DES MOINES--Unemployed steamfitter Joseph Nantz made history yesterday when he looked up from his mason jar of lukewarm beef broth to read the incoming call number on his cell phone and, despite noting that the number began with 888, answered the call.
This marked the first time in nearly 18 months that an American had intentionally answered a call from a collection agency. By some estimates, over 2 million phone calls originating from a credit collection agency were sent straight to voice mail between September 2008 and January 2010.
"To be honest, I was just surprised that Verizon hadn't turned off my phone yet," said Mr. Nantz, whose unemployment benefits are set to expire next week. "On top of that, a diet of mostly broth, week-old bagels, stolen church candles and dumpster salad is probably affecting my judgment a bit."
"There's also the part where I long for any shred of human contact, no matter how minuscule," Natz confided, noting that he hung up the second he realized it was a collection agency.
The collection agency in question refused to comment, and all calls to the number stored in Mr. Nantz's phone did not seem to connect to any extension.