The Importance of Hanging Up Phones

Some people want to know who killed JFK.

I want to know why the standard cell phone message recording includes this line:

“When you’re finished recording, please hang up.”

If you’re at a point in your life when you don’t know to hang up the phone after you’re done with a phone call, you have bigger problems than your phone.

Who are these people that need that level of instruction?  And how did they cope in the days before the warning?

I can only assume it was once like this:

“Hey, Bob, how you doing?  Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t notice you were on the phone.”

“I’m not, really.”

“What are you doing?”

“Just leaving someone a message.”

“But you’re not saying anything.”

“I finished the message.”

“When did you finish?”

“Three days ago.”

I can only assume Bob went on to sue his cell phone company and win millions of dollars.

I assume he is also the reason my stove warns me that stoves can be hot and why my ladder warns me that falling can hurt.

I assume he is also the reason for my favorite of all warnings — the one on the back of the hotel room door that says to NOT panic in case of an emergency.  I’ve always wondered who that helps.




“Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa.”

“What is it, Bob?”

“Well, baby, you’re not gonna believe this, but I was just reading the back of the hotel room door here, and it says to ‘NOT panic.'”

“NOT panic?”

“Not panic.  Says here it’s not helpful.”

“Then what are we supposed to do?”

“We could use my cell to call someone for help.  But….”

“But what, Bob??”

“That could take a few days.”

25 thoughts on “The Importance of Hanging Up Phones

  1. They do that to add time onto your phone call. adding that line and the rest of the fluff make cell companies big bucks

  2. The reason is to make money by wasting your minutes.

    There’s a take back the beep campaign aimed at this issue.

    n 2007, I spoke at an international cellular conference in Italy. The big buzzword was ARPU–Average Revenue Per User. The seminars all had titles like, “Maximizing ARPU In a Digital Age.” And yes, several attendees (cell executives) admitted to me, point-blank, that the voicemail instructions exist primarily to make you use up airtime, thereby maximizing ARPU.

    Right now, the carriers continue to enjoy their billion-dollar scam only because we’re not organized enough to do anything about it. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to sit there, waiting to leave your message, listening to a speech recorded by a third-grade teacher on Ambien.

  3. I once waited before hanging up just to check whether the ‘voice’ was caring enough to remind me after a few minutes.. and I swear to God it actually hurls the most choice profanities u’l ever hear. It actually happens, just don’t hang up the phone for like 15 minutes after this message. 🙂

  4. I always read it as “… [just] hang up[ ,you don’t have to press a button to save the message].” Remember that older voice-mail systems actually made you press something when you were done with the message or it wouldn’t get sent.

  5. Love it when I’m on the step-stool at the supply cabinet here and someone stops and says, “Oooh….don’t fall!”

    I say, “Gee…thanks a heap for that. Up to that very moment, I was tottering at the peak of the vast and complex “To fall or not to fall?” issue. Your practical advice helped clear up the whole clouded conundrum for me. I vow that from this moment on I will NOT intentionally throw myself off the top of this little step-stool! For as long as it take to retrieve a bottle of White-out from this top shelf, I will STAND FIRM up here as a living testament to your concern over my ability to make such a mindless decision on my own! By the way, do you need any Post-it’s while I’m up here? Hey, where’re you going?”

  6. This reminded me that on the wrapper of a 3-D glasses package there was a warning that explained how they would not be beneficial as sunglasses. Oh stupid people, they make me smile.

  7. That was Pastis’ best in a while. He should post more often and not leave his fans out for days on end, parching our humour starved minds.

    BTW my lighter says “Caution: Flammable” on it. Good, that’s why I bought it!

  8. ROFL!!!!!

    Your blog is becoming more funny than your strip itself. And this is coming from somebody who loved your strip enough to start a forum [].

  9. See, I though the message was there to prevent the hour long phone messages I sometimes get because people have forgotten to hand up. I mean, yeah, it is funny to hear them singing along with their radio or whatever but still, it gets annoying. I have had this with telemarketers too – I really don’t need to hear them chatting with the other telemarketers for a half hour about how awesome they think they are.

