Sunday, May 25, 2014

I hate frustration, but sometimes...

Sometimes coming out the other end without having smashed your phone to bits against a hard rock is such a great feeling.

I went to my best friend's wedding, and somewhere on the first day I was there, I lost my phone. It wasn't insured because a) I couldn't afford any extra costs, and b) I've had phones for 11 years and never lost or broke one. I spent the rest of the trip feeling like I was missing some third arm I didn't really think about ever having until it was gone.

A few days after I got home, I got the announcement that someone had found my phone--Yay Find My Phone! I gave them my mom's number, and they were cagey about whether they'd get a reward, but they said they'd send it back, and we agreed to repay whatever it cost them to send it. I told said bestie that someone had found my phone, and he called my number and told them that he would be back in town in a few days and he could just pick it up for them, saving them any shipping costs at all.

And that's when that person, whoever he was, decided to be a jerk about it. He wanted $500 to turn over the phone.

I'm like, Dude, if I had $500 I could just get a new phone. For that, in fact, I could get the highest-capacity, newest version of the phone I lost. Do you think I'd have one three editions out-dated, with the lowest capacity HDD if I could just throw around half a thousand dollars like that?

And now my phone is dead, so I can't track it, and I don't know if he mailed it or not. But I also can't be without a phone while I wait to see, what with the caregiving of children who like to get into dangerous situations, and the modern world entirely lacking payphones and landlines, but not yet having any sort of Star Trek ubiquitous computing.

I went to the Sprint kiosk where my mom originally set up the plan we're all on, because they said she had an upgrade, and she wanted to talk to the person who called her. Nope, not an upgrade, one of those new things where they call it an upgrade, but really they're just not making you pay for the whole thing right now. Except, the downpayment was five times the tiny bit I had to spend, and we can't afford to add more to the cost of the already annoyingly expensive* plan. They sent me to the stand-alone store to see if they had temp phones I could get.

The stand-alone store did not sell temp, refurbished, or otherwise cheap phones. The guy there spent half and hour or forty-five minutes crunching numbers and trying every trick he knew, and could not find a way to get me a new phone without changing our whole four-person plan, and probably also making it more expensive.

So my brother says I can use his old phone, which he replaced because it doesn't hold a charge very well. I said, okay, because at least it's a phone, and it's not a flip-phone, so maybe I can use it for Etsy and Instagram and all the other non-phone stuff that is most of what I use my phone for.

So we called the number the guy at the second store gave us, and they said they don't do phone activation live anymore. A) dumb, what if we didn't have a computer? and B) maybe they should tell that to their dudes in the stores so they won't tell customers to call.

Can you feel the frustration mounting?

So I go online. I have to make an online account, because my mom has never had a computer and never set up an online account. I finally get in, and it won't load the list of lines to let me pick my own and get to the part where I actually activate the phone. Three times. Until I find a link somewhere else and go that way. Auto-activation doesn't work. Manual activation doesn't work, twice.

Finally, I get someone on the chat help-line. They give me new numbers to go through, and talked me out of throwing everything down a well and moving to the antarctic.

And it works.

And the frustration evaporates, leaving me feeling annoyed, but also a little silly, like I've been overreacting.

I'm still not pleased with how little the shop-guys could actually do, or now the system is set up, or how slow and useless the website is, but I'm so happy to just have a phone again, to not have to worry about it while I'm supposed to be a responsible adult, that, for now, I can let that go.

I can just be happy about the relief.

And that feels really good.

*I'm researching where I can get a much cheaper plan when my two years are up, because this family plan is stupid-expensive and goes against my ideals, my finances, and my willingness to hand over money for things I can get cheaper elsewhere.
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