It’s easy to forget that near-universal caller ID is a relatively recent innovation. Prior to the rise of cellphones, it was a rare luxury to know who you were about to deal with when the phone rang. Even with it, however, some of us still answer automatically, failing to check who’s on the other end until it’s too late. We should be able to dodge them—we have the technology!—but sometimes we end up talking. And talking. And talking.
Inspired by a Slate employee with this problem who prefers to remain nameless, we’d like to offer what we think might be a solution: Slate web designer Holly Allen has designed a series of images intended to remind you what you’re getting into when your phone rings. Assign one as a contact photo for each of your irritating callers. Even if you don’t notice their name, you’re bound to catch sight of the picture in time to let it go to voice mail. Just make sure your contacts never notice.
For those who make you burn with rage or explode with anger:
For those who make you sick:
For those who just don’t smell right:
For those who are always on the attack:
And, lastly, for those who are truly terrifying:
Sometimes it’s best not to pick up the phone.