(How's that for a title?)

OK, so you tried to call us and you got the following very terse message:

"The party you called does not accept calls from blocked numbers. 
To reveal your number on this call, hang up, pickup the receiver, 
dial *82  then the number or 1182 from rotary phones. To prevent
the display of your number use a pay phone or for a charge, call the

Q: What does this message mean?
It means that the Caller-ID function on your telephone line has the Complete Blocking option, which prevents your phone number from being sent out when you make a call.

Q: Why is this bad?
Telemarketing operations seldom send Caller-ID. To defend against telemarketers, the Campbells subscribe to a (now SBC) service called Anonymous Call Rejection, which intercepts calls with Caller-ID blocked right at the phone company--we never even hear the phone ring.

Q: I don't remember ever choosing an option for my phone.
Privacy advocates confuse anonymity with privacy, and unfortunately, succeed in convincing the PUC. The PUC then required Pacific Bell to give everyone the Complete Blocking option unless they specifically requested otherwise. With this option you have to prefix *82 to a phone number to unblock your caller ID.

Q: What other blocking options are available?
Selective Blocking where your CID is normally unblocked. If you wish to block it for a given call, prefix *67 to the number you're calling.

Q: Suppose I'm expecting an important call that I know will be blocked by ACR. Can I turn ACR off and on?
Yes, *87 turns ACR off and lets you received blocked calls. To turn it back on, use *77.

Q: How do I change to Selective Blocking?
Call SBC at 1-800-310-2355. There's no charge.

Q: I get too many telemarketing calls, too. How do I get Anonymous Call Rejection?
Call SBC  at 1-800-310-2355. It costs $2.00 per month. ACR is free if you subscribe to Caller ID.

Q: But wont my friends get confused?
If your friends are such dim bulbs, why would you want to talk to them?

Q: Is having ACR and Complete Blocking morally reprehensible?
You bet.