Ethics

For the week ending 28 March 2009 / 3 Nisan 5769

Sorry, Wrong Number

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: No one is very pleased when he drops whatever he is doing at home in order to answer the telephone only to discover that the caller dialed the wrong number. But what is the right thing to do as a reaction to such a disturbance?

Answer: The first thing to keep in mind is that the caller cannot be held responsible for causing you an inconvenience through a human error. The understanding must be reflected in the tone of your response.

You may even be of help to the caller by asking him or her which number they are trying to reach. The difference between that number and yours may be in a single digit and you are likely to recognize to whom it belongs as a result of previous mistaken calls or because it is the number of a neighbor you know.

In any event be as gentle as possible despite your irritation and don't hang up before politely saying, "Sorry, wrong number."

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