How do you handle “Wrong Numbers”?


Image: David Castillo Dominici /

Recently I had a rather rude awakening when I made a phone call to someone I knew.  I didn’t have her number at first, so I called her husband to get it, and when I called her up, I said, “Hi, is that Mary*? This is Joyce”.  And she immediately barked back in Hokkien, “You’ve dialled the wrong number la!”

And the line went dead.

I was rudely jolted that she would act and sound that way.  I was quite sure it was her on the phone because it sounded like her, and it wasn’t as if I didn’t tell her who I was too; but the way she handled a phone call, which she thought was a wrong number surely said something about phone etiquette.

I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt that she had not seen my number before, and she thought it was someone she did not know, but even so, there is really no need to bark like that.

Even me in my bitchiest manner would not do that.

I’ve had my fair share of wrong numbers.

“Hello, can I speak to Ah Meng?”

“I think you’ve got the wrong number, there is no one by that name here.”

(line goes dead)

“Hello, Aunty ah?”

“No person by that name here, sorry.”

“Oh sorry ah…” (at least he has the decency to apologize)

“Hello!  What place is this ah?”

“Yes? What number do you want?”

“Is this a house or a shop?  What number is this?”

“Can you please tell me what number you dialed?”

(Caller hangs up)

So, see?  It actually goes both ways.  There can be rude callers and rude answerers too.  I guess I have been on the receiving ends of both now.

How do you handle wrong numbers?  Usually the person who dialled the wrong number did not do it on purpose, but by mistake.  Don’t take it out on that person just because you were disturbed by the call.  Sometimes it takes a bit of consideration to tell them it’s the wrong number.  After all, they’re only human.

And if you indeed made a mistake by dialing a wrong number, the first thing you should do is apologize, not make excuses for making a wrong call.  Just a simple sorry and then hang up will do nicely.

Me? Hmmmph. I’m still a bit miffed over the “barking” incident.

*Name changed to protect privacy

This entry was posted in Thoughts & Scribblings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How do you handle “Wrong Numbers”?

  1. Joey says:

    I would usually say “I think you’ve got the wrong number”. If it’s the other way round, I would automatically say “Oops sorry”. It’s super annoying when people call, realise they got the wrong number and then hang up abruptly too.

    The Giddy Tigress says: Yeah, it really irritates me when people do that too.

  2. Tine says:

    If I get a wrong-number call, I’d normally say “I’m afraid you’ve got the wrong number”. If I dialled the wrong number, then it’s “oops, sorry about that. Thanks”.

    I absolutely cannot stand those who bark “WRONG NUMBER!” on the phone. What happened to common courtesy? So many times I wanted to call back and say “aunty, no one taught you manners?. UGH.

    The Giddy Tigress says: Oh, so you’ve been on the receiving end of rude callers too? These people should be banned from owning cellphones or banned from answering phonecalls.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *