Doctor Eclectic

Doctor Eclectic
Doctor Eclectic

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Land Lines

As I watch the current television ads for the various mobile carriers I find significant differences from ads only a few months ago.  Gone are familiar terms like: contracts, limits on minutes, free long-distance and phone features, replaced by “Framily” and family-plans, unlimited text, and automatic model upgrades.

Which explains why I found myself convincing Mary that she needed to accompany me to the AT&T store to change her carrier to come under the newly unfolded umbrella that Tim and I contracted for a few weeks ago.  The goal was to have one monthly bill for less than the four I had been paying before.

The secondary goal was for me to have a phone for Mary that was charged and in her car instead of in her bedside table, since she recently had three occasions when it would have saved us both aggravation had it been at her disposal and had she felt comfortable using it.

Her previous phone was a hand-me-down from me, or more accurately the replacement of an analog phone I had when I was working in the corporate world.  Her service was a “lifeline” contract that allowed her three calls a month, enough for someone who only used it on the rare occasions where she was travelling out of state by herself, in other words about three times in as many years.

I saw a recent statistic that claimed 40% of the American population now has no landline, which explains why I am now getting solicitation calls on my cellphone when the caller has no idea where I actually am (unless they are tracking my GPS).  At least one of those was fraudulent, (786-607-9000) informing me that I had been issued a government grant for $7,000, which I could use for any purpose I desired and did not have to repay (check Snopes: Government Grants Fraud).  Seemingly my “Do Not Call” registration is ineffective.  As is trying to return the identifiable Caller ID number, which either rings forever, rings to a disconnected number, r in some cases gives me a message that there is no such number.

I recently heard an FBI Agent discuss Fraud, albeit Dental Fraud, and asked him what could be done about such solicitations and he answered, “Not much!”

A local politician, apparently attempting to gain support from local Senior Citizens, held a Town Hall Forum on Senior Fraud that I unfortunately was not in town to attend.  Whether that degree of interest will translate into legislation is, in my mind unlikely, at least at the national level.

Today, Tim, Sean and I all have smart phones and Mary has a phone that, while not smart, has loud volume and large numbers as well as voice activation, so most of the barriers to her using it are now gone.

Let me close with  a smart phone true story that was quite humorous:

Mary and I were dining the other evening and I noticed our Server’s badge.  Her name appeared to be “Jaime”.  I asked her if that were her real name and she said, “Yes”. I then asked her how she felt about her name and she said she only had one problem, and that was because her last name was Gonzalez.  It turns out that you can program Siri to recognize you and actually call you by name. When she programmed Siri and asks, “Who am I?” Siri responds, “You’re Jaimie (JayMe) Gonzalez, but because we’re friends I’ll call you Jaimie (HighMe).  How do you terminate your friendship with Siri?  Does she have a Facebook account?

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the conclave called Vatican II.  In my next post I’ll share some personal experiences surrounding that monumental occasion.  I hope you will join me.

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