They say bad luck comes in threes. True to form, I was just struck: First, I got a piece of glass stuck in my foot — ouch and yes, expensive! Next I got food poisoning — ouch and yes, expensive. Lastly, I got a crummy phone — ouch and yes, expensive. The first two, unavoidable — but the third, avoidable.
You see, my left-brained, budget-conscious, super-savvy husband Russell decided recently that we needed to upgrade our phones and phone service. Like every other American, he wanted more for less and he wanted it quick! Our contract expired with a nationwide company, so he changed to another one and then bought us two smart phones through them. (I’m not bothering to capitalize smart, because it doesn’t deserve that much respect and it’s not smart, it’s dumb.) Sadly, Russell wouldn’t dream of buying a Droid, an i-Phone or a Blackberry. No, he had to buy an UNsmart phone online. We even researched this phone, but I now believe that the handful of 5-star ratings was posted by the handful of company’s employees who put this piece of trash together.
There are so many things wrong with this phone I don’t know where to start. In fact, there was nothing wrong with my last phone, except that the new carrier demanded we buy a phone from them. Argh! It’s a racket! Hard to believe, but I, Ann Ipock, care nothing about texting, e-mailing, Googling or using apps on my cell phone — desktop and laptop, yes; but cellphone, no.
I still can’t believe it takes about nine steps to do what it took one step on the old phone. It reminds me of when e-mail first began in the late 80s at my job and I had to do SIXTEEN steps (for real!) and I’ll never forget my first password: youknow. Useless trivia, but still. And, this UNsmart phone stays on lock. To unlock it, I have to hit two buttons fast but not too fast, NOT at the same time, and with two different hands. Don’t ask.
It’s not touch screen and the buttons are so tiny. No one over the age of 3 has fingers that small! And to add insult to injury, the numbers are in the middle of the QWERT screen, angled and in light gray, in such a manner that you are GUARANTEED to not be able to see them. Nooooo! Can you hear me wailing? Why, oh, why?
But that’s not all. In two weeks time, I still HAVE NOT found a vibrate button, clear button or speaker phone. There are, however, several odd symbols that mean nothing to me — I think they might be cave drawings, but I’m not sure.
Enter “Parade”, where on the final page (back cover), I saw an ad for the Jitterbug Cell Phone. I LOVE the over-sized buttons, the lit-up large, time-and-date screen on the outside, the smooth, round shape, and color choice of red! And guess what: It comes with a dial tone!!! Woo-hoo! Don’t ask me why, but that alone is worth switching. There is something so reassuring about starting out a call with a real DIAL TONE! One objection: the fine print listed only a 50 or 100-minute plan.
So I called the toll free number today. Brenda answered, “first STREET”, also listed on the ad with a footnote of “for Boomers and Beyond.” (Beyond WHAT, I wondered!) She was as Southern and friendly as Paula Deen (though she sounded healthier.) Before I could say “fried chicken” she’d wrangled my name and phone number from me. “Ann,” she said pleasantly, “you are just the perfect customer we need here at Jitterbug!” She had me at “perfect.” I did the hair-flip and I was putty in her hands: She continued. “The Jitterbug’s numbers are large and readable with bright background lights and the speaker phone has the highest volume of all phones.” And y’all, guess who is the provider for this phone? That “V” company that we just changed from! Sounding good! Reading my mind, she said, “No contract is necessary.” However, I almost dropped the phone when she said, “Here are the three questions to ask yourself: ‘Do you like it? Can you afford it? Do you need it?’” Dang! She was channeling Russell! He recites this mantra almost daily.
In summary: the Jitterbug costs $99 (marked down from $147!) and has a text message bundle of $5 for 300 text messages. And it turns out Brenda had JUST THE PLAN for me: $39.99 for 400 minutes (free minutes for nights and weekends). Nice! At this point, I was ready to seal the deal!
But I was curious about something. I had to ask Brenda what else first STREET sells. She said they cater to seniors and also sell balance spectrum lamps and toilet lifts. I was speechless. Yep, it’s true: the Jitterbug might be a fast dance, but this company is taking care of us seniors as we ssssllooooooooooowwww down. I kind of like that.
I do still wonder who exactly is “beyond” from “Boomers and Beyond” is? When I get my Jitterbug, I might call Brenda back and ask her!