there is something wrong with the line and that they should speak louder and more clearly. “Oh, sorry, we’re not in right now,” the message concludes, and the caller feels immediately disappointed, misled into believing that he or she had actually reached the person of interest. Although I have several friends who have used The False Greeting at one point or another, I have to call this one out — it is annoying and it usually leaves us rolling our eyes and not leaving a message.
4. The Excessively Long Greeting.
Yes, folks, this is one that I’m guilty of. Although I shortened my voicemail greeting recently, I had a very wordy one for the longest time. Whenever my dad called, his message usually included something along the lines of, “I’ll pay you five dollars if you change your voicemail.” Let’s face it — if you haven’t reached the person you’re trying to call and you do want to leave a message, you’re probably going to do it quickly, so you won’t want to sit through five minutes of them talking about why they aren’t available. Be succinct and be done with it. 🙂
5. The Excessively Short Greeting.
Trust me, those exist. For example, one of my friends’ voicemail greetings consists of, “Hello,” and then the tone. Even after calling him hundreds of times, I am still constantly thrown off by his voicemail and I never know when to record my message or if the phone just malfunctioned. Don’t get too verbose, but at least include the basics of a generic answering machine. No one wants to feel like they are being rushed!
What category, if any, do you fall under? What are some of your voicemail pet peeves?