Saturday, October 15, 2005

Beam me up...

I have one of those old clunky cell phones - so old the battery plate fell off and I taped it back on - then the Scotch tape wouldn't do the job any more and finally, the phone died. So I figured I'd just go out and buy a new one. One of those thin spiffy models that look like "Beam me up, Scotty" devices. Maybe spend a half hour on the task. Yeah, right.

I use "Pay-As-You-Go" since I can't stand the idea of another monthly charge. I don't use the cell phone that often to justify it. And hey, I'm an email kinda person, just not on my telephone.

So I surf the web, and find a myriad of phone choices. I get rather excited when I see I can buy a phone for $19.99, but there's a catch - I must sign up for three years with a monthly plan and billing. Oh, sure, I can bundle it with my Hi-Speed Internet, and save a few bucks each month, but I don't wanna do that - all I want is a phone! Not a plan!

And then I read the fine print - that $19.99 is the price AFTER the mail-in rebates. I hate mail-in rebates. They never show up in my mailbox unless I chase them down by arguing with some faceless voice at the end of an 1-800 number. And then I read more of the website description - that $19.99 phone is, like, $300 if I use Pay-As-You-Go cards.

Okay, so I give up on the website - too many choices anyway and the FAQs never answer my specific questions. So I brave the traffic at Fisher-Hallman and Ottawa (most accidents per year at this crossroads) and get the cell phone spiel from the kid at the Source electronic store. I make a decision to buy a MuchMusic Pay-As-You-Go phone right there based on his pitch (why the hell would I want to download music?), and he says to me, absolutely straight faced, "We don't have any of those phones right now." Sends me to the Rogers Wireless store across the street.

I take my life in my hands and brave the Saturday afternoon traffic. A young woman explains all about the phones all over again, and the Blackberries too (just in case), but they require monthly plans (I can bundle it, she says cheerfully). Once again I choose the MuchMusic phone, and she says to me, "Oh, those are all sold out - go over to the Sources store across the street...." I mutter something about just being there, and she says, "Then try the Rogers store at the Highland Mall." Yeah, right.... that intersection is just as insane on a Saturday afternoon....

Well, I do finally get a new phone... went to my neighbourhood Rogers video store - some nerdy young girl (she told me this story about her father, and how he had this really old cell phone for the longest time, and taped the battery plate to the back of it....). Got me the phone I wanted, didn't try to sell me anything else, even did all the paper work for me. You know, I bet that nerdy kid writes poetry in her spare time. Damn good poetry too.


Larry Keiler said...

Oh, the phantasmagoria that is the world of cell phones. I already have a beam-me-up phone, but it too is old and clunky. Not the sleek tiny kind you get nowadays that you could lose in your bra if you're not careful. No, mine's old, black, substantially weighted and slightly beat. But it has a flip top.

A whole year ago I was in a Bell mobility store and the woman there saw my phone and said, "man, that's an old phone you got there." What, old? At the time it was about three years old. And according to her, three years is about the maximum life of a cell phone these days. So I've beat the odds by a year already.

But think about this...a couple hundred bucks for a phone that lasts three years. (Actually, not the phone, but the battery. The phone could go a lot longer, but the battery costs almost as much as a new phone. Marketing. Packaging.) Remember the old Northern Telecom rotary phones. Built to last, man. These days, no one thinks anything of two hundred dollars for an appliance that lasts three years.

I'll be in the market soon. The battery on my phone doesn't last the way it used to. But my choices are limited. I need a Mike phone for work. Motorola is the only company that makes them, as far as I know.

My friend J. Clive has a fabulous ring tone on his phone: Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries. Don't you love the smell of napalm in the morning?

Anonymous said...

So Larry, when did you start wearing bras?

You really should get a new one if it's old, black, substantially weighted and slightly beat, but that flip top sounds kinda cool...

Larry Keiler said...

I'll have you know, fashionably speaking, that Black is this year's Black.