Yesterday, I cut the cord: called Verizon and had them turn off the land line number I've had for the better part of a quarter century.
I had kept the land line for several reasons: first, in case I need to call 911. I should point out that I've never called 911, and do know that I can do so with my marvel iPhone. The second reason is because of politics and polling. I get calls from political campaigns. I'm not talking about the robo-calls where Bill Clinton asks me to remember to vote, but from primary candidates who actually use the Voter Services list. Actual candidates who are running, and are trying to get their message out to actual voters. It is much cheaper to make calls then to send a mailer, and that matters if you are a candidate who lacks funding. I don't know how they'll find me now, since cell phone numbers are unlisted.
And then there are the pollsters. I have never in my life been polled. I have been push-polled twice, but I don't know that that really counts. Still, I clung tenaciously to the hope that someone would call.
But the time came to cut the cord: I'm one of those people who never checks voice mail. The only "people" who call my home phone are normally looking to sell me swampland or get a donation for something. If people who know me need to reach me, they call my cell phone, and if I don't answer, they text me. Or else they email me, which then forwards to my cell phone.
Still, I'm concerned for the politician who will try to call me. The one that doesn't make the news, but has positions that would interest me as a voter. OK, I'm not that concerned, since I honestly keep up with who is running for every office from Tax Assessor on up. But what about the "regular" voters: you know, the ones who get 100% of their political news from 30 second TV ads? On the front page of yesterday's USA Today, they cited a poll which said that currently 35% of Americans have a cell phone only.
Most cell phone plans are pay-by-the-minute as opposed to the all-you-can-eat land line programs. Therefore, it seems unlikely that laws would be passed where cell phone numbers could be disseminated out to political types, charities, and spammers. How will the politicians reach out next year, when an even larger percentage of people have given up their land line? When I was speaking with Verizon, the agent told me that people are turning off their land lines daily, mostly because of the economy. If the percentage of cell-phone-only people rises to above 50%, what does that mean for pollsters? I know some of them do poll cell phones, but my guess is that a lot of the calls they make end up unanswered since Caller ID is an option on home phones, and automatic on cell phones. Will next year's numbers be skewed?