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Thursday, October 8, 2015

A ploy too far


My phone is a smart phone. That is more technology than I ever thought I would need, until four or five years ago. I needed a recording device, and why carry a recorder in one pocket and a phone in another? It was not love at first sight; a smart phone is no flip phone.

I grew accustomed to it, one icon at a time, until the phone became more convenient to use than the computer. It’s easier to make arrangements via texts, for instance, than by email. I like finding the weather forecast for any place I might be visiting, using it to read a magazine while waiting in a doctor’s office, for access to the internet to resolve a point of dispute.

Earlier this year I was in the phone store to get help with square technology, and the enterprising young clerk tried to sell me a new phone; last year’s model of my phone, on sale for a hundred dollars with a hundred dollar rebate. I thought about it. It was shiny red, a big plus, but on consideration I did not want to learn the ins and outs of a new phone, and passed.

The last several weeks, though, my trusty phone has been on the fritz. Missed calls and messages. A grey screen and the tiny bar announcing I could only make an emergency phone call because I had no SIM card. I became the queen of soft reset, but drew the line at the minimum of two soft resets a day.

I went to the phone store today, ready to bite the bullet and learn a new phone. I fooled around with the current model, and it appeared I could tolerate the annoyance of the learning curve. My account was pulled up, and, hello, I was long overdue for an upgrade. I could even have the current model for one hundred dollars plus tax, and a mail in rebate of one hundred dollars. Six dollars and seventy five cents for a new phone! I’d paid two hundred for the one in my pocket.

“How much is a new SIM card?” I inquired. They were free, but they were on order. The clerk fished out my SIM card, blew off the pocket dust, put it back. The phone fired up without a soft reset. I considered, but the lure of a six dollar and seventy five cent phone won over. I’d take it.

The paperwork was humming through the printer; the clerk picked up his pen and began. “Now,” he said, “the rebate comes in the mail, a hundred dollar Visa card with your name on it.” My wallet simply snapped shut. “Well, that’s the deal breaker,” I said. “A prepaid Visa card is not a rebate; I cannot put it in the bank.”

I’ll go back in a week or two for a new SIM card. Beside, that new phone was black.




23 comments:

  1. My goodness you got a steal on that phone. I recently had issues with my cell which wasn't that old. I had to cough up almost $300 if I don't want a phone with a contract (which I don't). That is the difference between cell phones in Canada and the USA or almost anywhere else. We pay through the nose and I got the least expensive deal I could because after all, we have become so reliant on the smart phones haven't we? I use it for the same kind of things you use it for and to communicate with friends far away when telephone calls are too expensive (Skype or otherwise). Have fun with the new phone.

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  2. What a con trick!
    I've just had to buy a smart phone and it is clear that the wretched thing is considerably smarter than me. I could cope with messages in Spanish...but all those icons mean nothing to me whatsoever....

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  3. Hari OM
    ...Think 'Joyful' missed the kicker... there are lots of things with those 'rebates' on here too; am just now awaiting the delivery of a new tablet, Y2 having perished. I got a good deal and none of the marketing nonsense. Sounds to me like a good all spring clean is all your old unit requires... and perhaps a new battery; rechargeables eventually 'fritz'...YAM xx

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  4. I read your post... with a somewhat jaundiced eye... not because of what your wrote but because I absolutely hate the phone technology of today. My daughter tells me if I want to be "kept in the loop" than I better text (I don't) that my blog isn't reaching any of them (their choice) and that Facebook is okay but barely keeping up with the times. I call my phone the "Walmart phone"... the only time I ever turn it on is to call Bill in Walmart and say "where the hell are you?". The kids don't know the number... I tell them to never call it because it's always turned off (except when I'm in Walmart)... Joanne... you are mastering a world I'm not even sure I want to know about. We use a $10 a month plan from Puretalk... what can I say?

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  5. I'm not a fan of rebate gift cards, but I figure that by paying purchases off with one of them I can keep the money I would have spent...and make a transfer to savings or avoid taking money out.

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  6. I kind of understand because Willy Dunne Wooters gave me two of those Visa cards not long after we met. They had been Christmas bonuses where he worked. He said, If you can figure out how to get the money off of these, they're yours.

    Soon, I had an extra $200. It took about five minutes for one card and twenty for the other because it was glitchy. I just put them on my Amazon account and shopped for things we needed anyway. I think you can also use them at grocery stores and department stores, or to purchase gas.

