Friday, October 14, 2005

A Tale of Four Cell Phones

First, there is my trusty Nokia 5180i, which was working fine, and still would be working fine except that:

I discovered that I could upgrade my telephone with Verizon for free (with contract) back in February. I upgraded to a Samsung SCH-a670. A fine phone, except that:

It doesn't swim. It sank like a rock (faster than the anchor!) in Manchester Bay a couple of weeks ago. I was unhappy, but, I thought: "Aha! I have a spare phone at home! My Nokia 5180i!" It would have worked great, except that:

Verizon refused to re-activate it. They say it lacks some mandated 911 feature. Sigh. The verizon guy asked me if I'd been paying for phone insurance. I hadn't. It looked like I'd have to pay full retail for a new phone. Which I would have done, except that:

I'm too cheap for that. I asked my friends to find out if anybody had an unused cell phone that wasn't too old. Michelle stepped up with her trusty LG VX10, which she'd recently deactivated. The LG VX10 is a modern phone compared to the Nokia 5180i. I had high hopes for a cheap way back onto the cell-phone network.

Still, rather than immediately meet Michelle to get her phone, I kept shopping for cheap alternatives, which are annoyingly difficult to find on the web. I saw some used SCH-a670's on ebay for about $110, but I didn't buy. I wanted to see what Verizon would sell me one for. I went to the local Verizon Wireless store on Columbus Day, and I would have gotten a price from them, except that:

The sales woman spent forever serving her previous customer. She even mistook me for him at one point, telling me "your total today is ... ooops!" Gosh. She must have been in love with the guy. I gave up waiting around, determined to get my service over the telephone. I was even tempted to cancel my current contract (paying the $200 penalty) and start up a new contract with a "free" phone. That would have been stupid, but I was mad.

I went home and called Verizon again, asking them for pricing on phones. The price the guy quoted me "on closeout" was $269.99 for the SCH-A670. Ouch! This phone is about to be discontinued, but they were still selling it at full price! Plus, the guy was telling me to go back to the Verizon Wireless store to pick it up. I sure wasn't looking forward to that. The $200 penalty was still looking good. But there was still Michelle's phone.

Tuesday I called Michelle to ask her to meet me with her cell phone. She gave me her LG VX10. I was very grateful, and looking forward to having a nice Wednesday morning activating her phone. Except that:

On the web, it said I couldn't activate the phone. It told me to call Verizon. I did. The woman at Verizon tried to re-activate the LG VX10. But she couldn't. It lacked the mandatory 911 feature. Ugh. I was about to give up altogether and buy a used phone on ebay when she told me that I was eligible for a "new every two" upgrade.

Now, this is nutty. I got my last phone in February, and I drowned it in October. I have no clue how I suddenly became elegible for an upgrade. Maybe someone at Verizon has been counting how many times I've called them and have gone to their website in the last two weeks. Regardless, to get my upgrade I'd have to go back to the Verizon Wireless store.

I suppressed my heebie-jeebies, and I went there Wednesday at about 2:30 (off hours). Instead of paying $269 for an SCH-A670, I paid 50 bucks for accessories (car charger and headset), and got a free SCH-A850! (with a new 2-year contract starting today).

Go figure!

I turned on the new phone after charging it. It would have worked fine, except that:

Just kidding. It actually works fine. Really.

Do yourselves a major favor. Keep a short leash on your cell phone. And if you are prone to losing it, pay the extra 6 bucks a month for insurance. Still...

I'm too cheap for that.