Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Anybody want a cell phone?

I've long resisted having a cell phone. The few times might have used it didn't seem to be worth the cost and the hassle to keep track of it. Added to that was my nutritionist disliking all that EMF energy beside my head or even in my pocket. I know lots of people say cell phones are perfectly safe. My nutritionist isn't one of them.

Then my father was ill last summer and I was told I had to carry a phone. So I carried his. It had 1800 minutes on it when I got it. When he died the phone still had 1600 minutes.

This phone was from TracFone. One paid for a certain duration of contract plus minutes. The contract expired at the end of last year. I got on their website and found that I couldn't extend the contract without also buying more minutes. The site, of course, suggested buying a year and 400 minutes for $100 (which, I guess, Dad had been doing for several years). I bought 30 days and 30 minutes for $10.

At the end of January I hadn't used it at all, so I didn't bother renewing. When I went to Austin in early April I figured I could use the phone so went to the website. There it told me the phone was 2G and would soon no longer be compatible with 3G and higher networks. It would be glad to send me a free phone. But I didn't have time to receive a new phone before the trip so didn't pay for more time.

A couple weeks later, about mid-April, I got on the site again. I would be leaving on my Washington, DC trip in about a week and it would be good to have a phone to work out meeting up with my cousin. I asked for the new phone. The site said I would have to wait 5-11 days for the phone. With a flight a week later I figured my odds were pretty good.

But it didn't arrive before the trip, so the day before I paid to have time put on the old one. That was a hassle. In talking to the help desk I had to keep coming back to, "But my flight leaves tomorrow and I need a working phone." The phone finally worked and showed the 30 minutes I had just bought. I was assured the other 1630 minutes would show up on the new phone.

They got the last laugh because when I tried using the phone near DC I only got "No Service." Useless phone.

When I got home the replacement still hadn't shown up. It did a couple days later. So that wait of 5-11 days meant it took 11 days for them to figure out how to send me a replacement phone. Time to ship it came after that. Since I wouldn't need the phone for a while I let it sit in the box.

The 30 days that I bought for the DC trip and couldn't use ends tomorrow so I figured I should activate the new one now in hopes of making the transfer easier. I went to the website and tried to log in. I hadn't recorded a password, so I entered my email addy and clicked on "forgot password." It said it didn't know that addy. How had I gotten on to order the phone?

So I called. There was the usual hassle of reading off various serial numbers, including prying off the cover to the new phone to pull out the battery to get to the SIM card. What about those 1600 minutes? I asked. I had to explain. She finally said that since I hadn't renewed time in February or March those minutes had vanished.

When I heard that I said, "Then there's no reason to continue with the activation." It took a few repetitions for her to get it.

I later thought I could have asked for a manager. But no. I'm done with TracFone.

So I have this brand new 3G phone. I'm not interested in using it, though perhaps when I travel in July it might be nice. If I decide I want one I'll find another phone network and hope I can use it there.

In the meantime, my landline works just fine.

Another indication of how my day has gone. I got on my bike this morning and rode it the two miles to my old church to return music I had borrowed. When I got on it again the back tire was flat. There was no way I was going to ride it anywhere and I certainly wasn't going to continue my ride. So I walked it home.

Tomorrow I'll pump it up to see if I can ride it to the bike shop 1 1/2 miles away. If not, I'll walk it there (the bike doesn't fit in my car). It looks like the back tire needs replacing anyway.

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