Friday, May 17, 2013

Coming Out from Under a Rock

Did I ever mention I hate technology? Oh, yeah, I know I wallow in it for a living. And, I depend on it for a hobby. And, between my iPad, my laptop, and my phone I will no doubt die of some rare cancer brought on by continual exposure to low frequency radio waves. (In case you don't know, my current occupation is testing software and my photography hobby requires much work in a digital medium.)

I have had the same smart phone for over 3 years now. In phone time that is four generations or two eons. Future paleontologists will look at this as "forever" and probably be able to excavate the strata of sedimentary waste layers in that amount of time. But, I digress.

The battery in my cell phone was not holding a charge, and not wanting to buy a new phone nor having any reason to want one, I went into Radio Shack to purchase an inexpensive replacement battery. Nothing is simple. They did not have the regular battery for my phone but did have an extended life one in the correct size. It was more than I wanted to pay, but given it was extended life, it would definitely come in handy. When I went up to the counter to check out, one of the salesman suggested I could get a new phone for the same price as that new battery I was getting ready to buy.

I quickly explained not only did I  not need a new phone, I did not want to change plans because I have been grandfathered in on an unlimited data plan, and any change would immediately throw me out of that unlimited status and cause my bill to go up. Oh, but, no no, he protested. We are just selling the phone, not the plan. After he explained it to me, it made sense and for the same amount of money, I had nothing to lose.

So I opted for the new phone. Then he asked me for my phone number and explained he had to access my account to note that I was buying the phone. Again, he assured me my plan would not be effected. I tried to tell him he would not be able to access my account because, since I have a secure email account on my phone, it is handled by the government services arm of Verizon and retail outlets did not have access to the accounts. He looked at me like I had two heads and was eight years old. That was until, a warning came up on his screen telling him, "This account is a federal government account and you do not have access to it." Of course that led to several questions. I just smiled and said, "Well, I would tell you, but then I would have to kill you and I don't want your mama after me." I could tell he did not know whether or not to take me seriously. I just smiled and bought the battery.

On the way home, I naturally started thinking about buying a new phone. After all, I had had this one since the premesozoic period or 2009, which ever was earlier. So, I called the government Verizon folks and explained my situation. Bottom line, I could get a brand new bright shiny phone with all kind of bells and whistles for almost nothing and because I have the government account (that I have to pay for) I continue to get the unlimited data. Sign me up!

48 hours later I'm looking at a new cell phone that is going to help me run faster and jump higher. Well, that is if I can figure out how to get it out of the box and turn it on. Now in the olden days when you got a new cell phone, you had to call Verizon, mash some special code and wait for the powers that be (probably some little elves that lived in a tree) to swap the old phone number to the new phone. Today this involved simply turning off the old one and turning on the new one. And, voila! The new one had all my information. Scary. 

Of course, this meant that I had a new extended life battery for a phone I no longer used. So I packaged the battery back up and headed down to Radio Shack to return it. When I walked in, the guy at the counter just looked at me. If I had been quick enough I would have asked him if he had some type of miniature audio receiver that would fit in a shoe, but I'm just not that smart. I was more worried about him questioning me about why I wanted to return the battery. 

If they had just had a regular battery, my life would have been so simple. $8.42 and I would have walked out the door happy as a clam. But, just because I had to buy a $49.94 extended life battery, a suggestion was made to buy a new phone. And, look where I am now - trying to figure out how to answer this device when it rings. Life was so much simpler in the dark ages, with my head under a cellular rock.

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