How phone companies drive people crazy

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Every journalist has experienced this type of phone call, as have librarians, police dispatchers and I presume those in a number of other public-facing professions. This one involves a longtime friend who works for a CBS news affiliate and prefers to remain anonymous.

CALLER: “Hi, could you give me the phone number for FOX 5 in (a major city)?”

JOURNALIST: “I'm sorry?”

CALLER: “FOX 5. The TV station. Do you have the number?”

JOURNALIST: “Why do you want the number?”

CALLER: “Why do you want to know?”

JOURNALIST: “Are you calling them about a story?”

CALLER: “That's none of your damn business.”

JOURNALIST: “Hey, I'm just curious why you would ask us (CBS) for the phone number of another TV station (FOX).”

CALLER: “I can't believe you would ask me that.”

JOURNALIST: “Huh.”

CALLER: “I don't have to tell you anything.”

JOURNALIST: “No you don't. And I don't have to look up the number, either.”

CALLER: “So is there anybody else there who would give me that number?”

JOURNALIST: “Why don't you call directory assistance?”

CALLER: “I get charged for directory assistance.”

The desire to avoid phone company fees I can understand; the caller’s sense of entitlement not so much. But what I really want to know is how this guy got the number of my friend’s TV station.

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