Yesterday, in the course of my usual work duties, I had reason to call a number in Scotland. I dialled 0 for an outside line, then started to dial the phone number. Halfway through, the number started ringing, before I had finished dialling it.
I hung up and dialled again. Same thing happened. I tried a third time, and this time I got cut off before I finished dialling. Hmmm.
I used my mobile to check that it was actually a valid number. Yes, it was.
What do we do when we have a phone/IT issue in the office? We call the helpdesk. A very nice chap called Andy answered, and I explained the problem. He thought about it, and said he'd have an engineer check my extension number and make sure there was no technical fault. He said he'd call me back later and let me know.
Later, Andy rang me.
"There seems to be nothing wring with the line" he explained. "You need to email the technical team in *Elsewhere in London* to get them to check that your phone isn't blocked."
"Yeah, it could be that the extension you use is blocked from calling numbers abroad."
"Abroad? Scotland? Oh, and Wales, yesterday, when the same thing happened."
"Yeah, you need to get the phone unblocked. Call me back and let me know how you get on."
So. I emailed the address he gave me, and within 15 minutes I had a reply. The reply told me, in no uncertain terms, that trying to call a number that began with 090 was not allowed, as they are usually premium rate chat lines and comptetion lines. However, if I sent them the full number and confirmed that it was a valid work requirement, they would unblock my phone so I could call it.
What the sodding arse was he on about? An 090 number? What? Who mentioned that? I hadn't told him what the number I was trying to dial was, where did he get 090 from? I was stumped.
A while later, as I composed another email, having put the phone fiasco temporarily on hold* I realised where they'd got the 090 from.
When we write an email, we have to put the date first so that we can find things in the filing system. I had titled my email 090402_Bloody Useless Telephone System (or something similar.)
They had looked at my email and assumed that I was trying to dial 0902402. Fuckwits.
"Hello? Is that 090402?"
"No, sorry, this is 090327 - you've got the wrong date."
"Damn, I keep dialling the past, I do apologise."
*See what I did there?