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Point & Click

Can you hear me now? No? Well, thats because I dont have a cell phone.Actually thats not true. I have three cell phones three cell phones that dont work.My journey into cell phone hell started innocently enough a year ago last March when I decided, once again, to leap into the unbelievable convenience of having my very own cell phone. Id had a cell phone before but I found I really, truly didnt need it. Im not a life-saving surgeon. Nobody needs to reach me that badly that the world will cease to revolve on its axis if I cant be contacted. Really. But, for some reason, I decided that having a cell phone would somehow improve my life make it simpler and easier.So, I signed on with a giant cell phone conglomerate. I sure had to sign a lot of contracts to get the phone and activate my service. It kind of reminded me of buying a house. I signed here and there. I mean, what could be such a big deal about having a cell phone? So I signed, and I admit, I didnt read all the fine print.I got a basic (read: cheap) phone and all went swimmingly for about, oh, Id say, a month. Then one fine day, my phone needed charging. I plugged it into the little charger and nothing. It wouldnt accept a charge. It just sat there. No lights, no ring tone, no nothing. (And yes, I checked the battery.)Thus began my descent into cell phone hell.When I took my phone back to the store where I bought it I was told that they couldnt fix my phone, nor could they replace it. Id have to call the big giant company somewhere in another state because thats what Id agreed to do when I signed the contracts I didnt read. The first time, it wasnt that tough. I called, got put on hold, and was told I would have to pay a $50 replacement fee (another fine print item I hadnt read). About a week later, my replacement phone arrived. It had dial tone. I was all over it.Not three weeks later, the impossible happened. My phone stopped working, just the same as the old phone. The battery was fine, the charger was fine, but the phone was not. By this time, I was getting tweaked. I called the company that evening to express my dismay. They put me on hold for Im not exaggerating 45 minutes. When I finally got to speak to a human, I explained my predicament. The human said he would have to speak to a supervisor. He put me on hold again and this time, to my horror, I got disconnected. I didnt get the same human when I called back and was on hold for another half hour, but by the end of the phone call, the human I had talked with had sold me another phone a better phone made by another company. I was going to give it one more go.I dont abuse phones, I swear, but it took just a month for that phone, too, to die as mysteriously as the other two before it. I called the conglomerate company to tell them I wanted out. I wanted out of my contract, I wanted a refund for the phones Id replaced and I wanted it done right now.That didnt happen. The human on the other end of the line told me it would cost me $175 to get out of my contract.But youve provided me with three phones that do not work! I exclaimed. I cannot use your service because the phones you provide me do not operate! I asked to speak to the humans supervisor.I am sorry, maam, the human said. My supervisor is not equipped to accept telephone calls.So, since November, Ive been getting a monthly bill for service I cant use for phones that dont operate. Im convinced theres nothing I can do but pay for service I cannot use. If I dont pay, its off to the collections department for me. Theres no one to call, no one to write a letter to. Its all too big.I keep getting mail (read: bills) from my cell phone hell friends. But my favorite piece of correspondence from the big company came in last week. Youre one of our best customers, it said. To show you how much we appreciate your business, weve created a very special offer just for you. Oh really? Well, unless its two tin cans with a string between, Im not buying. Carrie Click is a reporter at the Post Independent. You cant reach her by cell phone but you can reach her at 945-8515, ext. 518, or cclick@postindependent.com.


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