16 September 2007

Choosing a new cell phone - who says its easy

Cell phone upgrade time again. Oh what torture.

Sue and I always seem to get attached to our phones and then delay the renewal of our contracts. Our renewal dates were about a year apart, a while back but this year we went in together.

Contrast the two of us.

I spend two weeks researching phones, I want to know about internet connectivity, what features does it have – useful and useless, colours, contract options and prices. I eventually narrowed my search down to the Nokia N95. I like the idea of a phone with a GPS – I am a true blue male who hates asking directions and likes big boy’s toys.
But then the price? Is it worth an extra R110 per month? I then agonize for hours over this problem and eventually decide my ego is not worth it. Ok, the N80 will do.

Sue on the other hand says, “I like my phone. I just want one that is simple and that I can make calls with. Nothing fancy”.

In we go. Oh the cell phone world is so wicked! My resistance starts to crumble, so much technology, so many gadgets and so much temptation.

I start vacillating between the N80 and the N95 again. The wait in the queue was just long enough to bring me back to my senses.

Sue was still intent on getting the same phone again.

Reality check! This is cell phone world – evolution, or is it engineered obsolescence that dictates what you take or what you get.

“I’ll take an N80”, I say, “A silver one.”

“Sorry we only have black”, comes the reply.

“I am so disappointed” I say. They never seem to have the colour I want.

“Don’t be so difficult”, says Sue. Always the reasonable one.

“But I like silver”.

“What’s the problem? Your camera is black”.

“Yes, I like black camera’s and silver phones”, comes my reply with all the sincerity I can muster.

“Let me check the stock”, says the salesman thumping away at the key board. “Sorry, we have no stock.

“Now, I am really disappointed”, I say hamming it up. Maybe I am meant to have the N95 I think.

“Don’t worry” he says, “I will call one of the retail outlets”.

A few phone calls later and the announcement is made. “It is the end of the range there are none in stock”.

“Ok”, I reply “I will stick with what I have got”.

He now turns his attention to Sue. A quick discussion on packages and she stays with the one she has.

Her old phone is now obsolete. The ever helpful young man assures her that he has just the phone for her. The Nokia E65, She will have to pay in R119 once off, but it will be worth it. Off he goes, returns with a dummy slide phone and explains it is a mocha colour.

Sue is won over and pays the extra.

While he is checking the phone from the box he looks up and says with great conviction and sincerity, “I love to see a woman using a slide phone”. At the same time opening and closing the phone with a slick one handed motion. “It is so useful when you are doing the dishes or the laundry”.

Sue smiles and I guffaw.

This is the woman who responded to a meme question, “What is your favourite kitchen appliance?” with the answer, “The dustbin, when I throw away the take-away packaging”. And laundry – he reminded us to get ours from the Laundromat on the way home.

By now I can’t stand it anymore. I can’t go home without a new 'toy'. "What phone do you recommend?” I ask with a note of desperation.

“Without hesitation he says, “The N70 Music Edition”.

I need that one like I need a hole in the head, I think.

But being the ever the reasonable man, I start with the questions. You see, it was the one phone I did not check out. A quick run down on the spec’s revealed: connectivity ok; it has two cameras - one for video conferencing; a 1 GB memory card – even better; and I can load a lot of music onto it – not that I ever listen to music on my cell phone; no GPS – ok I can live without that; price – cheaper than what I am paying on the same package. Perfect - just the right mix of useful and useless features.

“Sounds good”, I say. “Give me a silver one”.

“Sorry we only have black in stock.”

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