Monday, December 3, 2018

My new dumb smartphone

Lo these many years, I have put it off getting a smartphone.  Always figured I could get along just fine with my landline at home, my Kindle on the road and my dumbphone ready to provide voice service as needed.  But my dumbphone contract expired and rather than re-up for two years I decided to bite the bullet.

My children enabled me through this process and the day after Thanksgiving my new phone arrived in the mail, part of a bundled deal with Google Fi, a relatively new concept advertised as "seamless wireless."  My guys use this service and love it -- cheap and good.

I always thought getting a smartphone was going to be expensive, and the last ten days have done nothing to disabuse me, except it has been expensive in time rather than money.  Seems that when we sat down to activate the phone I made a terrible error -- I asked it to transfer over my old dumbphone  number, because many of my family members know it.  But apparently when I tried to look up what my account number was, I found and entered the wrong number.  Bad move.

The system wouldn't allow me to transfer.  After trying again a few times I gave up and called Google to tell them to give me a new number.  This required 90 minutes on the phone, one hour in queue, a half-hour talking to Christian, who gave me a guilt trip for not knowing my account number, but he would graciously do what it took to back that info out of the system and generate a new number.  And so he did, or so he said. When will I learn what it is?  It may even happen while we're still on the phone, but if not, then very soon.

Good thing I did not hold my breath, and 30 hours later I got back on the phone.  This time it took one hour in queue and more than an hour with Cheryl, who again did the guilt trip and chewed me out for being crabby "before I have even had a chance to start to help you!!!"  She told me that Christian shouldn't have promised me a new number because the bad vibes were still there.  She went to three higher levels of management approval before getting the system to generate a new number (she knew it did, because she saw it flash by, but too fast for her to write it down).  But because it was late in the day it would take 24 hours for me to get activated.

Good thing I did not hold my breath, and 43 hours later I got back on the phone.  This time only a half hour in queue, but well over an hour with Sean, who at least spared me the guilt trip.  He put me on hold several times while he went to confer with higher levels.  He informed me several times that the intervention had begun!!  Finally he told me they were about to get me set up, and I would be notified by email "sometime before midnight."

An hour later, my phone made strange noises at me and I tried to make a phone call.  It worked!!!  I called my landline and it rang!!!  But I still didn't know what my phone number is, since my landline is just as dumb as my old dumbphone.  And I'm still waiting for the notification email that I was promised, not to mention a response to the email I sent them three days ago to complain.

Later I called my son and he read off my phone number from his phone, so now I know it.

It only took seven hours of my life to get it activated.  During my many hours on hold I have discovered that Google is apparently saving money on background music as well as on adequate staffing for the help lines.  While you're in queue you get several different tracks, but after you've been "helped" and get put on hold, it's the same damn three minutes of music over and over and over.  I calculate I have heard those three minutes about 50 times in the last four days.  And it's not even particularly good music.

If you're contemplating signing up with Google Fi you may want to avoid transferring your old phone number.  And go to the bathroom before you place your call to customer "service."


  1. do have a way with phrases

  2. OMGosh, I was wincing through this entire post. We have Verizon and had since we switched from pay as you go to a real phone. We resisted getting a "smart phone". Mine was smart when I got it. I could get the internet if I wanted to. I resisted THAT until I discovered how wonderful GPS is. I still won't use my phone for any important stuff and refuse to put FB on it. I hate the thought of needing a new phone. My $200 phone has graduated to $800 and offers a payment plan. God help me if I ever switch from Android to Apple, lol.
    xx, Carol

    Oh, BTW. We just ordered a SMART TV! I wonder what the learning curve on THAT will be. SMH

  3. Give me "the good old days" when I actually knew how to make a phone call!!
    Smart phones come with way too many abilities and have a way of making me feel "dumb" even when I make a simple call on them!

  4. We LOVE Google Fi. We can connect from anywhere, including Uganda. My phone is now my only travel computer, although it's no good for word processing.

    1. now that I actually have it, I hope I will like it too! (not going to Uganda, however)

  5. I've had a "smart" phone for 7 years now, and just had to replace my old one earlier this year for an iPhone X. I love that I can go to the AT&T store and they move everything over for me and if I can't figure something out, I just go back and have them show me or fix my problem. I don't use the internet on my phone (my car has GPS built in), because the gigs cost too much and I'm frugal!! I'm sure I could get away with a "dumb" phone, but if I need the "smart", I'll be glad it is there! I'm sorry you had to go through all that just to get a working phone and I wish companies would realize that silence is much more appreciated than music or announcements while people are on hold!!

  6. And yet somehow "they" continue to tell us how much easier technology is making our lives....right?!?