After my voice lesson today I swung by the South Shore Mall -- I needed to return a couple of shirts and wanted to buy a couple more. While I was there, I figured I'd call bitty and bubblebabble to see if they wanted to do anything, since I was in their neck of the woods. They weren't home, so I left a message and proceeded to shop.
While I was paying for my goods, my phone buzzed to let me know I had voicemail. I am sick and tired of my calls going straight to voicemail, so I decided to march directly to the Verizon store and buy a new phone. I walked into the store and asked, "What is your top-of-the-line phone?"
That was a mistake. The salesman proceeded to show me phones that had downloadable ringtones, video games (like Tiger Woods Golf, which he made a point of showing off), screensavers...all the while assuring me that these were the best phones. It never occurred to me that the current market's definition of "best" phone is that which has the most ringtones, coolest video games, full-color displays, funky screensavers, etc. Whatever happened to using a phone as a phone?
So, now I have Tiger Woods Golf, but I can't make a phone call without the call cutting out several times. I actually took the phone back after dinner with bitty and bubblebabble; the Verizon people inspected it, reprogrammed it, but couldn't find anything wrong with it. I left the store, thinking they'd fixed the problem when they reprogrammed the phone, only to find I still couldn't complete a call.
When I got home and fiddled with the phone for a little bit, I figured out the problem. My old phone is the Motorola StarTAC. Great phone until it finally gave out! It is a flip phone, but the phone has to be almost completely closed before it will disconnect your call. This new phone is the LG VX4400, which is also a flip phone. The slightest jiggle of the phone will make it think you are hanging up. I did end up having two long phone conversations tonight -- one with my sister and another with my friend Ndiege -- but this was only accomplished by pressing the phone hard against my ear so it wouldn't jiggle, and even so I still hung up on Indy once and on Cathy about 5 or 6 times.
I am going to return the new phone tomorrow. I will explain to them that I couldn't care less about ringtones, video games, photo phones (that's why I have a digital camera...those camera phones have shitty resolution anyway), web-enabled phones (again, this is why I have a wireless laptop), screensavers, backgrounds, etc. This phone is my only phone, in addition to being my business phone. I need to be able to receive phone calls reliably, with a strong signal and without the fear of hanging up on clients or missing important calls. I will explain that I am willing to spend money to get what I need out of a phone, but that my money better ensure that I satisfy my phoning needs, not simply pay for gimmicks. And I will buy a brand that I've heard of and trust. No more LG or whatever: I will most likely buy a Motorola.
 The surest sign that I am becoming old: I was excited about my purchases at Filene's today. What did I buy? Boxers and socks.