Cell Phones

I’ll state right off the bat–I HATE CELL PHONES. Hate them. I hate them in so many ways, but one of the biggest ways in which I hate cell phones is the way that the cell phone companies totally RIP YOU OFF from the moment you try to get a cell phone until the moment you blessedly tear up the contract in front of their stunned faces and walk out of the cell phone store a free person.

To clarify, I DO have a cell phone. I bought it at Office Depot for $14.99 last year before I went back to Hotlanta for CroneFest with my home girls from college to celebrate our mutual 50th birthdays. We were going to be wrangling 9 women from almost as many states of the Union, so I thought, well, maybe a cell phone would be the easiest way to keep up with everyone. But I DAMN sure didn’t want a contract that would keep me enslaved for the rest of my unnatural life to a device I use maybe once a month (usually to find G on the other side of WalMart–she pulls a disappearing act that has to be witnessed to be believed!).

So. Office Depot. Cell phone for $14.99. TracFone. Buy minutes every 90 days. Right now, I spend about $21.00 every 3 months, and I’ve got almost 5 hours on my phone (tells you how much I use it, right?). It really is the only way to have one of the accursed contraptions. Do I sound like a Luddite yet?

For over a year, I have been paying for my daughter’s cell phone through T-Mumble. We went there one day after she had pretty much had her final row with old boyfriend (OBF–not to be confused with OFB, which stands for “old, fat broad” or yours, truly). Conveniently (for her), her now-ex had taken her ID out of the apartment that she had just kicked him out of, and so I foolishly used my ID to allow her to get the phone. To be fair, she did buy the phone herself, but the contract was/is in my name.

The first few months, the bill was WAY more than the “plan” I had signed up for. My daughter liked to change the music that played when you call (instead of a ring). This was nearly $2.00 a pop to change a damn song. I told her to quit using songs, a RING works just fine. I had already put the unlimited text, etc. on there because she probably texts more than she talks (it was only $15.00 a month and worth it–I text her from my computer when I’m working).

Bill went down by a few $$. Then, it’s up again. I go through the bill with a microscope and find out I’m being charge $10.00 a month for INTERNET on the phone. The phone doesn’t even have that capability, but will they refund what they’ve already charged me for a (&#%(& useless service? Oh, noooo, can’t do that.

Then she goes over her minutes. You would think that 600 “whenever” mintues IN ADDITION to UNLIMITED minutes to her “faves” would be enough. SIX HUNDRED MINUES IS 10 HOURS. TEN HOURS. That means she has to spend more than 20 minutes every day talking on the phone. That doesn’t count the UNLIMITED time she has to talk to the friends she chooses to put on her “list”. So, I can only imagine how much time she actually does talk on the phone. Or text. Or whatever. I mean, if the damn thing would make me a latte, I could understand the fascination.

Going over your alloted minutes on a cell phone plan is like, well, just take all the extra money you’re ever going to have and just give it to the cell phone company. It’s that outrageously expensive.

So, I changed the plan and got 1,000 whenever minutes for much proportionally less than going over the allotted minutes. Long story short, I have figured out how to have the phone bill at around $85.00 a month.

THEN…she starts getting harassed by OBF and wants to change the number. Actually she changes the number. Now, how is it that, that when you call “customer service” on any kind of account in YOUR name, that you have to verify your fucking shoe size before they will tell you anything, but my daughter can call and change the phone number on this account in MY name at the drop of a hat? How? Because it’s MORE MONEY for the #)&*%#( cell phone company, of course. There’s another $15.00 charge. Okay, there goes the bill fluctuation again.

So, I tell my daughter that I’ve had it. I’m going to have to get out of this phone bill. I call the company. But when she upgraded her phone a few months ago, THEY ADDED TWO YEARS TO THE CONTRACT. So, it will cost me $200.00 to get out of this contract. Again, how was MY DAUGHTER able to change the length of this “contract” in MY name? I didn’t call and give permission to do that. But there is absolutely no sense in arguing the a “customer service” rep of a cell phone company. You’ll end up bald and bloody from tearing your own hair out by the roots.

Then, I try to call and change the billing cycle. Since I get paid twice a month, I usually break my bills in half and pay them twice a month. Sounds confusing but it works for me. Well, that’s way too complicated. There’s prorating and blah, and more blah, and yet more blah, so I tell them never mind, just leave it the way it is.

Then, last week, I receive an unexpected blessing. My daughter leans over the tub and drops the phone in. Poof, phone is kaput. She already knows that I am not going to spring for a new phone, so she calls to see if there’s any insurance on the phone. No, there is not. So SHE calls T-Mumble and IF she adds the rest of her natural life to the contract, THEN she can get a phone for $100.00. Otherwise, she tells me the phones are like $400.00. FOR A FUCKING PHONE. Okay, this is what she tells me, I don’t make any of these calls myself.

But, I keep my cool. “Wow,” I say, “that’s a lot. I’m sorry, but I can’t help you with any of that. What are you going to do?” She says she’s going to wait till she gets paid, see if TM puts any phones on sale, and if not, she’s going to another provider that’s been advertising around here for unlimited everything for about half of what I pay now. Fine.

So, today, she calls me from her new number. She’s got the phone with a new provider, and I am going to go next week and HAPPILY pay the freaks $200.00 bucks and walk out and not look back.

And, THAT, folks, will be the LAST ongoing bill that I will be paying for my daughter.

Amazingly, sometimes things DO work out when you’re not watching.

Have a great weekend. Get off the damn phone and go outside!

GG

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8 thoughts on “Cell Phones

  1. Sadly funny. I had a phone for 10 years and in 10 years I used it for a total of about 10 hours. Same company. This company told me I need a new phone – so I ordered a new phone. Did not like the new phone so I called them and got permission to send it back. Sent it back. THEY CANCELLED ME and then had the audacity to send me a bill for early termination. I cannot get anyone on the phone from the company and I have no intention whatsoever of paying them.

    I hear your pain…

    janet

  2. Oh man can I relate to that. I had a cell phone for about 5 years. Then when I started working for the school district, they assigned me a phone and I didn’t want to carry 2 and had a year left on my contract so I let Dan use it. I like to never have got it back from him. When the contract was up, I cancelled it and he bought a trac phone like he should have done in the first place. Now I work for the mental health center and they’ve assigned me another. Only way to go except it makes me way too accessible. 🙂

  3. Is your daughter a minor? If so, she couldn’t legally have agreed to upping or renewing the contract, could she?

  4. gosh this brings me back to the time i opened the phone bill to find it over $300. My daughter had talked on the phone at 1:00am to 6:00am for two weeks. She was soooo busted!

  5. Man, kids…. apparently it NEVER ends.

    Damn my mother had it good. She has no idea.

    I left at 17 and never looked back. I should’ve!

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