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Pocket Dial
Accidentally dialing a cell phone when sitting down.
Needs Examples Better Name

(permanent link) added: 2012-12-29 20:27:06 sponsor: chicagomel (last reply: 2014-03-26 09:38:40)

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Alternate titles: Pocket Dial, Accidental Cell Phone Dial

Many people these days carry their cell phones with them everywhere. When they aren't using them, they often shove them into a back pocket of their pants, other garment or possibly a backpack. The trouble with this is that accidental pressure on the phone, like sitting down, can inadvertently dial the thing without the user even realizing it.

There are three likely outcomes to a character receiving a butt dial: one is that the dialee will simply hang up (as is usually the case in real life), in comedic works the dialee will have a "conversation" with the caller's butt, or they will hear something they weren't supposed to which is often highly embarrassing when the user on the other end hears something the phone owner didn't want heard. Another result can be a long voicemail full of nothing.

People with names beginning with A are more likely to have it happen, as they're at the top of their friends' or family's call list.

Can be Mistaken for Prank Call if the person on the other end doesn't realize what happened.

Please have links for real life stuff.

Examples

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Live-Action TV
  • How I Met Your Mother
    • Ted keeps pocket-dialling his friend Marshall when he's drunk at Saint Patrick's Day party. Marshall's phone actually records scraps of Ted's evening, and those scraps speak badly about Ted as a person. For example, he was making out with a married woman or drank champagne, exploiting somebody else's bill. Marshall feels very uneasy and anxious about Ted's character and thinks Ted has not been himself lately.
    • Played With in the episode with Marshal's dad funeral. Everybody of the Eriksen family shares their last moments with him and everybody has something very heart-warming to tell, except for Marshall. His father's last words to him were that he should watch a surprisingly good Crocodile Dundee III. However, he later finds a voice message from his father on his cell. He listens to it, but it's just a pocket dial, which makes Marshall even more depressed. However, as he listens to it, it's revealed that he actually found out that he was making a pocket phone call and said a couple of nice words, though of course he didn't know they would his last to Marshall. For the funeral speech, Marshall decides to go with the Dundeee story to make people smile and laugh tearfully, and he keeps his story about the pocket dial to himself and his closest friends.
  • Leslie does this on Parks and Recreation while making out with Ben. Ron Swanson later plays back the recording for an embarrassed Leslie.
  • Inverted in an episode of Babylon 5 while Sheridan is talking to a terrorist with his link active in his back pocket so the crew can listen in accidentally shuts it off when he sits down, and alerts the terrorist that he's been broadcasting their conversation.
  • An entire episode of Good Luck Charlie revolved around various family members "butt-dialling" (their words) each other and accidentally revealing secrets to them.
  • Psych. Shawn's father learned that Shawn is considering confessing his feelings to to Juliet when Shawn butt dialed his father in a Red Robin bathroom.
  • Subverted on Arrow where Oliver's friends receive a call from him and assume that he butt-dialed them because they hear him having a conversation with his mother and another person. Then Sara recognized the other voice as belonging to Slade Wilson and realizes that it is actually a call for help and Oliver and his family are in grave danger.
  • An episode of Castle has him go on a date with a woman trying to get information from her, who starts to get a little frisky with him, and accidentally calls Beckett on his phone. She hears things that make her think Castle is in trouble and rushes over to his place, where she finds him with his date in her underwear on top of him.

Radio
  • One episode of Wait Wait Dont Tell Me had a report wherein a thief was caught after butt-dialing the police department while talking about his latest escapade.
  • In one episode of "Guy Noir: Private Eye" on A Prairie Home Companion, Guy gets a huge phone bill because he's been unknowingly "butt-dialing" somebody in Norway for months.

Western Animation
  • In the Family Guy episode where Mort burned down his pharmacy for the insurance money with Peter and Quagmire's help Joe caught them because Peter butt-dialed him while talking about their plans.

Real Life
  • In a story profiled on a "real life dumb 911 calls" show, one guy did this to 911-while on a crime spree in a stolen car. The police tracked him down by tracing the call.
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