Be at last .. The Tale of the Giant Stone Eater ..
Hear this the tale of the giant stone eater
Gather round boys and girls and listen
To the tale of the giant stone eater
and how the earth was ravaged
during the years of the great stone shortage…
– The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
(this post isn’t about stone shortages, it’s about my cell phone service .. feel free to get a cup of coffee, or brew some tea… take your shoes off and rest awhile!)
Background – Summary Recap
On November 10, 2008, I renegotiated all my telephone and communication needs, and gave up my home “lan” line, transferred the number to my cell phone, and have been using this ever since. At the time, last November, the mobility company wouldn’t renegotiate my contract, and suggested that I just come back in six months or so – after May 2009 – as, my existing contract never expired until November 2009!
If you recall from my November post, the “negotiated” monthly cost for the two cell phones I have under the buddy plan (one for myself and one for my wife), was to be about $50 in total. Truth be told, November and December 2008 and even January 2009 came in about that price – plus $8.95 activation fees and taxes and really cost about $66.00 per month.
Then .. February 2009 came along – “T4 Season”.
Halfway through the “T4” season which, is in February each year for me , I am doing a lot of client wage slip preparation and filing to Canada Revenue Agency. I am in contact with many clients, and Canada Revenue Agency and I contacted my cell phone company to inquire what my current plan was, and how many minutes I had used on my plan for the first 15 days of February … I had used 292 minutes of a 300 minute plan on the February 10th cut-off *whew*. I knew I had to do something, because there was still the remainder of February .. then comes “Tax Season” which, can basically be anywhere from March 1st to June 15th for me.
I did a minor ‘minute-adjustment’ on my combined cell phone plan on February 15th, and upgraded the plan to 700 minutes per month, for something like $80.00 per month. You see, if you have ever tried to contact Canada Revenue Agency (1-800-959-8281) you can be left on hold for a long while! Without a home LAN line anymore, everytime I would call (during the day that is) is billable time. I was allowed to talk to other people who also had cell phone service from the same service as I did (MTS Mobility Inc) for free.
Yet – in March I used about 400 minutes; in April I used about 800 minutes; in May I used about 700 minutes; and June I used about 500 minutes. For July and August, it seems that I’ve been averaging less than 300 minutes per month. My Cell Phone bills have been averaging around $130.00 with taxes.
And Then It Started
In April 2009, during the middle of my tax season .. being the super busy accountant and income tax preparer that I am .. one of my super duper techniques in keeping my two Papillons engaged while I was working .. was giving them these rawhide “chip bones”. Well, our little Sophie would always prevail and since what’s hers is hers, and what’s his is hers, and what’s ours is hers …. poor Maxxie never really had any “chip bones!”.
Well, one morning, after working most of the night, I went to sleep and placed my Samsung phone on my night table. I keep the ringer on maximum levels, in case I forget and leave my cell phone in my jacket pocket, and also have it on vibrate mode, in case I’m out and about as I keep the cell phone in my left pants pocket. I must have had many phone messages that morning, because my cell phone vibrated off the night table, and on the floor .. and now Maxxie had his own personal “Chip Bone”!
UGH // he chewed the whole cell phone, chipped the glass edges with his teeth, chewed off the back and bent it all up, almost chewed through the battery itself .. and there are permanent bite marks on my #3 #6 and #9 keypad!!
“Just two more months” … I kept saying. I couldn’t wait to upgrade! But, I didn’t upgrade. Instead, I bent the back and forced the battery into the phone, and vacuumed all of the glass bits out of its edges – and, the phone worked fine once again. When summer came – (oh wait, we had crappy weather here and never actually HAD summer here in Manitoba) – time passed quickly and I did nothing.
DISASTER: Saturday August 15, 2009
It’s been pouring rain for days now, and we went to visit my father-in-law in the nursing home. I ended up being parked about 1/4 mile away and pretty much did the 100 meter dash and still got soaked. It was a pleasant visit, but when I was leaving, I went to my pocket to check my messages .. and .. my cell phone was not in my pocket anymore.
Fortunately for me, someone turned in my phone – they were walking briskly behind me, while I was dashing inside, and noticed my cell phone fall out of my pocket and into the ditch filled with water. They bravely scooped it up and left it at the front reception desk.
But, the phone didn’t fare too well .. with the bent up back and broken glass pieces, that is. It took a day before I knew if it would work at all .. and, then the display had this warpie “lucy in the sky with diamonds” type of psychodelic look to it. The ringer did not work, although vibrate did. The back And, if I phoned out and talked to somebody, it was a waterlogged and intermittent sound. As far as I was concerned .. I had no cell phone.
