Friday, August 22, 2008

One ringie-dingie

I don't want to sound like a Luddite, in fact, I love new technology, but there are times that I want to go back to the day when telephones weight twelve pounds, had a crank dial and you had to dial the operator to make a long-distance call.

This week has been one of those times.

I hate my cell phone. No, wait. It's AT&T that I hate. I have had the phone, a nice little Motorola that looks like the communicators in the original Star Trek series, for almost five years. All that time, it hasn't held a charge for more than twenty-four hours, but it has always worked, more or less. But over the past month, it has become more and more cranky, dropping calls at odd moments and refusing to charge.

I took it to one of the AT&T shops that are more ubiquitous than Starbucks.

"It's not the phone," the techgnome at the counter told me. "It's the battery."

"How much is a new one," I asked.

"Beats me," he said. "We don't carry that one anymore."

Right. So, I went looking. Radio Shack. Frye's. One of those "batteries 'r us" kiosks at the mall. Nobody carries that one anymore. When I went back to AT&T, desperate for help, they offered to set me up with a new phone.

Well, okay. I've been an AT&T customer for a long time and I'm currently on a month-to-month agreement, so I figured if I signed a new two-year contract, they would give me a phone. Nope. It seems that when we moved to Seattle, I changed service areas, and all the customer karma I had accumulated was in the other service area.

"You're not eligible for an equipment upgrade until 2010," the AT&T gnome told me. "It's going to cost one-hundred-twenty-five dollars (the minimum); unless you want this one." You could hear the italics in his voice. This one was a piece of junk. I have always been one for the grand gesture, and so I said some unkind words to him and huffed out of the store.

Then, on Monday, I plugged my phone into the charger and and it told me, in bold, block letters, that it no longer would hold a charge. NOT EVER.

And so, I now possess a lovely matte black and brushed chrome paperweight; since it won't let me use it for it's intended purpose, it might as well be a rock. I hate it.

And I will hate it even more when I finally go back into the AT&T store and shell out money for its replacement.