People do not need to be in constant communication with each other. Believe it or not, we do not need to have devices that enable us to speak to each other on our persons at all times.
But enough people have been convinced they do that now phones that can send text messages of limited characters, take and send and receive pictures, access the internet, record and create and play music, play games, work as sex vibrators, pinpoint your exact location on the planet, locate the nearest bar relative to your exact location on the planet, or whatever the hell else some shithead developer who really ought to get laid can dream up.
Because people have been convinced that they need devices that can do this, they are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for such devices. And they are willing to subscribe to plans by companies that tell these people they will pay whatever said companies decide these people should pay at any given time.
I know. About a year ago, I bought a Verizon cell phone. It was the cheapest cell phone they offered, but it still played music, took pictures, and vibrated pleasantly against my groin whenever someone called me. It was really swell until I got the first bill. Instead of $40 for the first month, which I had agreed to, I was charged well over $100 despite using roughly half the allotted minutes in my plan.
A phone call to customer service consisted of an hour of several people at Verizon explaining to me that because of something called “surcharge,” which is defined by Miriam Webster as “an additional tax, cost or impost” or “an excessive load or burden.” I told the Verizon people to go fuck themselves and gave the phone back to the store where I bought it.
I gradually came to realize that in this brave new world we live in, people need to have phones. If only so that prospective employers can call us back.
I discovered Net 10 at a Duane Reade in Manhattan. It was a phone that, for $30 came with 300 minutes. Minutes could be replenished at 10 cents per minute.
It couldn’t light up, dance, do tricks, fetch my newspaper, masturbate me, or work as an electric razor, but the phone was cheap and it could make phone calls.
For a year, I was satisfied. I was paying less than half each month on cell phone minutes than most other people and roughly a quarter than the morons who subscribed to “smartphones.” The phone was easy to use, stored all the contacts I needed, and its minutes were easy to replenish. I just went to a website, filled out a form to buy 200 minutes, and a glitch in the system gave my phone another 300.
Then the phone broke. The screen went dead for no apparent reason.
I discovered that customer support for Net 10 is just as terrible as the support for other companies. Several customer support representatives told me in succession that no, they couldn’t do jack shit to help me transfer my old phone number to my new phone, help me restore my contacts, or transfer the minutes from my old phone to the new one.
But I’m sticking with Net 10 as a provider. Even if their customer support is useless, it’s no worse than Verizon‘s or Sprint‘s, both of which I’ve had unpleasant experiences with. And they won’t make me subscribe to a plan and then decide a month in that I owe them triple the monthly fee.
Because my Net 10 phone is easy. It makes phone calls. It stores contacts. And the only game it has is sudoku.
For those of us who don’t need our cell phone to have the capabilities of a military spy plane, that’s pretty good.