Phone Service Options

FlashlightFun

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These days, everyone requires you to provide them with a phone number – even if there is no legitimate reason for them to attempt to reach you by phone.

There are obviously many disadvantages involved in providing most people with any phone number – let alone providing them with your primary phone number.

What have you found to be the best strategy? Do you use a secondary phone line for such purposes? If so, what type have you found to be best? Do you use (traditional) landline, cable company, satellite, VOIP, cellular, or other type of phone service?
 

KITROBASKIN

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Seems like companies that are selling items may want a phone number to cross reference with address and name when taking a credit card? Sometimes delivery companies want a number so that a message can be left if the delivery is not made, giving the customer a quick way to know and respond to get their package? Perhaps institutions think that if someone gives their phone number then the individual is serious about communicating; a genuine inquiry? Does anyone else know why this happens?

A colleague of mine is somehow able to go through a Google created phone number that will get back to him in order to speak with those he does not want to reveal his personal number. Can you use your workplace number?

Thinking back, I can't remember anyone calling me after giving out a phone number and then saying to myself, "Wish I had not given my number to buy that such-and-such, or that inquiry. My cell phone carrier (Republic Wireless) tries to let me know when a call may very well be spam. Curious to read how others feel.
 

PhotonWrangler

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A Google phone number is one way to obscure your real number. You can control where the Google number forwards to. There are some paid services out there that provide disposable phone numbers; these might be useful for a one-time signup for a service, but not for things like utilities and banking since it's better to tie those to your real number. If you give a disposable number to, say. a bank. then you "dispose" of that number afterwards, you could possibly wind up losing control of a bank account when the provider recycles that number for someone else.
 

joshk

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I know, you can't even buy a box of nails at the local home improvement store without the cashier "needing" your phone number. They just use it like a barcode on your forehead. I simply reply "I don't have a phone" and the cashier immediately knows what button to press to override the so-called 'requirement'.
 

nbp

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My phone is my business number as well. It’s on hundreds of business cards scattered around my area, my website, and is shared amongst my customers’ friends, neighbors and family who recommend me. The gal at the Ace Hardware is the least of my concerns. And for all the hundreds of people who have gotten my phone number I cannot recall it causing any issues aside from the same SPAM and robo-calls everyone gets. I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it if I were you.
 

KITROBASKIN

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People in USA and other countries can be grateful for the choices we have. Hopefully those who wish to avoid being connected electronically can continue to the fullest extent. Meanwhile, others can choose connectedness, and the benefits that are coupled with the risks.
 

joshk

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I do have a phone number. It's just not appropriate for a cashier to be feeding it into a database just because she can.
 

Dr. Strangelove

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In the old days when we just had land lines I used to say “it’s unlisted.” That probably would work today, although younger cashiers might not know what I mean.
 

PhotonWrangler

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I walked into a Sears once to get a replacement light bulb for a drill. The cashiers are always pushed to get information from the customers. When I got to the cashier with my bulb, the conversation went like this:

Cashier: Can I get your phone number?
Me: I'd rather not.
Cashier: How about an email address?
Me: Nope
Cashier: If you sign up with your email, you can get sales announcements and coupons!
Me: No thanks.
Cashier: Would you like to sign up for a Sears credit card?
Me: No thanks
(By now I'm starting to get exasperated).
Cashier: Would you like to sign up for our freqent...
Me: No thanks.
Cashier: Would you like to...
Me: I just wanna pay for my bulb and get outta here!
Cashier: Oh... ok. (Rings up purchase and prints receipt)
 

FlashlightFun

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I lose sleep over how willingly the average person discards their privacy.

I also never cease to be amazed at how easily people can be cajoled into giving out personal information.

In the past, I've seen retailer "loyalty card" applications that ask for a ridiculous amount of information, including fields such as first name, last name, social security number, driver's license number, street address, phone number, email address, etc. I can't believe that anyone would be foolish enough to provide such information. (A grocery store near me started requiring customers to complete a loyalty card application in front of an employee and submit it BEFORE the customer was allowed to view the "terms and conditions".)

I was in a cashier line a while back when a young woman (who was two people ahead of me) was providing a long list of personal information -- presumably, so she could obtain a small discount on her purchase. (If she didn't have a much older, mean-looking boyfriend between her and me, I may have tried to subtly clue her in as to why it might not be a good idea to provide all that information in a checkout line.) As you might expect, her credit card application was "declined" – so even though the store now had all her personal information, she did not receive the discount.
 

FlashlightFun

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I walked into a Sears once to get a replacement light bulb for a drill. The cashiers are always pushed to get information from the customers. When I got to the cashier with my bulb, the conversation went like this:

Cashier: Can I get your phone number?
Me: I'd rather not.
Cashier: How about an email address?
Me: Nope
Cashier: If you sign up with your email, you can get sales announcements and coupons!
Me: No thanks.
Cashier: Would you like to sign up for a Sears credit card?
Me: No thanks
(By now I'm starting to get exasperated).
Cashier: Would you like to sign up for our freqent...
Me: No thanks.
Cashier: Would you like to...
Me: I just wanna pay for my bulb and get outta here!
Cashier: Oh... ok. (Rings up purchase and prints receipt)

I hate when retail employees either demand (inappropriate) personal information and/or try to get me to agree to something while I'm trying to pay for my items. A while back, I was using a self-service POS station when a “front end” supervisor kept aggressively pressuring me to apply for a (private label) credit card and/or debit card. She just wouldn't take “no” for an answer. Finally, I was so irritated that I rattled off six reasons why it would be foolish for me to do so. Surprisingly, she agreed with me. She then blamed her (obnoxious) behavior on “corporate”... saying that employees are required to try to pressure customers into signing up for credit cards and debit cards.
 

nbp

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I lose sleep over how willingly the average person discards their privacy.

I don’t disagree at all with this sentiment and largely do try to limit how many “accounts” I have to create where I am giving out personal info. However the OP specifically asked about phone numbers. Since most peoples’ phone numbers can be easily found on any number of free directory sites, I don’t consider it especially private information, and don’t worry too much if someone has it.
 

PhotonWrangler

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I hate when retail employees either demand (inappropriate) personal information and/or try to get me to agree to something while I'm trying to pay for my items. A while back, I was using a self-service POS station when a “front end” supervisor kept aggressively pressuring me to apply for a (private label) credit card and/or debit card. She just wouldn't take “no” for an answer. Finally, I was so irritated that I rattled off six reasons why it would be foolish for me to do so. Surprisingly, she agreed with me. She then blamed her (obnoxious) behavior on “corporate”... saying that employees are required to try to pressure customers into signing up for credit cards and debit cards.

Something tells me there were also commissions involved. Either way it sucks that an innocent customer gets badgered like this.
 
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