Your personal ad worked, it’s Friday night, and you’ve realized your blind date is jobless, charmless, and clueless. Suddenly your cellphone rings. It’s Aunt Mabel and she needs a ride from the airport. What luck, huh? Not really. Cingular Wireless and Virgin Mobile both offer escape-a-date type services where customers can schedule date-canceling calls. Customers get one of eight random, rotating messages — from the airport excuse to the more unusual, such as a friend getting bitten by an iguana, says Dan Enthoven, director of marketing at BeVocal, a software company that records and handles the messages. “It grew out of our business for doing wake-up calls,” he says. Well, it is definitely a wake-up call for someone on the date.
— Beth Snyder Bulik