The cord has been cut and the line has gone dead.
The American bank JP Morgan has announced the company is getting rid of voicemail for some employees in an effort to cut costs and save time. Each line costs JP Morgan $10 per month to maintain, which admittedly is not much on the scale of its profits but, in a world dominated by email, text and instant messaging, voicemail is now as pointless as a pigeon with a pager. So don’t bother leaving a message after the beep. Here are six reasons why we wouldn’t care if voicemail hung up on us for good:
1. No one checks their mail
Remember that time six years ago when you went on holiday and returned to a full mailbox? And you still haven’t cleared it. Or listened to the messages. Time to face the facts: you will never log into your voicemail again. And the people who left you messages are probably still angry with you. Or dead.
2. The only person who leaves a message is your mother
And there’s a good chance the message is a 12-inch version of the inside of her jacket pocket with a grim backing track of supermarket checkout beeps, crisp crunching and bland observations about the weather.
3. There is a (red flashing) light that will never go out
It has the atmosphere and hue of a panic button and serves only to remind you that you have a message you don’t want to hear. “It totally stresses me out when I come in to a wee red light on my phone,” confesses Annie Millar, an employee at a major bank. “I usually ignore it.”
4. Hundreds of hours are wasted listening to someone hanging up
Think of the hours, OK seconds, it takes to call your voicemail, scroll through the options, get to the offending message … and find that it’s a recording of a person hanging up. Or worse, someone leaving an insanely fast number that you have to listen to a thousand times before you give up and return to the simpler pleasures of WhatsApp. “Going through all the menu options and actually getting to the voicemail takes longer than listening to the message,” observes Millar. “What’s the point?”
5. It’s boring!
Like all mail, voicemail is, by and large, disappointing. One hopes for the love declaration, glamorous invitation or promotion. One gets the bill, meeting confirmation and cold call. “The worst is when someone says: ‘Hi, it’s so-and-so, call me back,’” says Tina Edwards, a music broadcaster and journalist whose voicemail prompt, incidentally, is a week out of date. “I want a bit more titillation over what we’re going to be talking about.” Emails are so much quicker to delete.
6. You get a faster reply on Instagram
Voicemail, ironically, makes it harder to get hold of people. Think of all the recorded messages out there announcing the person you want to speak to is on holiday. Until 29 May, six years ago. Yet there she is on Twitter, Instagramming her lunch. Instant message her and she will reply instantly. Leave her a voicemail and you will probably never hear her voice again.
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