The Beep is Being Taken Back!

By  |  Friday, August 14, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Good news about David Pogue’s Take Back the Beep campaign, which targets the voicemail instructions which explain stuff everybody already knows, thereby wasting massive amounts of time and money. Over at his New York Times blog, David has posted a progress report: AT&T says it’s going to make changes; T-Mobile says it’s thinking about it; Sprint is the one phone company that already lets you disable the instructions; and Verizon is at least paying attention. Kudos to David for rallying an army of frustrated phone owners and to the folks who took the time to contact their phone companies and register their discontent. And to AT&T for being the first company to say it’s not only listening but will take action.

If Take Back the Beep works, we need to figure out what other minor indignities of modern life we might be able to change through coordinated consumer complaints. Me, I’d be a far happier consumer if I never again had to show my receipt when exiting a store so a security guard can pretend to verify that I’m not a shoplifter. I wonder what would happen if large numbers of us simply refused to participate?



5 Comments For This Post

  1. Dave Barnes Says:


    Showing your receipt at WorstBuy is not designed to prevent shoplifting. It is in place to prevent cashiers from ringing up “special” prices for their friends.


  2. Harry McCracken Says:

    Imprecise language on my part. And even more galling if they make honest customers go through it because their own employees can’t be trusted.


  3. JohnFen Says:

    I always refuse to show my receipt (I just say “no, thank you” and keep walking), and I have never been hassled about it at Best Buy, Costco, or Frye’s. I believe that stores cannot legally stop you from leaving unless they specifically suspect you of stealing. Regardless of legalities, though, as soon as I get any grief about it, I’ll stop shopping there. It’s irritating enough that they ask.

  4. Harry McCracken Says:

    Good idea–I think that’ll be my new policy.


  5. Dan Says:

    Things must be different in Indiana, as I’ve never been asked to show my receipt and submit to a check. I also know that I wouldn’t stop.