My phone rings a lot. It’s not because I’m popular, or because the few people who communicate with me do so via calls instead of text. It’s because robots.
Like a lot of people with a cellular/mobile phone (or as we call them nowadays “a phone”) I get a fair share of automated calls trying to get me to sign up for things, buy things, or simply say “yes” so they can run some sort of scam on my number. I block these numbers as they come up, but it’s never the same number twice. For this reason, I don’t generally answer calls from numbers I don’t recognize, which has led to a couple of long lost friends getting pretty irritated at me.
Every week or so I comb through my voicemail for any messages I actually need to hear, and delete the rest. Most are fairly unremarkable, but a few of these robocalls stood out. Here are the top five most powerful caller robots, ranked by creativity, believability, and ability to create anxiety.
5. The Robot Offering Me A Cruise
I’d love to go on a cruise! Well, not really. But I’d love to do something pretty expensive for a fraction of the price, and I’d love to have the time, money, and schedule where I can take three weeks off to just bop around the ocean. The catch however, is that I am not over 55, something these robots require in order for me to take advantage of their sweet offer. Being under 55 disqualifies me for cruising.
Believability: 10; I do believe that if I were over 55 I “may qualify” for this great offer.
Anxiety Creation: 2.
4. The Robot Offering Me A Hotel
This is actually something I’d take the robots up on– a stay in a hotel would be pretty nifty next time I travel. Or hell, even if I just wanted to feel fancy in Seattle. Sadly there are income requirements for this one that I don’t meet; if you are ALREADY RICH you can save even more money on hotels. Thanks robots.
Believability: 10: I do believe that rich people want to give other rich people breaks.
Anxiety Creation: 5. Where am I gonna stay, huh?
3. The Robot Offering Me A Break On Home Repairs
Am I a homeowner in the Seattle area? No I am not. I rent. I may own some day, but if so, it’s unlikely to be in the Seattle area, and it is even less likely that I will trust a random robot with my household repairs. I’m also pretty sure none of the homeowners I know are stoked to get reminded via phone call that they’ve got leaky faucets or they need new wainscotting in the parlor.
Anxiety Creation: 8. Thanks for reminding me of potential housing instability and the increasingly unattainable “american dream” goals of previous generations.
2. The Robot Offering Me Health Insurance
Like many people, I fall precisely between wealthy enough to afford health insurance at it’s current rates and unwealthy enough to get any of the free or superdiscounted options. Neither of the bars I nor the school I work at provide health insurance (which is industry standard for both) so when somethings wrong I load up on vitamins and aspirin and hope for the best. This robot somehow knows this, and knows how tempted I am to hear it’s whole Premera Blue Cross pitch through.
Creativity: 6– Health is one of the basic things of people, so it’s not that creative, but it offering it over the phone like so is a nice touch.
Believability: 10 I totally believe they want me to sign up for this stuff.
Anxiety Creation: 10– is that mole new? It’s probably cancer. Same with the headache.
1. The Actual Person Calling To See Why Alan Kim Hasn’t Picked Up His Prescription At the 15th and Market Bartell Drugs
I do not know this person, but apparently they have a lot of drugs waiting for them, and my phone number.
Creativity: 11– what if it’s all a scam to get me to go the the Bartells on 15th? Nefarious.
Believability: 1. Real people don’t call any more.
Anxiety Creation: 10. As mentioned, I do not know Alan Kim– but I’m worried for him! He doesn’t have his medicine!
Also published on Medium.