  10. I figured that message was to clarify how the system works, as opposed to “press # to save your message” or something like that — it’s reassuring you, go ahead and hang up, it’ll get saved.

  11. I kid you not that the packaging for ‘moist towelettes’ at some restaurants come with instructions for use. “Tear Open, Remove, Use”, or something like that.

  12. My favorite is how an airlines need to tell us how to do up a seat belt. I make a snide comment every time, loud enough for the person next to me to hear (that’s the best way to communicate with the people that make these decisions btw). But, and this really actually happened, last time I was just about to say something and I noticed the person next to me fumbling with the metal clip. They literally said, ‘how do these things go on?’, then looked up and, ‘oh’.

    I haven’t flown since.

  13. That’s nothing. Over here in the UK we have warnings on packets of peanuts that say “Warning: contains nuts”.

    That’s no-win-no-fee lawyers for you: another wonderful American invention that the UK was dumb enough to import.

    Hang on a bit – that’s not what you used to do, is it Stephan????

  14. My favorite one is printed on the INSIDE of a car sun shade saying: WARNING DO NOT ATTEMPT TO OPERATE VEHICLE WITH SUN SHADE IN PLACE. that tells me some friggin moron has tried. ooooh its cooler in my car with the sun shade covering my windshield, I can drive with my head hanging out the window. get rid of the warnings, thin out the gene pool.

  15. Lol. Yes, like the label on the packet of nuts says “Warning: May contain nut.” I’ve always felt it should say, “Warning written by nut.”

  16. I blame the lawyers. Everything wrong with the world is the lawyers’ fault. (P.S.: I’m a lawyer too.)

  17. i worked at a bakery and we had this huge oven which could bake a few hundred loves of bread at once. it had a narrow horizontal opening about 4.5 feet up from the floor and above that door there was a sign which read: “personnel should not enter oven while in operation” my only fear is that one day, bob will be caught loading “guests” into the oven….

    furthermore, since when does the omission of articles and infinitive verbs make a warning sign more effective?

  18. As a 40+ woman recently prescribed an NSAID, I really enjoy the warnings on supposedly beneficial medications that say in bold print, “…may increase the chance of heart attack or stroke that can lead to DEATH.” Why am I taking this medicine again? Because my 40+ year old feet cannot jog and walk without pain. (Too many donut breaks, apparently.) Why did the Dr. prescribe a death warrant to me when I am not yet a grandmother (and I have insurance)? He even claimed it to be “a great drug.” Lawyers suck, and suck the joy out of life. (Disclaimer: My husband and I are both lawyers. We are also great at self-flagellation despite not being Catholic or Jewish, currently.) It is possible that the current state of lunacy could be the responsibility of stupid people….

    By the way, arguing with yourself in the shower is sort of scary. Wet willying your children at a wedding is almost as bad as having a Sony watchman (prior to digital tv) in your suit pocket so you can watch the football/basketball game during the wedding, (even if it is your brother in law’s wedding, or a wedding in which your wife is the maid of honor.) Does this mean that you taught your boys that it is praiseworthy to burp loudly at the table, and you gave them tips on how to get the most amplification from armpit farts? You do realize that you men are the reason that the next generation repeats the mistakes of the prior generation. Do you really want your poor son to have to endure that look from his wife??? Stop the madness!

  19. Idiots who actually take instructions seriously do exist – and then try to sick their lawyers on to someone else to avoid blaming themselves:

    Taken from:

    “It takes a special level of stupid to mistake the do not disturb sign on the inside of your door for a warning to stay in your room. That didn’t prevent one tourist from filing an official complaint asking for her money back.

    When she arrived at her hotel, she got to her room, and stayed there for several days, claiming the hotel staff forced her to stay indoors. After a little digging, the court found that she saw the sign, and mistook it for a “don’t you dare leave this room” sign.”

    The Unexpected Traveller

  20. My local supermarket sells whole chickens with the following directions: “Cook as desired until done.”
    Not sure I would have known what to do otherwise, so
    thanks for the help.

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