Sunday, March 8, 2009

Phone Tree

I've got the 20-month itch. Yeah, I've had my current cell phone for almost two years now, and I'm itching for a new one. I see all these fancy dancy ones the kids have and I look at my boring but perfectly serviceable Motorola phone and I think, geez, I'd like to have better-looking pictures from my phone, I'd like to have an easier time composing text messages, I'd like something as cool and sleek and with it as I am (Ha!). So I've been looking around at phones and phone service plans and I say, it's like (human, automotive or real estate) porn, in that everything is portrayed to be so sexy and the lighting is almost always great, and you think, "wow, i wonder what it would be like to play around with that one!" In the same way that you think, "Wow, that's stunning," then, "But can I really feel comfortable in a loft with floor to ceiling windows? Is that really me?" You might also think, as I have, "Whoa, that Blackberry Pearl is like a precious jewel; the LG/Samsung/HTC touch screen is something out of 'A Clockwork Orange' if they had cell phones in that movie -- but could it really withstand my fingerprints, my mindlessly dropping it in my bag, my sometimes driving so erratically that it flies from the passenger seat onto the floor of my car?"

Then there's the matter of social responsibility to consider. Verizon supposedly has the best service/coverage of the major carriers. But the newsletters I get from the Communications Workers of America, my union, tell me that Verizon has worked to smash any efforts by its employees to unionize, or to even meet regarding unions, telling them lies about how it would affect their jobs and pay and generally intimidating them into not organizing. Then my union says it supports AT&T, because it allows its workers to belong to unions, and the CWA even has deals with AT&T for like a 10% discount off its monthly service charges. Great, but AT&T generally is thought to have just about the worst phone call quality in the Chicago area, no matter what their ads say. And, then I got an e-mail from I think it was Air America, saying that AT&T donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the McCain/Palin campaign last year and has generally been quite supportive of Republicans. And AT&T has the iphone, but I've already got an ipod touch, so I get the apps and all that and besides, I don't really want to be that connected, and the iphone service plan is more expensive than normal phones' plans.

Reading cell phone and cell service reviews on Web sites is a waste of time, I've decided, because for every review you see that says, for instance, "The Behold is the greatest phone I have ever owned," or "AT&T has the best customer service of any provider," there is always another reviewer who says, "This phone is a $300 piece of crap" and "AT&T used to be good but they suck. I'm going back to Verizon." But then you go over to the Verizon reviews and you see someone who says, "Their phones are great but Verizon has the worst plans and they add on fees without telling you and they won't even replace the phone that arrived in 12 pieces in the mail." (I am paraphrasing, here, but just imagine a cellular "Mad Libs" and you get the idea.)

So maybe I'll just stay with my current cell phone service provider, T-Mobile, and upgrade my phone in a couple months, when I get a 'discount' to do so, even though I would wind up paying more money than someone new to T-Mobile, who hasn't paid their bills regularly over the past two years and hasn't needed any additional service and has taken good care of his phone. Why not just jump to another company and get a brand new phone for free, as opposed to paying like $149 or whatever? Or just sign up for another two years with T-Mobile just to avoid the headache of switching over and stick with a Motorola phone. Oh wait, Motorola is laying off thousands of workers, which is a bit evil, and they and T-Mobile are profiting from the loss of employment by people who need to support their families. Oy. Just give me a paper cup with a string on it.

1 comment:

Stephen Rader said...

"...cellular 'Mad Libs'..."

That sent a chill down my spine.

It's a bitch to decide this, isn't it? I have Sprint only because it has good service in both Chicago and Tennessee (where my family lives - - I bought a phone for my mom which is on my plan as well).

Well, good service except in my basement apartment, that is. If I walk two feet away from a window, I'm in nowheres-ville.

Good luck. :)