The Roundup -

Forward to the Past


November 14, 2018 | View PDF

Sometimes enough is enough. I'm thinking specifically here of cell phones. My husband and I both have used Tracfone for years; you maybe remember, those old-fashion flip phones that don't do much else other than allow us to dial out and to receive calls. Incidentally having a phone, not a mini computer, is our sole purpose in having a portable communications device we can carry in our pockets. We do not text, we don't want to check weather, access the Internet, nor do we feel the need to keep in constant touch with anyone via Facebook or by any other electronic method. I really see no need to have a camera, or any other fancy contraptions, as part of a cell phone. If I want a camera, I own a very good one that takes great pictures and does nothing else, which suits me just fine. I have no wish to carry around a smart phone to order and organize my life for me.

A month or so ago my husband's flip phone quit working in the house. He still got great service outside the cabin, but inside the cabin, his phone told him he had no service. My cell still worked just fine in the house so we figured something in his phone decided to stop working and probably he needed a replacement.

What an eye-opener we encountered when looking for a new phone. The first surprise came when we discovered no one wants to sell us a flip phone any longer. Companies want to sell phones that do it all, and of course the price they want for such devices makes me snort in disbelief. We do not WANT a phone that does it all. The second shock of course involves the price of these contraptions. We have no intentions of paying the amount of money that companies want for these phones. Some of them cost more than a desk top computer. I don't care if these phones can simultaneously sing the Hallelujah chorus, dance on the tabletop, get rid of salesmen, and dust my furniture while also splitting and stacking wood for the wood stove. This old gal will NOT pay that kind of money for a phone.

We searched high and low for a new phone for my husband, and with great trepidation I ordered one that was on sale, had next to no additional features, and that cost $50. I figured the phone would not be too 'smart' and that my husband only needed to use the call in and out features.

When the phone arrived, I went through Tracfone to get it set up, only it didn't work. I wasted three evenings talking to various Tracfone representatives, and no one could get this phone to operate. An 'expert' finally told me that the new phone did not recognize its own SIM code. "So, this phone is a dud?" I inquired, and the hesitant voice on the other end of the line assured me that yes indeed, my new phone was worthless and I would have to send it back. So I then asked that this genius of technology please strip the information from the new phone and put it all back on my husband's old original phone, and we would just continue to use that one.

Hah. With all this modern technology, the expert informed me that they had cancelled the SIM card on the old phone, and that no, they could not resurrect that old SIM number, but they could issue a new SIM card that would take five business days to reach us, and at that point we could reestablish information and use the old flip phone.

Needless to say, we were not amused. We waited several days for the new SIM card to arrive in the mail. When it arrived, I again contacted Tracfone to get the information put back on the old phone and to get it up and working again.

The technician who helped me was thunderstruck that we wanted the new 'smart' phone disconnected and to resume service on the old flip phone. "You are putting your information on this old flip phone," he asked incredulously.

You bet. My opinion of the newfangled phones couldn't sink any lower.

The technician reestablished service on the old phone within minutes. My husband now has his old phone in working order again, and of course it still doesn't work in the house.

We did some research, talked to a few people, and have come to a few conclusions. We discovered that others are becoming disillusioned with cell phones as well. We are not alone.

We also learned that companies continually upgrade the towers so these towers will no longer support outdated phones (or antiquated people who have no wish for a phone that does it all). Cell phone companies continue to 'improve' their products, add more features, and then expect users to happily embrace newer models at ridiculously inflated prices.

Not this old couple. We won't allow a cell phone company to coerce us into purchasing crap we don't want, won't use, and certainly don't need.

My husband and I have reached a decision. When our outdated cell phones quit working for whatever reason, we are done with them altogether. We will cease to carry cell phones and will return to our past by installing a land line phone. We already made good on our decision by having the land line installed, and if anyone wants to reach us, they can call the land line, leave us a message on that device called an answering machine, and we may or may not choose to get back to them. The local cooperative supplies land line service for less than a dollar a day, our phone has three handsets so we have one in the cabin, one in my office, and the third one in Rod's shop. Less than a dollar a day beats the prices of cellphones and the contracts that go with them.

I will do nothing to hasten the demise of my cell phone, but I certainly will not miss it in any way, shape, or form when it ceases to function.


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