03 Dec

The “Please Call Me”

– the most useful thing since well, before they were created.

A “Please Call Me” or “call-back” or PCM, depending on the circles you run in, is a free service that you dial. sends a short message to your recipient that simply requires the recipient to do as its name suggests, call the sender! If you are a respectable PCM sender, your recipient WILL call, if not, well…
During my high school days , circa 2001, when PCM’s were unlimited, could only be sent to someone on the same network as yours and simply read “Please Call Me”. Gabsie and I would communicate solely via PCM; one meant one thing; two, something else; three, another and so on… to a point that when they could not capture your thoughts one just had to send a text and if the text could not get the message across, only then would a call suffice. Today, this PCM code still exists but it is only used in those cases when you know that the recipient of your text messages has no airtime or SMS bundles to reply, so you send something like “Are you still coming? Reply one PCM = yes, two = no” and if the person is prone to mess that up you a further “ thereafter odd number of PCM’s = yes, even = no” CONFUSED? Be glad I didn’t explain the one, two, three PCM convo-alphabet-code!
After a while, either people complained of random people sending them PCM’s and when they called back – because that was the primary function of this great new service – people would say they just “made-up” the number or there was something called PCM stalking or there was just such a high volume of PCM traffic because these networks got smart, firstly we could now send PCM’s to any network BUT they started to charge us.. 20c. Luckily, this didn’t last long, so they made them free again but they were limited – BUMMER! No more one,two,three PCM convo-alphabet-code, we still used it even if we had to pay – don’t ask. We basked in limited PCM’s – bloody networks – and to keep us happy they gave us a treat – personalized PCM’s! Well, not fully personalized, all we could “personalize” was the “me” to something under ten characters. Boy! Did we eat this up! We ate it up like we usually do with Debonair’s latest offerings. They were the best thing well, since the unlimited simple PCM’s – the iPad of PCM’s. They were:
  • “Please Call Coin”
  • “Please Call Me” (the people who thought they were being funny)
  • “Please Call Mxit” (for people who wanted to carry on with a conversation on Mxit)
  • “Please Call FB (or Facebook)” (for people who wanted to share news on Facebook)
  •  “Please Call (student number)”  (this one was actually sent to a Unisa lecturer)
  • “Please Call IluvU”
  • “Please Call ImisU”
  • “Please Call HepiBday”
  • “Please Call MryXmas”
  •  “Please Call HepiNuYr”
  • “ “Please Call Marryme” (I can bet you it’s been done)

and “Please Call Noairtym” (although this is redundant because some networks offer the “Please Recharge Me) ..and many more!
PCM’s had now created the why-send-a-text-or-call-when-you-can-sum-it-up-in-ten-characters attitude which was basically about being short, direct and most importantly you said it for free! Companies also jumped onto the PCM band-wagon and networks made even more money with the PCM ads – luckily one could enable or disable these ads because you’d get “Please Call Noairtym. Blacklisted, need a loan? Call 0860 00 00 00 in seconds”. Again, we were smart about the new PCM’s, especially since this new cyber-speak of dropping vowels and some consonants and shortening phrases like “had to be there” to HTBT or FYI and LOL etc… With these new PCM’s you had to be with the “right” network because some allow you to change every PCM while others allow you to change your PCM message once a day – like the one I’m with.

So, if you’re me and you happened to have met a potential SO, who happens to live his life through PCM’s, you wouldn’t be surprised to one day – after a third date *yes, since I’ve overcome my fear of dates since that disastrous one – to receive a PCM that read “Please Call BeMyGF” Unfortunately, I was with Ava -who thought it was the cutest thing ever! So I accepted with “Please Call Sure”. After a couple of months things had run their course with Mr PCM, I was forced to send “Please Call ItsOver” and  this time I was with Try, his reasoning was since it started with a PCM, let it end with one. I couldn’t argue.

UNFORTUNATELY, I subscribe to the network I do, and it was one of those SMS bundle-free, data bundle free, airtime-less days. I was forced to send PCM’s to people – including the authors of my life. So I received calls and texts ranging from: “what’s over”, “you dumped him via PCM – naaice”, to “PCM break-up, you can be so heartless” and one call as requested by my “Please Call ItsOver” . Luckily the initial recipient of the break-up PCM got the message and didn’t put up a fight, he just replied “Please Call Cool”. Evidently, PCM’s are handy – if you’re with the network that meets your PCM needs, they’re brief and direct but seriously can we really say all we need to say for free and in under ten characters?

*Even Twitter tried with the 140 characters thing but out of a need to say more TMI Me Twitlonger were born -Ava*
If so, then this post would’ve simply been “Please Call PCMsRock
– Coin

 

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