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Archive for August 30th, 2008

Change is Inevitable, Simple is Great

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

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.

phonesfront.jpg

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!)