Phone Paranoia

Doug bought eight of the nine potholders I had for sale.  This is the only one left.

The “Unknown” calls come twice a day.  I never answer them.  This morning after my morning “Unknown” a call came from Ohio.  Just a few minutes later there was one from Virginia.  Annoyed, I answered it, just to tell them to leave me alone.

Remember when the phone used to ring and you didn’t know who it was.  If I missed a phone call I could wonder all day who it might have been. Often my mind would make the most of it, imagining a relative or friend in a horrible accident reaching out for help.  And I missed the call.

Now, if it’s not a name or number I know on the screen of my phone I don’t answer it.  In my experience, it’s usually always someone asking for money.

So when I answered the call from Virginia, I was ready to tell them not to call me again.  And when the male voice asked for Maria Heinrich (my name from my first marriage) it was easy for me to tell him he had the wrong number and hang up.

But then the phone rang again.  Same caller.

With even less patience I answered the phone for the second time.  The man was looking to buy a quilted hot pad, had bought some before from someone at this number.  He repeated my phone number then asked if this was “Yes No Quilts”.

That got my attention, the name of my first business, my former name and hot pads or what I call potholders.  I put it all together then suspiciously asked how he got my phone number.

He had it from the last time he bought potholders from me  ( had to be seven or eight years ago and I’ve never sold my work over the phone) and now he wanted to buy  some more.

Now that I think about it, I’m surprised that he didn’t hang up on me.  I was using my Who are you, What do you want and Don’t come any closer voice,  not my customer service voice.

I finally got it when he told me he wanted to buy 8 potholders.  That he wasn’t online much and wanted something to give  to his nieces when they stopped in over the next couple of  weeks for Christmas.

I gave him a price and apologized for hanging up on him the first time.  We agreed that he’d send a check and I’d send the potholders.

But when I hung up the phone I was still suspicious.  It made no sense, I mean, if he had emailed me it would have been the same transaction, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it.  But because he called me on the phone I didn’t trust him.  I even went so far as to Google his name.

When did talking on the phone become a dangerous thing?

Even though I was having a hard time trusting Doug, he trusted me.  A new name for me and my business, a hostile greeting and he was buying my potholders without even seeing them.  Believing that I’d mail them to him.

It turns out that Doug and I talked a few more times that morning.

After I got over my phone paranoia, I called him back and offered to take his credit card number and use my Square to process it.   I usually only use my Square at the Open Houses.  The charges to use it without swiping the card (by entering the numbers manually as I would do over the phone or with email) are a lot higher and cut into my profit too much.  But Doug told me his family would start visiting next week and especially after all that happened, I wanted to get the potholders to him as soon as possible.

It still makes me smile and shake my head when I think about it.  That I’ve come to a place in my life where a phone call can cause such suspicion and mistrust.  I didn’t even realize I felt this way.

Email is a lot easier and more efficient, but there was something nice about hearing Doug accent too.   Something I never think about when I’m emailing someone from a different part of the country or even a different part of New York State.   I “hear” emails in my own accent no matter where they’re from.

I put the potholders in the mail this afternoon, Priority, so they’d get there in time for Doug to give out as gifts.

I’m going to be thinking about this one for a while.

11 thoughts on “Phone Paranoia

  1. Nice story Maria. I too will not pick up if I don’t recognize the caller id.
    Your kind heart gave this story a happy ending.
    From Fran

  2. Maybe I’m like you, I would also think this one over for a while. Touched with weirdness and uncertainty. I wonder what you got on google about him. Also what Jon thought.

  3. a few years back we were getting calls from Bill C usually three times a day. After about a month I finally picked it up and they asked if I was so and so. No, you have the wrong number. I looked the woman up online and her phone number was one digit different than mine. Bill C called again, they were not satisified. Once more I picked the phone up and this time I had that person’s number in hand. I gave it to them and the calls stopped. We figured out that Bill C was bill collector!

  4. At one time my phone nor was one digit different from our local Catholic Doicese. I’d get calls from then once in awhile. Then one day the number of calls wen,t way up. It took me awhile to figure it out but apparently someone has posted my number as the number for the diocese. Called them but they took awhile to figure out which church had done that.

    The amazing,g thing to me though was how “unChristian” so many of the calls were, even when I gave them the correct number. This was in the days before caller ID, so I’m very grateful for this new technology.

  5. i’m old enough to remember the days that when the phone rang it was because they were calling for someone in the house. now days i have different ring tones for hubby and two other people. all other calls go to our answering machine which i have the volume turned up on.
    i think it was so nice of you to call him back, get things straighted out. plus sending out the package priority mail.
    you call them potholders,
    i see them as beautiful miniature quilts.

  6. What an interesting story!! Doug’s tenacity proves how beautiful and meaningful your potholders are. And I would have been just as careful as you were with a strange call! Annie

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