    I don't use many apps on my smart phone, but I cannot live without navigator. I've never had a sense of direction. Navigator almost always get me where I need to go.

    If you Google "emergency calls only," you'll find many solutions. I had the same problem recently and solved it with very little whining and whimpering. You're having such frequent problems, though, that Joanne (I know it's none of my business, and I promise not to say anything else), I think you should take the deal on the red phone. I would love to have a red phone, and that price is amazing. You'll pay for a bunch of stuff that you need anyway when you have the gift card. It's like getting extra money in your checking account.

    Love,
    Janie

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  7. Seems like they get you coming and going when dealing with cell phone companies. They have so many gimmicks and gadgets to try to get your business. We are ready for an upgrade in December, but I'm keeping my phone until it dies; I think hubby is ready to "move on up." I think you were wise not to take the deal in this case.

    betty

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  8. My smart phone is much, much smarter than I am. So it spends much of its life turned off.

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  9. No, you can't put the prepaid visa card in the bank, but you can use it to buy groceries (well, in Canada we can, at least) which you would have bought with cash from your bank account ... and then leave that cash in the bank.

    Or maybe it's the principle of the thing?

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  10. PS I quite agree with the principle of the thing, by the way! Why not just write a cheque to the customer?? Cripes.

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  11. I had the same "cash back" deal on the air conditioner. A $200 card that I could spend anywhere. The expiry date was one year, so I used it up over a few months for groceries. I'm dreading the day my little flip phone dies. So far it's still going strong, it's eight or nine years old, but I don't want a smart phone.

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  12. My old PAYG flip phone is cherry red and I'm keeping it. Hubby is a contract fan and upgrades regularly. He has given up trying to pass old smart phones on to me. But it is amazing how much money some people are prepared to give him for them.

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  13. I still use a pay as you go phone. When I use it that is. I feel better having it when I go out because then I have it in case of an emergency. It is a good tool.

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  14. When I watch tv and see the amazing deals for American phone plans it almost makes me cry. Our "smart" motorolas that we got about 3 years ago are still working just fine. Here in Canada, they used to be able to lock you into a three year contract and you had to pay through the nose to get out of a contract. Now it's only 2 years. I just don't like how phones have now stolen away our personalities. Can't anybody look up anymore? -Jenn

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  15. I'm sticking with my flip phone which is turned off until I need to use it. People have actually laughed at me and my flip phone! A rebate is only a rebate if you can figure out how to use it.
    Jane x

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  16. I bought a smart phone about 18 months ago. Still rarely used it as a phone, just text (my daughter, who does not seem to know how to talk on the phone) or, like The Odd Essay woman, to find my husband. Recently we got rid of our landline and now I am forced to use the smart phone as an actual phone. Ick.

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  17. As others are saying, a prepaid card is as good as money as you can use it on almost anything you need to buy. You could probably use it to pay your phone bill.

    I have a dumb phone, the retired man has the iPhone. I use mine seldom, his is never out of his hands or pocket. He is addicted to it like a teenager and finds every reason to use it no matter where we are or who we are with. The monthly cost also bothers me so no matter how out of date me and my simple phone (with texting) become, I will not buy a smart phone. That said, I do have and love my iPad.

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  18. I'm thinking of having my husband's phone surgically implanted in his forearm, he uses it so much.
    Most annoying is when he asks it questions verbally -which almost always gets confused somehow - and the process takes longer than if he had just done it manually.

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  19. Wow, you drive a hard bargain! I have successfully avoided getting a cell phone so far. I like to say that after having worked in an office answering the phone so many years, I love being unavailable now that I'm retired.

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  20. It's almost like cash. Next time you need to fill your car with gas, buy groceries, and get some new underwear, stop and buy the phone before you go shopping. Problem solved!

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  21. did you get the square ? I am thinking of getting one, apparently there are new charge cards with a chip so a new reader will be needed to take the new cards, puter stuff changes way too quickly for me.

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  22. I just try to opt out of most modern technology Joanne. I don't go all that far from home and I have an ancient mobile so that I can ring the farmer in an emergency. I have a laptop which serves me well. That's all. Anything more and I go into a frenzy of misunderstanding.

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  23. I too have fought the battle of learning the phone, but now I am finding it is very useful and usable. Good luck!

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