Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cell Phones...Ya gotta love'em.

I have a cell phone. I have had a Tracfone for over 10 years. This is the company who has no contract, and you add minutes in increments of 60, which also adds months of service.
For a long time, I was successful at keeping my Tracfone active. Recently, though, it has become harder and harder to activate new minute cards. The last time I bought one, Prof was on the phone over an hour to get the job done. I had already tried and became frustrated. It was mostly because I could not understand the person on the other end of the line. When Prof finally got a "real" person, she asked him where he was; he was in Pakistan! We found out that my phone was so old that it was not possible to enter the minutes on the phone anymore, so we would always have to go through the hassle of calling (Pakistan) to get minutes added!! They suggested that it would be a lot easier if I had a newer model Tracfone.
So off to Walmart I went. I bought a new "flip phone" that is much easier to use, and to carry. It came with a car charger, and a headset, plus as long as I own this phone, when ever I add minutes, it doubles them. Good deal, right?
Today it was time to add air time. I bought a 60 minute airtime card. I bought it at our local CVS. I came home, sat down and following the instructions, attempted to add the airtime on my phone. The *pin* number under the scratch-off label came up invalid, and said to "please try again." I tried again, still the same routine. So, I called the toll-free number on the back of the airtime card and after pressing 1 for English, and so on, I got a real person. "Stacie" tried to be helpful. She really did. (And I could understand her.) I explained my situation. She put me on hold for a few minutes while she talked to her supervisor. When she came back on, she told me that I needed to take my card back to CVS and have them re-scan it. So, back out into the cold and snow.
Upon arriving at CVS, I talked to Karl, the clerk, about my problem. He said he also had a Tracfone but never had any problems with it. Usually the minutes were added immediately. He called the manager of the store. I once again explained my problem to her. She said she couldn't re-scan it without a purchase, BUT, she picked up the phone and called the toll-free number on my card. She got a real person, too. She told them that her customer had purchased the card approximately an hour earlier, but could not seem to add the minutes, and that she didn't understand why that customer had to bring it back to the store once again. Whoever she had on the other end wanted to speak to me. (It wasn't Stacie) He took me through the routine again. I kept telling him I could not hear him very well, and he must have "clicked" something on his phone, because, suddenly he was as clear as a bell. However, I think I was talking to Pakistan again! After taking my cell phone number and hitting a few buttons on his computer, he said I should be in business within the hour. I thanked him and hung up. I thanked Karl, and the store manager and headed for home.
Guess what!! By the time I drove the 7 blocks home, parked the car in the garage, and got in the house, I had 120 new minutes and 90 days of airtime on my Tracfone.
I don't have to go through this again until March sometime. Better luck then.



Mellodee said...

I too have a cell phone relic! My is 12 years old. I have some sort of arrangement with Sprint where I can call and I get a bill and I don't ever have to worry about running out of minutes. Still I miss the days when you picked up a receiver, dialed a number, and got connected, talked as long as you wanted, never got disconnected, never lost the signal, could find a phone whenever you needed one, put a dime in a pay phone, and the phone man came to my house, inside, to install, repair, or replace my phone as needed.

Or did I dream that?

Curley said...

Ok, since I am cell-phone stupid, does that mean since you got a new phone, that you also have a new phone number?

Jimmie Earl said...

Mellodee: Ah the "good ole' days." We had a phone that you had to turn a crank on a box mounted to the wall. Then the operator came on and said "number, please." Imagine that! Then we updated to dial! We thought we were really living!!

Curley: No, same number same phone! Just added more air time and minutes. Never fear, if that ever changes, I will let you know!

Anonymous said...

Remember, your grandmother had a crank phone, too. Her number was a long crank and two short cranks, a party line where everyone could hear the conversation. Now that was "direct dialing"!

Jimmie Earl said...

Hey Anon: That takes me WAY back. Didn't that phone hang on the north wall of the middle room between the window and the corner? I don't think Grandma B ever got the hang of using the dial desk phone they got in later years. Were those really "good old days?" I'm not too sure.