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Virgin Mobile doesn't let friends dial drunk
By Amanda Carswell

"Allison," David Rones, a sophomore business major, whispered into his cell phone during a drunk dial. "I don't know where I am. I don't know where my Slim Jim is. I don't know where my cell phone is. The best thing you can do is call me back as soon as possible. I love you."

This is a prime example of drunk dialing -- the often well intentioned, but always embarrassing phone call from an intoxicated person. With almost everyone these days owning a cell phone, these random phone calls in the early morning hours are happening to poor unsuspecting college students nationwide.

Some students have attempted to stop drunk dialing themselves.

"One of my friends received an instant message from his girlfriend back home who told him not to answer his phone or any text messages from her because she had a lot on her mind and was planning on getting really drunk that night," said Vince Lowney, a freshman political science major.

Australian Virgin Mobile is launching a more reliable program to help stop this humiliating drunken practice.

Effective Dec. 1, the company is offering an option to "blacklist" certain phone numbers on cell phones. Virgin Mobile users dial 333 plus the number of an ex lover or a friend, and the company blocks the cell phone from calling that number until 6 a.m. the following day.

In case of an emergency, the cell user may dial 333 Clear and regain access to the blocked number. The service is not yet available in the United States, but Northeastern students had mixed reactions about whether they would use the service if it were available to them.

"I think it is a really good idea. I know a bunch of people who have told stories after a heavy night of drinking and people have been hurt the next day," said Jonathan Wojtkun, a senior computer engineering major.

Money is a deterrent for many students. There is a small fee of 25 cents per blocked number.

"I think [students] would use it if it was free," said Jim Turner, a senior political science major. "Because I think people generally don't want to [drunk dial]."

A survey of more than 400 cell phone users conducted by Virgin Mobile found that 95 percent had committed the drunken discretion. Fifty-four percent make between one and three drunk dials in a night to exes, current lovers and random people in their phone books.

"When you're drunk, you lose all your inhibitions and you call people you normally wouldn't," said Kelly Lynch, a sophomore biology major.

It is not just calling random people. Often the calls are made to people that are cared about, and things are said that aren't fully thought through.

The service hopes to allow users to be able to go out and have fun without the added worry of unneeded embarrassment and hurt feelings.
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