Voicemail Menu Mattresses

My recent move has been a joy. Really. I love everything about my new place. As time goes by, though, I have come across a couple of peas under the mattresses.


The first was the difficulty I had in receiving deliveries, but that is now resolved as effectively as possible. Not perfectly, but live-with-able.

The other problem I have had is that when I moved from Alberta to British Columbia, I assumed that the telephone company here would behave much the same as the company I had used before. I was mistaken. This company (rhymes with ‘zealous’) has provided me with landline telephone, internet, and television service for many years, and I have never really had any complaints. The prices have been high, but given how much I use the services, I figure that is a bullet I must bite. Accordingly, I added my cell phone to the bundle of services they provide me.

When I lived in Alberta, the voicemail message system on my cell phone was simple. I could hear a phone message and then choose from the subsequent, short, menu whether to keep, repeat, or delete the message, and then I could choose to go to another menu or to quit the current menu. Simple.

After I moved here though, and after I set up the system with my little “leave a message” message, things got complicated. When I receive a voicemail message now, and after I have listened to people leaving phone numbers faster than I can write them down, and after I have listened to scammers telling me there is an unusual withdrawal from my bank account, I get the ‘rhymes with zealous’ robot giving me a long list of things I can choose to do next. None of the choices is “Exit this menu.”

Because I didn’t know how to leave the list, the menu robot would repeat herself four times and then, condescendingly, tell me that I was obviously having problems and then say “Goodbye.” Gah! This, it seemed to me, was not very user-friendly. ‘Perhaps they need my advice’, I thought. I used to be a teacher, you understand.

Accordingly, I found my way (with some difficulty) to the company website’s Community Forum to suggest that RhymesWithZealous might do well to incorporate an Exit option into their voicemail message menu. I thought that was a reasonable request and that the presumably reasonable people who undoubtedly read the community’s reasonable suggestions would agree that this was a reasonable idea that warranted further investigation.

I was wrong.

The response I got was an email with a link to a website page about voicemail menus and that said:

Hi AnneP,

(Community Manager) posted a new comment in Ideas on 11-07-2022 12:26 PM:

Re: Add “Exit” to Menu Options – Status changed to: Closed

Reply | Give Kudos

That’s it. Case closed. “Give Kudos” (with a capital K). I think not. Should not the person who raised the issue decide whether or not the case is closed? Or, is that just me being reasonable again?

When I followed the email link, I found that I was being referred to a website page that explains the message menu system, and the first thing I noticed was that most of the significant information was presented in green font on a somewhat lighter green background while I was viewing it with an evening red filter on my computer. After expanding the font size and squinting a little, I decided that reading this was not going to be easy. In fact, I have read academic post-graduate theses that were easier to read.

Then I realized that this Voicemail User Guide is ten pages long. Ten! It goes far, far beyond the four menu options I had hoped for. It includes sub-menus covering recording, group lists, ring control, family extensions, web access and much, much more.

Buried among all of this extraneous information, is the fact that to exit any given menu I have to press **.  That’s it. Asterisk twice. That is all I had to do. If ever an asterisk acted as a stand-in for something rude, this is it. From now on, every new password I invent will include an asterisk. Or two.


  1. OMG…I hate that you went through that, and I can completely relate. I must add though that I do love your LOL commentary on the subject. hahahaha.

  2. You need a degree in technology to get the information you need. I have had a similar problem with my virus protection company. Having just acquired an iPad and wanted to ensure my security subscriptions were covering it. Well what a palava! The ipad is at it so happens but took me a couple of hours to find out.

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