this has thrown me into a fit of rage about a dozen times in the past few months — I mean seriously, modern phone systems must be able to handle this is a more elegant way.
here’s the situation: on my cell phone, I don’t have to think about whether I’m dialing next door, across town, across state, or to Canada* — I dial 10 digits, and the call goes through. I get home and do the same thing, and half the time the call fails. area code 202 (Washington DC) is a different area code, but NOT long distance. area code 301 (our local) is sometimes long distance — and I have no idea where the boundaries are. and then 410 (MD) and 703 (VA) are clearly long distance, but the point is I just don’t want to have to think about it.
because here’s the thing — we’ve had 10 digit dialing for over 10 years in Maryland, so it’s already the way we dial. now the phone company systems are smart enough to know if a call is long distance because if I dial an LD number without the +1, it gives me a recording telling me to hang up, and dial again: 1+ the number. I don’t remember phone numbers anymore (they’re all in the Treo), so I usually have to look the number up again (yes, it’s already forgotten), dial 1, then the rest of the number. and at this point i’m ranting to KJ and the person I’m calling hears me full of rage (“HAPPY MOTHERS DAY – GRRR!!!”)
here’s the better way for this to work: the phone system realizes it’s long distance, and a pleasant voice says, “the number you entered is not in your local calling area; press 1 to connect this call (charges may apply) or hang up to cancel.” that would be so easy to implement, and virtually no frustration for the dialer.
OK, so at this point you think I’m off my rocker, ranting instead of dialing +1, but here’s the kicker: we don’t pay for long distance. long distance is so cheap now, our telecom company bundles unlimited long distance (48 states + Canada) as part of the phone-internet-cable bundle that we get. so it’s not even an issue of of charges! now is my frustration warranted?!
seriously, phone companies — this is a free innovation for you. figure out how to implement it, let me know, and you’ve won a new customer.
* oh yeah, the flip side of this problem — my cell provider is more than happy to forward my calls to Canada, without requiring +1 and without letting me know about additional charges. then they slap me with $0.50/minute or so for the pleasure. so in that case, I wish they’d say “press 1 to accept charges” as I might think twice about calling until I get home to the free LD…