Buying a New Phone

 

The battery went bad on the cordless phone I paid $19.95 for about three years ago so I stopped by Best Buy for a new battery, finally figured out which one it was out of a selection of perhaps fifty of them and the price was $19.95, the same as what I paid for the phone. Think we don't live in a throw-away world...

Crass consumerism took over as I wandered the long line of phones. The first phone I can remember was an oak box hanging on the wall with a crank to call the operator who you gave the name of the person you wanted (I don't think Stinnett [Texas] even had numbers). Anyway, I digress.... They had one phone on sale for 99 cents after the mail-in rebate. I should have bought it and used the battery in my old phone but I'm sure it wouldn't fit. Why can't the electronic world be designed around AA batteries?

My eyes glazed over as I read the boxes trying to figure out which one to buy, finally settling on one with two handsets, a "message center" which is Madison Avenue hype for "answering machine" and caller ID so I can avoid answering calls from people wanting to clean my carpet or sell me vinyl siding. It's also supposed to have a range up to half a mile which probably means to the end of the driveway.

The price was $59.95 which, considering that it requires three batteries each costing $19.95, was simply a way of selling me three batteries and getting the phone with caller ID, message center and two handsets free.

I took it home and plugged it in, only to see the message, "Must be Programmed." So I got out the instruction book about the size of a Reader's Digest and started looking for how to program the thing. Well, to make a long story short (Oops, too late for that.) I've installed five new programs on my computer with less punching, pressing and clicking than it took to get the phone working. I even had to choose my ring tone from a selection of fifty of them. After Beep Beep, Beep Boop, Bediup Bediup, Deedle Deedle and Brrip Brrip, it came to famous tunes. I chose "Yellow Rose of Texas" which is the ring tone on my cell phone and reminds me of my roots.

Can you hear me now?


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Copyright 2005 by Jim Foreman