Why today’s voicemail systems are worse than 1980s answering machines

Note: This post is over 4 years old. It was first published in March 2010

It’s funny to think about how big a step back voicemail took when it moved from desktop answering machines to mobile phones.

Answering Machine wrapped in rubber bands
Image credit: Hold all my calls by Furryscaly

Back in the 1980s, if you didn’t get to the phone in time, you’d hear the caller starting to leave a message. No big deal, you could just pick up the phone and cut in. It was so straightforward and obvious, you didn’t even think of it as a feature.

Fast forward to present day, 30 years later. Somebody calls your mobile but you don’t manage to pick up in time. You try calling them back, but it goes straight to voicemail. Damn, that means they’re leaving you a message. No point in leaving them one. You hang up, leave it a couple of minutes and call them back. Provided they’re not still rambling on, you get through. So, they repeat everything they just said in the message. At some point later on, you notice you’ve got a voicemail alert. Huh, what’s this? Oh, it’s just the voicemail that my friend left earlier. Better delete that.

It’s about time the present day caught up with the 1980s!

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