To Phone or Text, Is that the Question?
by Jack Guarnieri, Jersey Jack Pinball & PinballSales.com
The phone’s ringing…will you answer it? Probably not if you don’t recognize the caller or if you see “Potential Spam” on the display. Isn’t technology wonderful?
I suspect I’m different from most people because I almost always answer my cell phone. This surprises many customers. I feel it’s important to be available and that answering the call shows respect and courtesy. If I don’t want to answer, I can send the call to voicemail and see the message the caller is leaving in text form. That helps me decide if I want to pick up the phone or not in much the same way as I could with an old-time answering machine. If I can’t take the call, I’ll let it go to voicemail and call back as soon as possible (unless it’s someone who left a message about renewing my car’s extended warranty!).
I’ve found it’s become more challenging to get someone to answer a phone today. Did you ever notice how when you’re texting someone and decide to just call them instead of sending another message, they don’t answer? Maybe it’s because they’re already engaged in numerous text conversations and can’t take your call?
Here’s what works for me to increase my calling success rate: I usually don’t call anyone I know without first texting them to see if they’re available or, if not, that they’d please call when they get a moment. I respect their time, and I have found this approach works better for me. I’m basically making an appointment to have a phone call. Of course, when it comes to calls to and from my wife, whenever possible, we pick up for each other right away.
I also have about 20 ringtones so I can tell who’s calling me without even having to look at my phone. It’s helpful…and sometimes funny…depending on where I am at the time!
Calls I always take are those from RePlay’s Barry Zweben. At least once a month, usually during the first week, he calls me. I look at the phone and see it’s him, and without eyeroll, I happily answer, “BARRY!!” He has a cheerful hello for me, and we make some small talk before I say, “Please run my ad again.” Sometimes it is a five- or 10-minute “unscheduled” call, but it’s always welcomed.
I don’t have data to back this up, but I think texting has taken over with younger people. I think they text a lot more often than they make phone calls. After all, they’ve grown up with this fantastic texting technology. And, think about how texting has evolved.
Remember those old phones where you had to press “ABC” and stop at the letter you wanted to string together words, sentences and entire messages? The kids were so fast at doing that! It seems whatever new technology comes along is seamlessly integrated into society. (It will be interesting to see how the new Apple Vision Pro is accepted or not.) Let’s face it: texting is here to stay until – or if – something better comes along.
You can’t talk about texting without bringing up etiquette. We all see people out having a meal and texting or scrolling while not talking to each other. I’m guilty of that, too. I’ll text my wife jokes and pictures even when I’m sitting right next to her. I’m pretty sure that during some Zoom meetings, participants are texting each other because I see a many people looking down (I assume at their phones).
There are two big points I’d like to conclude with. One, let’s all agree not to text and drive. No matter how good you think you are at it, it’s not worth it. Two, there is no substitute for a good, old-fashioned phone call. Voice-to-voice communication is simply better, adding emotion, tone and more to create better communication and deeper connection.
I have a feeling Terry Moss, who reads my column first when he gets his RePlay every month, and some others will take the opportunity to call to tell me how they can relate to this column. Barry will call me for sure! But when it comes to most of my younger friends, they’ll text me.
Whether you call or text, it’s okay as long as you communicate! If we all communicate and understand each other, maybe we will get a better world in 2024. By the way, “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” (Thanks, Stevie Wonder!)
Jack Guarnieri started servicing electromechanical pinball machines in 1975 and has been involved in every phase of the amusement game business since then. He was an operator in NYC, then began a distributorship in 1999, PinballSales.com, selling coin-op to the consumer market. In January of 2011, he founded Jersey Jack Pinball (named after his RePlay Magazine pen name), which builds award-winning, full-featured, coin-op pinball machines. Email Jack at [email protected].