It’s Time To Upgrade!
Oh Boy .. Sunday night and I’m excited … and my wife is even excited. It would seem that she is as bored of her phone as I was .. and it’s about time to renegotiate, being August and all. But, what do you get? What do I need? What do I want?
I called Customer Loyalty first thing Monday Morning and started the negotiation request and research plans and phones. I had a few things on my plate that I needed to flush out first, but if I did my homework, I could go out on Tuesday and pick up a couple of phones.
But, that wouldn’t work. Picking out the phones is half the fun! My wife wanted in. And, we’re going Thursday. So, I agreed to that and we did renegotiate and upgraded our cell phone service last night.
Meet My Wife’s New Phone – LG RUMOUR
* Full QWERTY Keyboard
* 1.3 megapixel camera and video recorder
* Integrated music player
* Bluetooth® profiles: HF, HS, FTP, DUN, OPP and BPP
* Mobile Web
* Downloadable ringers and screensavers
* MicroSD expandable memory (up to 4GB)
Meet HART’s New Phone – BLACKBERRY PEARL 8230 FLIP
* SureType® QWERTY keyboard
* Supports multiple email accounts
* Instant, text, picture and PIN-to-PIN messaging capabilities
* 2.0 Megapixel Camera with flash and digital zoom
* Video Recorder
* High resolution 240 x 320 pixel colour internal display and 128 x 160 pixel colour external display
* HTML web browsing
* Tethered data capabilities
* Media player
* 3.5mm stereo headset capable
* Bluetooth® 2.0 including the following profiles – Mono/Stereo Headset, Handsfree, Serial Port Profile and Stereo Headset (A2DP)
* Supports microSD™ expandable memory (1GB memory card pre-inserted)
* Includes Desktop Software that allows user to synchronize calendar, address book, tasks and memos between smartphone and desktop
* Password protection, keyboard lock and sleep mode
What This Cost Me Today
COST OF PHONES
– We signed up for 36 month contract, until August 2012 ..
– The LG Rumor phone cost $29.99
– The Blackberry 8230 Pearl Flip cost $49.99
CREDITS ON RENEGOTIATION
– I received a $35 credit renewal fee
– I received a $40 credit for hardware upgrade
ACCESSORIES PURCHASED WITH PHONES
– I upgraded the LG Rumour with a microSD™ expandable 2GB memory card
– I bought a special plastic to protect the glass on the Blackberry Flip Pearl 8230
KEEP IN MIND
– I use my phone all the time for my offline business, and casual usage
– My wife just uses her phone for casual usage, including text messaging
– $34.95 All access business plan – anybody in Manitoba (home/lan line, cell phone line) with MTS is for free, 300 minutes (I think I’ll be okay with this)
– $25.00 surf and turf/text plan – unlimited browsing, 100 free outgoing text messages
– yada yada yada activation fees, same value plus features for call display, voice mail, etc
>> Probably will cost me about $90 or so with taxes each month on my plan. I do have the option to upgrade $25 for 250 more minutes next tax season otherwise it’s $0.50 for overage minutes, but I think that now that my plan includes calls from people with HOME PHONES that are MTS too, I won’t need that.
– $9.95 buddy plan
– $10.00 text messaging, 100 outgoing unlimited incoming
– yada yada activation fee and value plus features
>> Probably will cost me about $33 or so with taxes each month.
AM I BETTER OFF?
1) My wife is happy with her new cell phone tremendously!
2) I am happy with my new cell phone!
3) I am paying about $120-$130 now anyway for our phones – and, that didn’t have data internet browsing on my phone – I think I will use the browser alot! Well, maybe not a lot – but, when I use it … it will be for a reason. Also, I can manage my contacts via my own USB port and can upload mp3s or pictures for screensavers etc on the 1GB microSD flash card.
In conclusion, I don’t think I’m really saving anything at all .. and now we’re locked into another contract for 3 years .. but, I think this is all we need for our telecommunication needs .. (and we have new phones to boot!)
I should note, that we were very grateful that the cell phone rep was able to magically transfer all of our contacts on our old Samsung phones to our LG Rumour and Blackberry Pearl Flip phones respectively .. I have about 275 contacts with multiple phone numbers alone .. *whew* .. He certainly never offered this service, but it just goes to show that it always pays to ask!