The Boy has been asking for a cell phone for years. About two years ago, my Beloved and I bought our son a slide phone and the pleas stopped. Peace was a beautiful thing. Peace was a short-lived thing.
Because, in spite of the fact that the Boy was happy, initially, with his slide phone, he quickly soured to the reality that he did not own a smart phone.
I fought a valiant fight but eventually realized that nothing I did or said was going to enable my son to see that he was building character by not having a smart phone. Surely, he would look back at these long years and see himself as a noble individual, a martyr in a world of individuals who stared at their tiny screens as if they were bent over a passionate reading of tarot cards.
Sure, I could pretend that this is exactly what he was doing, but the reality is that my son wouldn’t answer his slide phone because he claimed that his phone wasn’t working, wasn’t receiving phone calls.
I attempted to try and encourage my son to save money. He would, for a while. And then something new and shiny grabbed his attention and that money was gone.
I attempted to negotiate the differences between my husband and son. I actually agreed mostly with my husband. I thought he was right in that we should hold tight to our morals, our ethics, our beliefs that our son would be stronger by doing without.
But the world continued to move into more and more digital nuances and even I found that the world of flip-phones was something other than wonderful. Trying to text by pushing one button four times in order to attain the preferred letter was truly not fun, especially when people kept on texting me while I was trying to respond to the first text.
And I get lost. A lot. Maps are a nice thing, but sometimes it’s also nice to be able to change directions when traffic’s horrific. But paper maps aren’t that accommodating with sudden changes.
I was ready to upgrade but hated the idea of spending so much money on a device that I really didn’t need. I didn’t need a new phone. I really didn’t know that I needed my stupid flip phone. But I knew that I wanted a smart phone and spent a lot of time researching the prices of smart phones, the cost of data, and impact on our monthly budget.
And I decided that I was not going to buy myself a smart phone.
But I still wanted a smart phone, almost as bad as the Boy but neither of us were going to get our wishes.
And if I really wanted a smart phone, the Boy was dying for one. He pleaded with my husband, received long lectures about why he didn’t need a smart phone. How adding a smart phone was going to cost the family a hundred dollars per month.
Which didn’t make sense to me….but I am good at being wrong. Therefore, I finally decided to do some research.
I called my cell phone carrier, twice. And was unable to stay on hold for longer than fifteen minutes the first time and accidentally hit the wrong button the second time which resulted in the connection being lost.
Therefore, I decided to go to the business itself. Took the Boy. I wanted to look at the cost of adding iPhone SE’s, given they are the least expensive but will enable us to maintain our Apple accounts. However, the last time the Boy and I had talked about phones, he talked about Samsungs (not the exploding kind) or iPhones that end in numbers, not letters. Basically, the expensive kind.
I told the Boy that he was NOT to expect to return home with a phone, that we were merely completing research, to learn about costs. He willingly came with me, if anything to help with learning about the plans, the amount he would need to spend per month on his phone.
I was completely unprepared, though, for the reality of what we were about to experience.
I won’t go into detail about the woman who didn’t manage to put us into the customer cue or the fact that the Boy and I waited around, staring at phones, for the better part of forty minutes. I will go into detail about the fact that when I finally asked for (and received help), the shocking experiences were almost hysterical.
We asked about the SE, asked about the cost of adding another smart phone to our line if we paid for the phone outright.
Answer? Nothing since my Beloved already has a smart phone.
What was the cost of adding extra data? Turned out that the carrier was running a special Cyber Monday deal of twenty percent off data.
And if we decided not pay for the phone outright but spread it out over 24 months, then the 16gigabyte phone would be five dollars a month.
And with the data, the total additional cost would be 13 dollars a month.
Yup. 13 dollars a month.
I won’t go into detail about the phone call to my husband. But he caved and I turned to the lovely gentleman who was helping us and told him that we would be buying a 64 gigabyte phone because I would help my son with the extra cost of three dollars.
But when we were going through the process of paying for the phone, it turned out that because we were loyal customers and hadn’t upgraded our phones in years, my son was eligible for a two hundred dollar discount on his phone.
Turns out, I was eligible for the same thing.
So, between the original discount and the additional two hundred dollars, the phone that normally retailed at $450.00 was down to around $50.00.
I changed from two gigabytes to eight. But because we added two lines, we received four more gigabytes for free.
12 gigabytes, not 8.
That night, my son and I left the store each with a new smart phone. And the Boy’s face shone with joy. He was close to tears and I was close myself. Because, finally, the five years of fighting were over. The tension of no’s and maybe’s was over.
I was offered a steal of a deal and took it. And now, as I write this, my phone is next to me, charging, and the Boy is downstairs watching TV with my daughter. And he has his phone, and all is well in the world.