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Change is Inevitable, Simple is Great

I am learning about myself a bit this summer. I’ve had to make some purchasing decisions. Nothing like the prospect of letting go of hard-to-get cash, to really think hard about what I value most.

As I make choices this year, I’m remembering that many things I’ve loved owning over the years, were single-purpose, no-frills items. I often called my 1985 VW Golf “a driving appliance.” She (I named her Martha G.) had an FM radio, not a cassette, no cruise, and for at least 10 years it did not have air conditioning.

She was totally dependable, never stopped on the side of the road for her first 13 years. Got 35mpg for 10-11 years. Put about 250,000 miles on the odometer. Never, ever let me down in a timeframe that would have beat up most fancier vehicles. That is just one example of a plain-jane thing that I absolutely loved the whole time I had it.

phoneowie.jpgThe purchase I had to make most recently, was to replace my only-one-year-old cell phone. Two weeks ago, Rae and I went to Allegan for Michigan Fiber Festival. We went to dinner and I dropped my cell phone in the parking lot. A customer found it the next day but not before someone had stepped on the inside screen and rendered it unuseable.

Fortunately, the restaurant called me (thanks to the address label with PO Box and email addy I had put on the back) and they sent me back my phone. I was able to have my phone numbers transferred to a new phone by Verizon when I got the new one. So even though I could not use the phone if I needed to see the screen, it was alive enough to give me my phone numbers. I’m very grateful.

But which new phone did I get? I could have replaced it with the same model. There would be no learning curve for the replacement, I guess, but I never liked it.

That phone had a camera (I used it a few times but never took the pictures off the phone in a full year). It had an MP3 player (never even considered using it). I believe I could have downloaded games and music to that phone, nothing I wanted.

It had an awful voice recognition system (new technology but bad implementation), so bad that I gave up and went back to speed dial numbers. I had liked the older-style voice recognition I had used on my previous phone. And maybe most irritating, the “down” button was too close to the button below it and caused entry errors too often.

What did I like about the LG? The color. It’s the silver-purple of my first VAIO laptop. That is not enough for me.

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If I could get another phone like the Nokia I replaced last year, I would do it in a heartbeat. Its battery was good, I dropped it more often than I like to admit without a problem. I loved the voice dialing, and it did not weigh that much for all the goodness in it.

In the end I woke up and thought, hey, I’ll get something different than this un-loveable LG. I did some comparison shopping online and determined that there are not many phones on the market that are universally loved.

I decided to get the simplest one possible. At least people reviewing it who said they wanted a basic phone and nothing else, loved it for its simplicity and long battery life. Of course, they did not carry that one at the Verizon store… so I had to order it online.

Now, there are also some very scathing reviews of the phone I chose, online. These reviewers are dumbfounded that there is no camera, MP3 player, and that the styling is plain (I call it clean lines). They hate the antenna (which does help with call clarity if you ask me).

One person said it looked like 1999 (my phone in 1999 was heavy and big, just smaller than the handset of a home phone). Another said 2004 or so. My 2004 phone I still love better than any I’ve ever had, but the buttons wore out last year after pushing them so many times. I just need a phone, not an entertainment center!

phonesback.jpg

The phone I got, which I had to order online and have mailed to me, turns out to be just exactly my cup of tea. It is a phone. Just a phone. No camera. No music. No games.

It has clean lines, not fat and chunky like the “cool” LG I just let go of. It does have an alarm clock which I do use. It has speed dial. And the battery lasted more than a week from one charge, even with 65 talk minutes. I’m sold.

Simple can be best. I’m starting to understand myself more now.

Disclaimer: Someone out there surely has the LG phone I’m talking about, and loves it. I’m sure of it. But this story is about me, and how I am still learning about what I am like at 49 years of age. I’m really happy for anyone who likes what they purchased, believe me!

Photos: My ’85 Golf, whose name was Martha G., in the only photo I can find of her right now; broken LG. My most recent 3 phones: a Nokia I still love, an LG I never bonded with, and the cheapest phone Verizon offers on their website, with their own label on it. The Nokia and LG were decorated with fabric paint in case I needed to remove it for warranty work, it scrapes off with a fingernail but stays on for years. The Verizon has stickers instead, I guess it was faster. If your phone is decorated and someone walks off with it, it’s pretty clear the phone isn’t theirs, you know?

(I totally recommend putting an address sticker with email address or home phone number on your phone, by the way… I put one on my keychain, too. PO Box address, not street address… and a cell phone number can get your keys back in a jiffy. I have experienced this personally. I’d guess a cell phone number on the cell phone would be of limited use, however!)

4 Responses to “Change is Inevitable, Simple is Great”

  1. Jane Says:

    I would personally only put a ‘phone number on my keys/phone, because if someone has your whole address, what’s to stop them breaking in? Also I would have blanked out the address in the ‘phone photo – it’s legible! Just my ha’pennorth! :)

    We have a loyalty scheme with a major supermarket here, and they provide keytags – if your keys are lost, they can be returned to you via the supermarket. Even safer!

  2. LynnH Says:

    I put my PO Box on the labels, not my house address. I am a pretty private person about where I live. Not that someone couldn’t figure it out if they really tried, but I just don’t use it and the address is not listed in the phone book, either.

    I have a Kroger keytag as well. But once I lost my keys at an art fair. Someone found them, took them to the info tent, and the info tent called my cell phone (I had added that number to the address label) to tell me they had my keys. Much faster than waiting for Kroger to send them a week later.

    What I do, has worked for me, but you are right on the street address thing. I just don’t use mine. In fact, when I have to make out legal paperwork with my street address I have to stop and make sure I remember the numbers right! And I’ve lived here 11 years. Even the IRS has my PO box.

  3. Howlin' Hobbit Says:

    “I just need a phone, not an entertainment center!”

    Whoa, I hear that!

    I spend a lot — ok, probably too much — time on the ukuleleunderground.com forums. Let’s just say that I’m well above the median age there.

    In their “general chat” area there was a thread on cell phones they had either bought or wanted. They were talking about phones that cost *hundreds* of dollars.

    Hundreds of dollars?

    Say what?

    My current phone cost me a little over $16 after taxes. I don’t need one that plays games or music or does my taxes or my dishes or gives me some sort of erotic fulfillment. I don’t need to be hipper than thou.

    I need a phone that makes and receives calls, does voice mail and, I admit, text messaging.

    *Hundreds* of dollars for a cell phone?

    Geez.

  4. AlisonH Says:

    I plead guilty on the cell phone: I got the perfect one for a deaf person. The Hiptop was the first to do email, web browsing (very slowly), etc etc. It saved my sanity when I was in the hospital for ten days; it was my link to friends and the world outside my room when I was too ill to even sit up. It’s got palmpilot-type functions, and all in all, is the only electronic gizmo I ever really aspired to own.

    My hubby doesn’t get why I don’t care that I don’t have the newer fancier model of it that takes much clearer pictures. Eh.

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