Why not simply turn it off? Unless you're using it for a business, the chances are you can simply do without.
If someone _wants_ to talk to you, they'll call back. If they're offended by the thought of having to do so, well, that's a kind of signal, isn't it?
Really, I may be a luddite, but I can't help but wonder where and when we all got the notion that we are entitled to demand that our relatives and friends keep track of our calendar, or where and when we agreed to keep track of theirs. Think about it: if talking to you is important to _me_, why should I be entitled to put _you_ in charge of making it happen? Isn't it _my_ job to make it happen?
Answering machines, and Voice Mail services, are agressively marketed and promoted by the phone companies because they're a win-win-win - not for you, but for your telephone company:
- They_ get to charge for a call that wouldn't have been answered otherwise
- They_ get to use fewer trunks and smaller exchanges because there are fewer unsuccessful call attempts
- They_ get to collect money from you for buying machines or renting services.
What, I wonder, do _you_ get? Another task on _your_ schedule? Another intrusion into _your_ life? Another obligation that _you_ didn't agree to accept?
We've all gotten too good at wasting each others' time; at "external- izing" the responsibility for what used to be common civility.
What's wrong with a busy signal? Since when did people forget that a busy signal or an unanswered call _is_ a message?
P.S. Call waiting isn't the answer: it only works when _you_ are on the phone, and when an answering machine is on the line, all it does is interrupt the message being recorded with beep tones that tell you someone else tried to ring you.
(Filter noise from my address for direct replies)[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Generally you do not order call-waiting on a line in a multiple line hunt group; nor on a line equipped with 'forward on busy', as call-waiting requires that a line be -truly busy- in order to work. In my instance, if the line is in use, calls are automatically forwarded to my cell phone (which if no answer after a few rings or otherwise it is busy goes to voicemail. If the line does not get answered after 3-4 rings, calls go the same route, to cell phone and then as needed to voicemail. PAT]