You know how you can tell if someone really, really doesn’t want to talk to you?

They call you back at 1 minute to 5.

This is a classic technique.  It flips you the bird but technically still counts as returning your call.  No matter that you called them first thing in the morning, left them what you thought was a pleasant enough voice mail, and then went on about your business blissfully unaware that you had somehow ticked them off.

In some cases, it may not be that you ticked off said person in anyway.  It could simply be that they don’t have the information that you were looking for, or they don’t know how to get it, or they don’t want to get it.

Whatever the reason, the 1 minute to 5 call back is meant to avoid you.  The thinking is that you are already halfway to your car so there is no possible way you might answer that phone.  If you do, it ruins the whole plan because now they have to speak with you directly instead of leaving an insincere message on your voice mail that sounds something like:

“Ohhhh!  Hey! Darn it!  I thought I’d be able to catch you before you left for the day!  Well, shoot.  I’m sorry!  Anyway, about that info you were looking for?  I really don’t know anything about it…”

The only thing worse than the 1 minute to 5 call back is the ‘1 minute to 5 on a FRIDAY‘ call back, which takes everything up another notch.  That’s how cubicle wars are started…