__________ June 22, 2015 __________

Cellphone Catastrophe

cellphone33Good merciful heavens, what a fiasco.  Wanna hear about our cellphone catastrophe?  Hope so, because I severely need to vent about it.

I was happy with my old 2005 Cingular phone.  I didn’t talk on it, didn’t pay much for it… it was useless, and completely wonderful.  I was happy not thinking about it.  NOT having to carry it, talk on it.  Not being able to text on it.  And yes, I’m a dork.  That’s fine.

And then suddenly the cord busts, and I have to do something else.  GAH.  So we went to AT& T to get a new phone.  Because we’re peons, they send us to Meijer or Target, where peons are tolerated.  Meijer didn’t have squat, but then we talked to the nicest kid I’ve met in a really long time at Target, and… it felt right.  Y’know?  I’m very much about what feels right.  Ha’Shem works with me, that way.  He makes it right when it’s what I’m supposed to do.  So I bought the phone.  We put $25 worth of minutes on it.

And then…  TEXTING.  Ohmigawsh, the texting.  Lydia, texting me from her friend’s house on her Nook (she download a free texting app?  I… don’t understand that.  SOMEONE has to pay for those texts… it makes me leery, but then I’m always leery).  Brian, texting me from work, when he’s supposed to be WORKING.  And every text THEY send costs me 25¢, and every text that I reply costs me 25¢… by the end of four days, half that $25 we put on my new phone was gone!  We can’t afford that!!  Brian admitted that he’s been re-loading twice a month… that’s FIFTY dollars for his cellphone, with super-limited capacity!!  Oh, crap.  That… is not going to work.  At all.

So I sat down with my BFF, Ramona, who has MetroPCS, and she said they have unlimited talk/text and internet for $25/mo on their family plan.   That’s HALF the price of what Brian was doing… and it’s unlimited!!   So we went down to Metro, they pulled up our address, we were in the purple on their map (calling area availability), so it was a go.  We had to buy two NEW phones, but it was going to be SO MUCH nicer and cheaper, right?

Except I didn’t like the phone.  I didn’t like the people we talked to.  I felt squirmy.  And when we got the phones home?  No signal.  We were in the purple on their service map, but in reality, we were out of area.  And you can’t have cellphones that you can’t use.  So the next morning, we were BACK at MetroPCS, getting a refund.  Only now our phone numbers had been ported over from AT&T to Metro, and so we didn’t have Metro OR AT&T.   ARGGHHH!!!

Did I mention I’d been happy with the cellphone equivalent of nil, before?

So now we had a problem.  Well, because our internet is with Verizon, I suggested to Brian that we go there, since they have the best coverage in the nation, and maybe we could lump our internet in with new phones, on one plan.  So we drove down to Verizon.  The store isn’t a store, it’s a MALL in and of itself, I swear.  We were ‘put in queue’, and processed like assembly line parts.  And the plans they have there?  They’re TOTAL crap.  For example, on the 2-year contract we’re locked into (that I despise) for our home wireless internet, we have 10gig internet for $80 (which I go over on, almost every month… and it’s $10 per gig over your allotment).  They said we could put phones on, unlimited text and talk, but the internet would come from the ‘bucket’ our wireless at home has, with $20 per phone and $25 per month for cells.  That’s $45/mo for phones, and they’d share the home internet, which is already exceeded.  So they offered to bump us to 14gig for $120… but we never use 14 gig… and it’s no deal.  If we stay with our current allotment, we only pay $90 or $100, and only pay for what we use.  And the phones are almost DOUBLE what PCS offered!  Locked in on a 2-year contract.  Screw that!  And I felt like an automaton, walking in the door. Forget it.  We walked.  I get kinda pissy when people act like their doing me a favor, and they aren’t anywhere near that.  It’s like they think if they act like they’re the sha-bang, I’ll believe it.  Sheeple probably do.  I don’t.

I was half tempted to suggest making the 3-hour round trip to go talk to my friend Vandy, who is a cellphone guru.  At least I would know he was a nice guy, and would talk straight with us about options.  But it was a long way, and we’d already been all over town…

So we went to BoostMobile.  Brian’s friend has Boost, and lives way out in the boonies, so… maybe, right?  National coverage isn’t there, but if we could use it locally…?  We can’t.  The boonies is in range, we aren’t.  Boost was out.  I didn’t much care for the idea, anyhow.  It’s not known… that means there’s a better chance they go out of business or sell… potential future problems.

T-mobile didn’t sound like an option (same coverage as Boost)… and Brian was considering going to a different Verizon, at this point.  He suggested that maybe it was just that store, with people who weren’t good with customer service, and weren’t interested in doing us any favors.  We walked into a different Verizon at the same time as another couple.  The sales guy at the counter was on-line.  He didn’t look up, didn’t greet us, didn’t even indicate that he saw either of us.  And we waited… and waited… and waited… you have got to be kidding me…!!  He obviously had NO interest in the customers.  That was it for Verizon.  Once our wireless contract is up, we shop for something elsewhere.  Period.

I was so aggravated by this time, that I could scream.  Brian was also frustrated, but mostly wanted to diffuse me, so he was talking about us both going back to pay as you go with our old Cingulars and not having text or anything, and just doing his side business via e-mail, and having emergency phones, again.  But it felt like it was too late to go back, y’know?  And I know he didn’t want that.  He likes text and talk.  So I thought about this.  Target was right.  That was the only thing that had been right in days and days.  I knew that I had been meant to get the AT&T phone at Target.  And I liked the Nokia that I got.  It was just the AT&T pay-as-you-go that we couldn’t do.  So I drove us straight to the corporate AT&T store.   I wasn’t going to deal with that Gaines Marketplace AT&T jackhat that treated us like peons… twice.  (When we needed a phone, and when I needed the SIM changed over, both!)

We walked in the door of AT&T corporate, and Aaron (older, friendly looking guy) met us at the door.  “I’m cellphone frustrated,”  I told him.  “We need help.  Can you help us?”  And you know what?  Aaron was really nice.  He listened to our experiences, laughed along with us at the craziness out there, and then said, “Well, we can do unlimited talk and text for you for $30/mo… and if you have automatic withdrawal, it’ll be $25/mo, just like PCS.  You just won’t have internet, but if you stop at McDonald’s or any place with free wifi, you can use it on your phones, there.  YES!!!  He told us how to save on our landline plan through them (will save another $10/mo), told us to drop our long-distance carrier and make our long-distance calls on our cells (which will save another $5/mo), and told Brian not to have his screen fixed – for ten dollars less, he could just buy a newer, better phone.

He ported our numbers back in three minutes (PCS took three hours), and had everything set up for us, while turning on a cartoon on their in-house TV screen to keep the kids’ attention while they waited for us to do all the paperwork and transferring.  He was SO nice!  And… that’s where we were supposed to be.  With my Target phone, that I… have to admit, I’m starting to like.  And it’s kind of fun, now.  We even went down and got Brian the newer phone for Father’s Day.

So whew!  If you have MetroPCS service in your area, it’s currently the best deal, because it has free internet.  But even they don’t have the coverage that AT&T has.  Second best is AT&T, and our deal is pretty sweet.  And we’re going to condense and save, thanks to him.  It feels SO good to have it all worked out, now!  Whew!!!

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