Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact
Next story:
Previous story:

311: A Reverse Prank Call?

City Hall is making all kinds of technological leaps these days. Whether it’s solar powered parking meter kiosks that are expected to increase revenue raised by charging people more effectively to park on its streets, Citistat meetings posted on the city Web site that invariably fail to play correctly, or the awesome 311 Call and Resolution Center—where “One call does it all.”

I gave it a try this morning. I dialed 311 twice and got no ring at all. I then called 851-4890, the alternate, old-fashioned seven-digit number. A voice answered, thanking me for calling 311.

I was told the call “may be monitored and recorded for quality assurance purposes.”

Well, two can play at that game. Here’s a recording of the two minutes and forty-eight seconds I spent dialing 311 twice, 851-4890 once, pressing the number two to speak to an agent, then waiting another minute through some sort of spacey muzak until a busy signal ended the call. I never got to say a word.

I can’t believe I fell for the old reverse prank call trick. Maybe the Jerky Boys are working down at city hall?

But I’m still left to wonder how I’m going to request a new garbage tote. Or finally get that stump removed from in front of my house.

  • Mr. Bumble

    The Logo should read; “one call says it all!”

  • Pomeroy

    What is even funnier is if you hit the number 2 for Spanish.
    They tell you to wait for one of their “friendly representatives.”
    Then they hang up.

    Maybe Citistat’s version of 311 gives the correct impression of the Brown Administration.
    Maybe “one call does it all”!

  • pink shank

    har…. this is messed up specially since i was going to look into a new garbage bin for my new house….

  • Pomeroy

    Good Luck on the new house pink!
    And good luck on getting a new bin.
    If it ever does come; do everyone a favor and take it over to Citistat and fill it up.

    Keep an eye on the mail; you’re already being billed for the bin from the day your property closed.
    Welcome to City Services.

  • pink shank

    errrrr…. woke up this morning after i placed my garbage out last night for pick up… my trash bin is gone… i can only assume the ame thing has happened to me… I’m a new home owner…what am i supposed to do? just wait untilll someone brings me a new trash can?

  • pink shank

    just called 311…. got someone in rochester

  • pink shank

    Ok… got someone on the phone they tell me it will be 30 days until i get my new can… until then i will be putting 5-6 bags of garbage onto the street… on Tuesday nights.

  • Pomeroy


    After you put your trash out, don’t hold your breath waiting for the bin.
    It’s not going to arrive in 30 days, that’s way to fast for city services.
    Afterall having your trash out in the August heat isn’t so bad. illogically speaking.
    And why the 30 days for something so simple?

    I’m sure the Mayor’s campaign contributors have the same wait.

  • pink shank

    i was told the reason i can’t just go pick up the bin the way you would with a recycle bin is the fact that the people who deliver the garbage cans are union workers…and the fact that the city would be at fault if you hurt your self while transporting the can to your home….. a friend brought up a good point… what about if you hurt yourself while moving the can from your garage to the curb?…..

    anyhow seems odd to me they wouldn’t want to hurry these service requests along as to help the sanitation department do its job… oh well

  • Mike

    There was a call made about a city inspector who owns one of the shabbiest houses on richmond, the lawn on rhode island has not been mowed in over a month, there;s a garage door opened and stuffed with garbage, thieves are coming and stealing scrap, a concrete chunk attached to a metal fencepost sits in the sidewalk. The prop is owned by AN INSOECTOR, 2 days, nada, they even got on immediately with a “supervisor”.

  • Pomeroy

    If it’s a city inspector, they will probably have to call Bill Buyers and the Mayor’s “impact team.”
    Their specialty is is working on city employee’s private property on city time and with city taxpayer’s money.
    Buyers could go order some supplies, never pick them up, get a reciept, and then split the money with his team, he’s been doing it for years.
    If he gets caught again, the Mayor could tell us how he has zero tolerance for Buyers actions.
    And Cutler could say, “once again, this is another first offense.”

    You would think Andy Sanfillipo would catch on sooner or later.

    Someone should tell him:
    Hey Andy, the books might balance, but where are the materials Buyers bought?!!!
    It’s the old wheelbarrel joke and you fell for it!

  • pink shank

    i often run on the west side. Today i ran down 14th street to west ferry, saw many houses with big housing violation stickers on them. Think the mayors impact team just did a big push through that neighborhood.

    oh yah and garbage is piling up along teh side of my house… guess i will have to buy some containers till the city comes through

  • Mike

    Well, it was about a week, he mowed, which looks like a field mow job, long shitty grass a,ll over,on the sidewalk. Big bottles are on the grass , roofing materials are scattered about. His garage in the back won’t pull down all the way and is full of garbage. It was wide open for weeks, the Left Bank employees shut it for fear of rats and robbers. Idiot. His 2 properties look like junk, there is always garbage strewn about and both are unkempt. 384 & 386. Oh, he mowed, yet left one little piece in some sort of battle with the corner house over 3 feet of weeds. BNice. Great “city of good neighbors” example. Jerk.

  • Dropped

    The old “dropped call” trick is an oldie used by call centers to improve their response time numbers (time on hold).