Why we will continue to hoard electronic stuff

My phone died recently. On my birthday to be exact. We were driving back from Austin, TX and it died completely right after we finished making arrangements to meet a new friend for lunch. By “died” I mean it wouldn’t turn on, it would occasionally start to turn on and then just turn back off. Nothing. Talk about a bummer – a whole day in the car with no way to see who was wishing me happy birthday on Facebook, no way to get those birthday calls or messages. Bummer.

My sweet 2 1/2 year old daughter did repeatedly say “happy birthday mommy” from her car seat behind me. And while that was heart-meltingly sweet, I still felt the lack of being connected to the world.

So, while I will readily admit that if a dead phone, lost pictures, and inability to be connected to the world is my biggest problem, life is pretty good. Yet it was still a problem. Since we don’t have a home phone, I feel a definite need to have a working phone and be able to make phone calls since I have a toddler at home. You know, it’s when I have no way to communicate that she’ll fall and crack her head open and need to be rushed to the ER.

The dead phone is an HTC One S. While I really liked the cool camera on it, it took some getting used to at first. I switched from an iPhone 3GS to it. The HTC seemed much larger. It was so much wider that my hands struggled with the keyboard, I couldn’t use just one hand like I had on the iPhone. I also had a hard time at first holding it in a way that I was speaking into the microphone, so anyone I was talking to often told me they couldn’t hear me. Already I had replaced it once under the warranty because it would randomly restart. Then the power button that makes it “wake up” quit working.  That seemed to be a known issue, yet the solution from the manufacturer was to buy a new phone. Buying a new $700ish phone wasn’t going to happen, and though T-Mobile no longer has contracts, we’re still in one with them so I couldn’t just switch carriers, sign a new contract and get a better deal on a new phone. My solution was to use a “shake to turn on app” that my wonderful husband helped me find. My frustration with these hardware issues has me ready to go back to Apple when the current contact it up. Even though they continue to release new phones it seems they are a bit more invested in customer satisfaction.

To solve my dead phone issue we gathered up some old phones from the house. We had a pre-paid T-Mobile one that we bought several (at least 4) years ago when another TMobile phone quit working for me. We also had the old iPhone that I used before the HTC. It was working when I stopped using it, except that the button to switch to silent no longer worked properly. Tuesday we went to the T-Mobile store and asked what could be done. Here’s how that conversation went:

Me: This phone seems to have died. Any chance you can make it work again?

Employee: Let’ see and he tried turning it on and the same thing happened, no magic air in the store to resurrect the phone. He said I could buy a new phone.

Me: Umm, not ready to buy, can you make this iPhone work?

Employee: Yes, if it’s unlocked.

Me: How do I unlock it?

Employee: Call AT&T and they’ll help you it can take 2 days.

Me: While I wait for that, can you make this tiny phone work?

Employee: Yes, it needs a TMobile SIM card, I’ll be right back.

The tiny phone was dead, as it had been in it’s box for a few years so he couldn’t test it. I left the store with a hopefully working once it was charged tiny phone and instructions to unlock the iPhone and the dead HTC.

Once charged the tiny phone worked. Using it reminded me of being on a Let’s Start Talking project, as we had very similar phones on projects in China, and I think Brazil and/or Panama. It even had a slot to add on a cord or piece of bling. It worked to make phone calls, no more Facebook, Twitter, email, games, map programs, contacts, etc. Just a phone. It’s amazing how accustomed I had come to have much more than a phone on my phone.

By Thursday AT&T had unlocked the iPhone and I went back to the store to get the SIM card transferred into it. It worked. It’s way slower and can’t update to the most recent operating system, so some apps won’t work,  but it works.

I’m glad to have a working phone again that allows me to do the social media thing as well as make calls, send texts, get directions/navigational assistance, and take pictures. However, I’m looking forward to getting a new phone and new carrier in December when the contract is up with T-Mobile.

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