One of the things about being off sick (for four weeks, I think I mentioned it?) is that I have had time to do things which I wouldn’t normally do.
One of them was to sort out my phone upgrade. I had half-heartedly looked at phone upgrades the other week, but was led to believe, by the website, that I had to wait until 17 months of my 18 month contract had finished before I could negotiate. Well yesterday I had one of those irritating multimedia texts that play tunes and videos, offering you great things if you would only ring this number, which they display just long enough for you to think, damn, I need a pen.
You find a pen, and replay the message, despising the Muzak just a little more and start to write the number down, get as far as 0800 and…. damn it moves on to the next screen (“thank you for reading this”). The third time you hear the Muzak you want to kill the idiot who designed it but manage to get the last few numbers down. You pray to whichever God you believe in that you wrote that number down correctly.
You ring the number. It is engaged, naturally. On the fourth try (what did we do without redial?) you get through to the company who you thought it was; comforting, because it did occur to me that it could be a scam. You are in a queue. Their advisors are currently busy. At least they didn’t tell me that my call was important to them, that one really sets me grinding my teeth. Then you get the Muzak which is interrupted whilst they remind you that You are in a queue. Their advisors are currently busy.
I waited a while, but as usual in these things, I gave up after a while. Then my sister rang, I rang her back, and then spent ages searching for the bit of paper that I had written the number down on. Is anyone else like me, I wonder? Do you think, at this point, that this woman is mad?
Finally I get to talk to someone. He says his name is Steven but I know that it isn’t. I find this to be a most appallling racism; It reminds me of the slave trade 200 years ago when all the slaves had names changed to suit the lazy tongues of the slave owners. How would you feel if your employer said that you had to be known as fred from now on because the employer preferred it, or believed his customers preferred the name fred to your own name? I wanted to ask his real name but I didn’t want to get the lad into bother. Whilst his English is generally very good, his accent is difficult for me at times and a couple of time I have to get him to repeat things. He is probably working to pay for his PhD in biochemistry.
Steven asked the usual security questions but there was some confusion – the date of birth didn’t match and I wasn’t sure why. I had already told him my name (Caddi) and the fact that it is short for something else, and he was ok with it, and though we confirmed the address, he seemed a little unsure. However he was very keen to get on to the selling and I was already picturing my new purple phone.
He tried to sell me something I didn’t want – it was too expensive. We danced the dance of haggling and eventually I made compromises (I can’t have the purple phone I want) and he made compromises, I got the contract I want at the price I want (he wanted me to spend more).
He told me that I would get my new phone today, and an email confirming it.
Now comes the difficult part. What I really wanted was to cut my phone bill down by swapping some of my minutes for texts, because I have hundreds of spare minutes every month and yet every text costs me. My bill goes up every month because I find I am making more and more texts. I need a new contract, but I don’t need a new phone. There is nothing wrong with my old phone.
It is a little scratched, but it does all i need it to do. The only thing i would prefer is exactly the same phone, but in purple. They make one of these, but (I learn later) apparently only Virgin do it and they don’t offer the right contract. It is far from at the end of its life and the Quaker in me wonders how I can justify this new phone? I know the battery life is shortening, but heck, it just means I plug it in a little more often. I like my old phone. It has my life on it, my calendars, my alarms, my address book, all these things are available on my old phone and will need moving to my new phone.
How much did it take to produce this new phone, what valuable resources, unrenewable resources have gone into this new handset? I am told the phone retails for around £200. What? I am appalled. There cannot be more in that phone than in my PC which cost £160. I am a little disgusted at myself for being taking in by the need to have bargained for a new phone when if I pushed hard enough I might have been able to get a similar deal on a sim only basis. (Actually since I have gone for the very cheapest option that I can, the sim only option was about the same price but offered more uselesss minutes or texts.) I don’t really need this phone.
I checked my email this morning – there is no email about my new phone. My new phone is not coming today.
I found the number I called yesterday and eventually spoke to another nice chap (he didn’t give me any name, fake or otherwise) but he had the gumption to ask whose name the account is in. The penny dropped loudly. The reason my birthday was not verified was because it was my OH’s they needed. OH spoke to them. The transaction was delayed but my phone comes tomorrow.
My new phone, which i don’t need but which has 4MB more storage space, an excellent MP3 and an MP4 player and even better an FM radio. I am so torn. How easily we humans are bought and sold!