You won't be due for an upgrade for three years.
The country might not be around that long.
After about four years, I finally had to get a new mobile phone.
I swore this would be the last phone but Google and Verizon are no dummies and they make sure they either throttle you or upgrade the operating system to the point where the battery won’t last half a day. You absolutely will not be free from making payments on an over-priced $800 handheld government tracking device flooding your mind with approved misinformation.
For over a year I’d enjoyed not paying for a device, but this is where I was at.
Thankfully, the monkeypox STD has not yet reached full-blown national proportions, and the likely mandates and lockdowns will wait until a few weeks before election day in November. I was able to walk into the Verizon store without mask, arbitrary 6-foot distancing, or a folder of my complete medical history.
“What brings you here today?” a guy at the door asked. I informed him I was here for the appointment I’d set up online, and that I need a new phone.
“I have a Pixel, so I was going to get another one,” I told him.
His face puckered up. “Oh, you don’t want that. People are having nothing but problems with the current Pixel 6.”
“Really? My last two phones were Pixels and I liked them,” I said. They were decent Google-made devices, though of course, Google is now consistently working for the devil. Perhaps there was a guardian angel in the store that day.
“Just had a guy in this morning who got the Google 6 and he can’t get it to connect to the network. We couldn’t fix the issue. That’s not uncommon.”
I sighed. Whatever. “OK, well I don’t want some giant phone the size of an iPad so what do you have that’s not too big? My current phone is 5.5 and I’d like to not get much larger than that.”
A different young fellow was assigned to me, and once I reassured him I had zero interest in Apple products, he took me over to the Samsung area.
“The Samsung S22 is probably what you’d want,” he said. “It’s the smallest one we have, similar to the Pixel you have as far as size, and it’s a good phone.”
In years past, I would religiously research my tech purchases. Monitors, laptops, tower computers, tablets, phones—I read and paid attention to speed tests and reviews and went into the act of purchasing confident of my decision.
I’d done zero research on this.
I guess, back in 2020 when Big Tech took off their “don’t be evil” mask and stapled on horns that smelled of sulfur before starting to “fact check” me out of existence, my ever-increasing loathing for technology and the companies who created it blossomed into pure apathy. I used to love new tech and devices. Now I just wanted my old brick phone which could kind of double as a weapon and probably wouldn’t cook my brain as bad as the 5G.
“Sure, that’s fine. Do you guys have cases and a speed charger and stuff?”
Oh, of course they did. Verizon ensures that you bleed money when you walk into the store. It is by no mistake that their brand color is red.
The young fellow helping me was a delight, though, and we chatted and joked through the whole process of getting the phone number moved to the new phone, putting on the screen guard, and printing out a quote on what the monthly bill would be.
Starting last month, my bill had gone up about $10. Inflation creeps into everything, despite what the White House press secretary tells us. So when I got the monthly estimate and it was only about $25 on top of that, I was surprised.
“I expected it to be higher. It usually is after a new phone.”
“Yeah, Verizon is spreading it out over three years instead of two,” he told me. “The big numbers are scaring people.”
Oh, Enron math, there you are.
I’d just read an article on mobile providers feeling the pinch of people who were experiencing an economy that’s going under. As people triage to pay the most important expenses (rent, food, utilities), they stop paying bills like huge phone and data plans for everyone in the family. No wonder these providers were trying to find a way to lessen the bill and still get blood out of the stones.
I’d just as soon pay for the thing outright, and may still, but I wonder how many people realize that they won’t be “due for an upgrade” (Verizon code language for “we have a new batch of Chinese-made silicone drugs you should try, junkie”) for an extra year out? By stretching it out so long, interest was looking pretty tasty for Verizon, I guess.
I shrugged. The joke could be on Verizon, those lovers of hidden fees. The rapture could come before three years are up and then who’ll pay the bill? “Yeah, that’s fine,” I told him.
Years ago, when I was still on Twitter, I became enraged with Verizon’s fees and their tendency to screw things up in the border states (which, if you go up by Cavalier, you still get a message once in a while about Canadian roaming charges). I started a #365DaysOfVerizonSucks but even I’m not petty enough to come up with something every day for a year. I probably lasted two months.
“Are you trading in your phone?” he asked. They press you to trade in your old phone for a free or discounted device. It’s how Apple and Google et al. try to pretend they’re going green instead of tossing rare-earth lithium into the landfill and ordering up new stuff from slave labor in Asia.
“No,” I said. “I have every mobile phone I’ve ever owned, except the Motorola Razr that I gave to my brother. I keep them as a kind of museum to brutal planned obsolescence.”
He laughed. We got to talking about some of the older phones, and discovered at one point we both had the same phone.
“Do you need help moving your data from your old phone to the new one?” he asked. He seemed a bit hesitant.
“Nah,” I said. “I do all that myself. I’m pretty picky on how I want my phone setup.”
He was relieved. “Verizon just started charging for that service, so that would’ve cost you if I had to do it.”
“Interesting. Why the change?”
“Every morning there’s a huge line of people here just to get data moved to a new device,” he explained. As with nearly every place now, there’s a staffing shortage and a tanking economy and you have to find ways to get more money with less. “Now we charge for that service. Some people get pretty upset.”
I guess if you have a machine and you don’t know how to fix it, you pay the guy who can fix it because time is money. And in a labor market where everyone is either not working thanks to a government money printing press, or suspiciously disabled or dead since the Mandates of 2021, mixed with an economy where the actual inflation rate is 20 percent and higher, free is gone.
Interesting fact: did you know seed sales and home gardening increased during the Obama administration, decreased during the Trump administration, and is exploding again in the Biden administration? Food security worries are growing, and now Verizon won’t even port your data for free.
We walked over to the wall where they had phone cases. I had chosen the rose gold/pink version of the S22. There weren’t a lot of cases to pick from; they were either way to sparkly or of the OtterBox variety, which is too bulky. I grabbed what seemed to be the only middle ground, a thin army green plastic case.
“I’ll get that nice pink phone and then cover it up in this army green case,” I said to the Verizon guy. He snickered. Maybe there are metaphors there to be explored.
I walked out of the store $140 poorer with three years of payments hovering over my head for yet another phone that will not function properly the day I pay it off. I headed next door to the Caribou Coffee to get a dark hot chocolate, noting that the price had been $3.84 but was now climbing towards $4.50.
Elections have consequences.
New phone in hand, I began composing an email to SouthernPrepper1, a YouTube channel I watch every day for the boots on the ground report to hear the actual realities happening in our nation to real people, realities that our news media won’t report. People send in photos and information on the shocking decline of our supply chain and trucking and rail transport, as well as the labor shortages, which appear as empty shelves, increased prices (inflation) while packaging gets smaller (shrinkflation), closed restaurants, cancelled appointments, lack of prescription meds, and medical supplies or procedural availability severely reduced in general.
I had some Verizon info to share.
Because our country is due for an upgrade.
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