So far, what has caused me the most irritation as a result of the government shutdown has been the dramatic and almost exponential increase in the number of telemarketing calls I have received during the shutdown. This is especially bothersome to me because I don’t really like telephones and the number of calls I am now receiving is turning me into a very unpleasant person.
When this barrage of calls first began (right after the telemarketers realized that the "Do Not Call List" website was no longer operating due to the government shutdown) I politely answered my phone, just as I Would normally do. I am no longer Mr. Nice Guy. If I don’t recognize the number or If I suspect it to be a telemarketing call, I use one of the neat iPhone features, which I was unaware of before the telemarketers’ non-stop calling began to melt down my iPhone. I discovered these features out of desperation.
The easiest thing to do, of course, is to simply ignore the call and not answer. But that doesn’t decrease the number of incoming calls, nor does it stop the phone from ringing. One of the iPhone features that should help keep the same telemarketers from calling back later (which they often do if you don't answer their first call) is to use the “Block” feature. Just add the caller’s number to your iPhone's Blocked List (look up how to do that). Of course, telemarketers usually have a multitude of available numbers from which to call. Still, blocking the number will at least make you feel better.
However, it’s much more fun to tell these people where to go and what to do when they get there without actually having to speak with them. How can you do that? Use your iPhone's "Reply with Message” feature. Then instead of answering the call you have your iPhone reply to the call with a text message, which you can create in the Phone Settings. You could select one of the built-in replies such as “I’ll call you later” or “I’m on my way” but those are lame and kind of dumb. What you really want to do is to use the “Custom Message” feature. You can create your own text message and it can be anything you like such as, “If you are soliciting you can stick that phone where the sun don’t shine” or perhaps, “May the fleas of a thousand camels invade your telemarketing crotch and may your arms be too short to scratch.”
Once you have created your message (or messages) all you have to do is wait until you receive a call from a suspicious number (DO NOT ANSWER IT), then simply tap an icon (looks like a telephone handset), select “Respond with text”, and then select your message.
The next iOS version should include another option for unwanted calls. That option would be, “Forward this call to (enter phone #).” I would enter (202) 225-0600, which is the telephone number for Speaker of the House, John Boehner. If we could all forward our telemarketing calls to Mr. Boehner I believe this government would be back up and running tomorrow.