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Dont all call at once, you might block me when I dial…

Web site helps you plan sick day calls

October 22, 2006

By SARAH LANGBEIN The Orlando Sentinel

ORLANDO, Fla. — We've all been there before. In need of a mental-health day. In need of a couple more hours to sleep off that horrible hangover. Or just plain in need of a day away from thinking.

But who wants to wake up at the crack of dawn to avoid talking to the boss and pretend to sound sick?

Now you can plan in advance and leave the early mornings to a message service — call in sick from any place at any time.

Alan and Jill Lougher of West Palm Beach, Fla., launched call-in-sick.com Oct. 1 as a "cool gimmick" to promote their new business, a message broadcast system.

Four days later, their Web site was swamped with requests.

"I think everybody's been in that situation where they don't want to go to work the next morning," says Alan Lougher, 34. "For me, it was usually the day before when I knew."

A 2005 survey by Harris Interactive shows men were about twice as likely as women to call in sick when they were actually fine. It also shows that one in four men had faked sick that year, and parents with children younger than 18 weren't any more likely to call in sick than their co-workers.

Call-in-sick.com is easy. Call 561-214-8030 and a young woman talks you through the process.

"So you wanna call in sick, huh?" the taped voice says.

The service allows the caller to record a message and even re-record to get that perfect sick-sounding tone. Pick the day and time you want the call delivered, dial your boss' phone number and the message will be delivered.

If the boss has caller ID, it will show the number from whatever phone you dialed the service.

Best of all, it's free to users in the United States and Canada.

Alan Lougher estimates his site receives 10,000 hits a day, from all over the world. He hopes the interest will translate into customers for his real business, Group2call, which allows callers to contact friends, customers and co-workers with one phone call. For example, a Little League coach can cancel practice with one call to the entire team instead of making individual calls to each team member, Lougher says.

But that's not all. The Loughers are introducing ubreakup.com.

"It avoids the awkwardness of breaking up with somebody," Alan Lougher says. "It's (breaking up) the old-fashioned way but with a new twist."

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