Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Do you understand this new millennium? No? Well then, you're in luck! I'm Anne Johnson, the Cailleach, and I will explain all.
The day before Christmas, my cell phone broke. It was two years old, almost to the day, so of course it fell apart in my hands. Now, in the previous millennium, one could use a telephone for two decades without need of repair. But this is a new era. Things wear out much quicker. They are made to wear out quicker, so you need to buy a new one.
I had to go to the phone store to purchase a new cell phone. This is what I discovered there:
1. The price listed on the phones is not the price you pay. The price listed is a price after a mail-in rebate, which you need to fill out the paperwork for yourself, and which comes to you in the form of a Visa gift card.
Okay, I don't curse here much, but this is bulls@$@#. If I wanted to be royally scammed, I would go to a car dealership or a televangelist.
2. Buy one, get one free. Again after the same mail-in rebate, the same false prices, and the same Visa gift card, which -- trust the Cailleach who loves you -- is not the same thing as cash or a check or a money order, or a traveler's check, or even green stamps.
3. Get a phone with a keyboard for easy texting. My thumbs already ache, sales boy, and that keyboard doesn't look user-friendly. And just so you know I'm not withering on the vine, let me just say that I can see into the future, and within just a few years we'll have voice-activated texting. I'll wait for that.
4. The phone you're choosing doesn't take pictures. Cameras take pictures, not phones. If someone takes my phone, do I want them also to be able to see pictures of my beautiful young daughters?
5. Here's a nice feature: a button that calls 911 for you with one click. That feature sucks. Suppose you hit it by mistake? It's right there where it would be easy to hit by mistake. However, since this is the only @#$@# phone in the store with a real price on it, I'll just have to be careful how I use it, won't I?
6. Are you sure you don't want to take advantage of the special offers available through your account? Yes.
My daughter The Heir tells me that I just bought a "senior citizen phone." Screw that! I bought the only phone in the store with an honest, affordable price, with no features that I'll never use (except the bloody 911 button ... Gods willing), and which serves the purpose for which it was designed: urgent communication with others while abroad from home.
Free advice from the Cailleach: At the rate technology is changing, wait it out. Get all the life you can out of your current phone, then buy another affordable one, and in less than a decade you'll be able to shell out seriously for that voice-activated technological wonder. And remember, nothing lasts more than two years, so do not waste your money on a protection plan. By the time you need it, a better gizmo will be out there to tempt you.
Don't get me wrong, youngsters. Phone booths were gross. Cell phones are good. But, buyer beware. Even if you get the paperwork filled out right, and the Visa arrives in the mail, you may leave a few pennies on the card when purchasing something. That money adds up ... for them, not for you.
As always, this advice is given freely and with joy.
Cailleach image one of many by the incomparable Thalia Took, see Sidebar.