So anyway, I finally wrestled my budget into allowing a better phone. I have been using a Trak phone, and really like it. It is truly the most efficient and inexpensive phone to have, especially the model I have. Big buttons. Yay. I still have it and use it for my clients when they do not have their own phone or have exhausted their minutes. It is a safe way to provide phone calls to them and not expose my own personal number. I have done that, inadvertently provided that number to the people my clients call, but that is the cost of having them use my phone. Very small cost for a huge benefit.
I tried the new family phone system at Walmart and it was a miserable failure. The coverage area and/or the service is not the same as the parent company, which is T-Mobile. For informational purposes, I will be using T-Mobile as the identifier for my service plan, even though the actual name is Walmart Family Mobile. T-Mobile is the actual server, and I know that because it was noted by the representative during one of my many telephone calls to them. More to follow.
That phone was certainly affordable, but the ability to use it inside of any structure was enough to cause more stress than I can afford to have.
That phone would not work whilst I was at work. It would not work if I was standing close to the building where I work. It worked only a very, very few times inside my apartment, a place that is a house divided into three apartments and the darn thing would not connect to their network even if I was sitting right next to a window, which is where my desk is located.
Then, it would not work whilst out on the porch and if I wanted to make a call or receive a call, I would have to stand in the driveway.
I mean, what was the point of having an expensive (to me) phone if I could not use it. What if someone broke into my home, and having barricaded myself in my bedroom, I would reach for my phone to call for help? O.K., too dramatic. But, it does nothing to lessen the frustration of trying to use this darn thing. When I bought it and the service, I tried to use it right there in Walmart and it worked.
Countless telephone calls to T-Mobile and visits to the store and no one could or would help me. Each blamed the problems on the other. It was a crappy phone, said T-Mobile. It was crappy coverage service claimed the store. If not outright lies, it was an insane circus of deniability and not only the refusal to take responsibility, no one, especially T-Mobile even tried to help me figure out what the problem was, much less entertain possible solutions.
I guess that if you do not know, or care to know, or care to help troubleshoot the problem, then there really is no need for a solution.
So, following approximately six weeks of this mess, I tried to cancel the service during my final attempt to find a solution for using this very nice phone. Turns out that you cannot just cancel the service when you want, or need, to do so. You have to wait until a certain date. If you miss that date, then you are stuck for another month of service fees. I made the date, cancelled the service and tested to see if it was actually cancelled by trying to log in to my on-line account with them.
At this point I contacted Walmart via their web site. I never heard back, but someone from T-Mobile called my new phone and left a message about settling the final bill. They could not have had my cell number unless it had been provided by Walmart, and the number on my caller ID did not identify them. No reply from Walmart, though.
The final bill did not arrive as they told me it would. I called. Got a promise/assurance/whatever they thing they are offering. No bill. I called. The representative told me that I had to pay at the Walmart near me. I went there and that person could not help me because I needed the account number. Yikes, not her fault, and another strike against T-Mobile.
I went home, contacted them again and was finally able to receive the account number. Went back to the store and paid the bill.
I was, still am, at the place where I need to have portable Internet access. Sure, it is nice to have, especially when you need to price check something at the charity shop, but I need it because I work with clients when I am not attached to a desktop. Which reminds me that the data plan is a joke, as connecting was never easy. Whatever.
So, several hundred dollars later, I defaulted and went back to the carrier I had when I still had money, as in disposable income. I was so happy to be there, back with the familiar, that I must have zoned or had a fucking stroke or something because I did not ask any of the right questions and ended up with a limited data plan. Ohhh. Ahhh. Groan. Head bashing. Thud.
I am the dumbest person on the planet. Totally.
I went over my data plan and have extra fees. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I have it straightened out and I will stay within the plan limits for two freaking years! Two years of watching carefully and avoiding extra fees.
I deserve this. I am a bad consumer. I let happiness and the thrill of returning to that old carrier that I was the dumbest consumer that ever there was. It feels like an old fashion fairy tale, one of those cautionary tales about not offending the person with the hair horns, eating unwashed fruit or being too nosy about the locked room you were told to stay the hell out of or nibbling on a house that is not mine, and thinking you can avoid consequences with the excuse of simply not knowing any better. Like that.
I have two years to remind myself to pay better attention to my life. I have a monthly opportunity to take a moment and consider how I am going to manage my money and my time and where my energy deserves to be spent.
Two years of accepting that I am just an ordinary person, that I will go on to make more and better mistakes and missteps, that every moment is a chance to learn something about my own self and the nature of other people who may not, will not, have my best interest at heart and that I can be that ordinary person who is simply doing her best. That is me, the doing my best babe.
But, really? Two years stuck in a mistake. I thought I was over that sort of thing.