saving money at all cost

This is a slight rant about some relatives, one in particular, because ranting is fun, and the smug sense of superiority feels good!

So, the said relative calls me on his new cell phone this week.  Yay!  New cell phone, but there’s a catch.  More about that later.  First, some background.

There is something about a branch of my family.  When it comes to computers, Internet, or mobile phone service, they have to beat the price down to the absolute bottom dollar.  They buy these used beat-up junk computers, then when I say that they need to pay for Internet service, and it could run a lofty $17.95 a month (on special) for the first year, they squeal “Oh My God” as their jaw falls to the floor.  These are people who drive relatively new cars, one of them drives a Lincoln, so it’s not like they are on the dole.

I used to help them repair these junk boxes, but I realized that I was totally wasting my time.  I don’t want to see another box running an infested copy of Windows ME ever again.  It’s time to plunk down the money and get something real that doesn’t take half an hour to boot up, if it ever does, and get off that $4.95 a month limited AOL dial-up that you can never use because it’s so limited.

So, the aforementioned relative just gave up using a StarTAC a few years ago.  He was fond of saying, “it’s just for emergencies and I only get a few minutes a month”.  I doubt it even worked.  I never saw him touch or test it.  It sat in the console of the car with tape wrapped around it and frayed wires sticking out of the charger.  Motion from the car would make the phone squeal with beeps and other electrical noises.  It got on my freakin’ nerves.

For the last five years, he has had some cheap phone that never worked from the get-go, but at least it did show signs of being connected to the towers.  The problem was that this phone had a buzzing sound on the microphone.  I had to strain like crazy to understand anything he said.  He knew that the phone was bad but kept it for five years.  For the last two, I refused to take calls from him on it because the audio was so bad.  I often told him, “I can’t understand a damned thing you say on that phone.”  He’d reply, “yeah, it’s bad.”

So, he calls me this week with a new cell phone!  OMG, it was clear and I could hear him again.  I said, “maybe I can text you now when I’m at work and can’t talk on the phone.”  “Oh no, no texting” he says,  “it takes too long on this little keypad.”

Out of curiosity I e-mailed him last night and asked what plan, carrier, and device he had.  He has a basic $35/month plan that includes unlimited minutes, texting, and a reasonable chunk of data.  The device is the kicker.  It’s the cheapest piece-of-shit clamshell phone that I’ve ever seen.  The carrier gives them away for free if you lock in for two years so they can rake off a couple of hundred dollars from you.  Full price, the unit sells for about $25 at Wal-Mart and Target.

I texted him last night just for fun, and he replied, “don’t text unless emergency, too hard to reply.”

I couldn’t resist.  I e-mailed him not to worry about me texting ever again.  I also said, “why don’t you plunk down $350 for an Android and live like a man.”  LOL.

We’re temporarily not speaking, but we like each other, so this, too, shall pass.  I had a good time picking on him.  He’ll get me back.  🙂

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4 responses to “saving money at all cost

  1. I know these kind of people. They will swear how great are their outdated systems. 😯

  2. Dave – I reckon he’d appreciate the Sarah Palin and Ronald Reagan books. 😉 (Drat it! How do you insert hyperlinks into replies on WordPress. I needed ‘Sarah Palin and Ronald Reagan books’ to be a link that opened a new window with the URL ‘https://slackwrdave.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/the-perfect-christmas-gift/’ If only there was some way to let everyone know my intention.)

  3. That was most enjoyable to read. I fear that my sisters Cate, Barbara and Chelsea feel somewhat the same about me as you do about your relative. I insist on badgering on on a phone instead of just getting a computer Haha shame. They don’t even talk a bout it any more. Oooooh, Im terrible Muriel !

  4. Ah yes, don’t you just love the people who say, “I just want a cellphone to talk on”, then discover they needed to do more after all? Get a mid-range model at least, damn it!
    As for computers, I’ve always had machines behind the curve, simply because most of the time I can’t afford top-of-the-line hardware. But at least I run Linux on them, adjusting the software and my usage to what the iron can take. Just seems like common sense to me!

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