January 12, 2004
Phone greets

Nearly everyone I know has a cell phone that displays the caller’s name and number when the phone rings. Some can even pop up a photo of the caller. It’s extremely handy. This isn’t exactly new tech; even in the US, Caller ID was introduced in the 90s. These days, I don’t answer the phone unless I know who is calling.

It got me thinking about how phone transactions have changed over time.

1894: Operator-assisted calls required long waits and sometimes multiple transactions before conversation commenced.

“Operator. How may I direct your call?”
“Albany, New York, please.”

1954: Before conversing, you needed to have a brief exchange to determine who was on the other end of the line.

“Hello, Jones residence. Myra speaking. May I ask who’s calling?”
“Hi, Myra, this is Jane.”

2004: Technology allows preliminaries to be skipped. With a glance at the display, the person answering can just start talking.

“You’re running late?”
“Sorry. At Shinjuku now. I’ll be about 20 minutes…”

Posted by kuri at January 12, 2004 02:10 PM


One thing I observed a few years ago is that you used to call a place.
Now you call a person.

Telephones have become such a personal item, too, like a hairbrush or a pair of slippers. I’m never comfortable using someone else’s…

Posted by: Jim O'Connell on January 13, 2004 04:00 PM

I don’t answer either unless I know who is calling. Mainly because it costs me $.25/minute. I am stingy! And I will just check the messages from home later which won’t eat up my airtime.

And I agree, I don’t feel right using someone else’s keitai.

Posted by: Barron on January 14, 2004 06:57 AM
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