Friday, April 29, 2011

My son gave us a cell phone after Christmas and we've both been kind of avoiding it until today when I decided to activate it. After examining all the options and various plans, I concluded that the marketing goal of cell phone companies is to confuse us to the point that we just give up trying to understand what they cost and throw ourselves on their tender mercies. After entering various 19 and 17 digit codes, the T-Mobile website informed me that the SIM was already registered and not available. The phone worked when I first charged it, but now that 90 days have expired, it's become as inert as a hockey puck. When I asked for a new password, the website told me it was sending it via a text message.

The problem is that under any of the Pay As You Go plans, we're going to have end up having minutes that will expire before we can conceivably use them, and we just don't see the utility of paying more than I do now for satellite TV or for internet service on a telephone with spotty coverage and batteries that die in the midst of a conversation. Maybe when they make satellite phones that work as well as satellite TV and radio, I'll get it. Maybe not.

Or maybe the nature of our jobs has just made the sound of a telephone "ring" increase our stress levels. I was a public defender too long and my wife's job is only marginally less stressful.

We've already let the first minutes lapse because neither of us really wanted this thing or could figure it out, although we don't know how much was paid into it in the first place. (Sorry about that. Let us know and we'll reimburse you.) I don't think we should be trusted to used something like this responsibly. Neither one of us leaves home except for Dr. appointments. So we don't see advantages of having a slippery little pocket weight.

We're not Luddites. We don't want to go around destroying cell phones or Blackberries or ruining the fun for everybody else. Not Luddites; just fuddy-duddy-ites, I guess.

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