Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor (kistaro) wrote,
Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

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Much ado about a cell phone

Switching cell phone plans should not be this difficult.

It's not the cell phone company- either the one we're leaving or the one we're joining. Sprint has been trying to drive us away with higher rates for worse service for years, and they'll probably be glad to have us gone. The local T-Mobile representatives attempted to be quite friendly and helpful at letting us select a phone, and were as courteous as salespeople might be expected to be. From online research, my father discovered that a plan with three times as many minutes as we have ever used in one month (the minimum available) plus an unlimited data plan for a PDA-phone would cost only slightly over half what we're paying Sprint, and with better coverage where we need it. That pretty much settled it, except for the small matter of finding a phone for my father.

This has become more of a trial than it should be. It's not that my father shouldn't find exactly the phone he wants, it's that it's more work for me than he gives me credit for. He and I spent several hours today and yesterday at the local small T-Mobile store, with me translating his oddly-worded and often incoherent questions for the clerks; he knows what he wants, but he's not good at expressing himself verbally. I don't mind this; that's why I came.

What got to me was how damn aggressive he was about not wanting a phone with the MyFaves feature on the front page. As soon as he mentioned he didn't want it and he didn't like the interface, the clerk explained that without the feature in the plan, the phone wouldn't show it. No problems. He doesn't like the interface (that's his primary rant! Not that you'd have to spend more than 400 minutes talking to just those five people for it to be worth the cost, he doesn't like how the interface is different from the phone he's used for the last five years), so he doesn't want a phone with that feature. I showed him how to, in less than fifteen seconds, shut off the display even on a phone equipped with it.

He continued his rant about how he didn't want it and brought it back up for every. fucking. phone they showed him, and went on and </i>on</i> about how everything was a "myFaves" phone at the store and he absolutely didn't want it.

Is it right that it bothers me that my father came close to making a scene because he doesn't want to use a feature he can turn off with four fucking button presses and can have a plan without? That the only reason he didn't was because I interrupted it? And when I explained to him later that part of my grumpy mood wasn't just not getting a T-Mobile MDA for myself that day (which I admit I had been hoping for; it would give me an extra day before the trip to Indiana to move my PDA software, information, and re-download my eBook collection with new keys), but because I thought his behavior was unreasonable and he shouldn't be so upset about a feature he can turn off (and he can't even turn it on without the plan, which he is not getting), and he shouldn't have been so damn aggressive to the clerk about it, he informed me that if it bothers me, I shouldn't go with him.

That alone makes me more likely to come just to be able to defuse him again.

He's since done more research; we discovered that Amazon offers some surprisingly good offers on cell phones, although the rebates are one-per-household so they only apply to one phone (although the discounts are not so limiterd). He was all ready to sign up for a plan that way, including overnight shipping so we could work with the phones on the upcoming trip to Indiana, and then he got to where Amazon wanted his social security number to run a credit check. This is, as far as I know, standard procedure for a cell phone plan, and he completely balked over it and refused to go any farther, in an aggressive ranting sort of way.

This is not his normal attitude. He is not generally an upsettable or aggressive man; he's the one who taught me that it's rarely worth the trouble to get upset about things, and watching him do so that easily worries me. He reminds me of his father, in the wrong ways. His primary point of being upset with Amazon is his knowledge of their TOS- they're going to keep his SSN on file, rather than discard it after the credit check. But T-Mobile would do the same, and I trust Amazon's computer security more than T-Mobile's- and so does he, but that didn't cool him off any. I don't know what's going on.

My mother, meanwhile, has been using this as an excuse to stage her usual whining about how I don't call her nearly as much as she wants. I did manage to actually get meaningful information instead of more snide accusations out of her when I directly confronted her and asked what she wants. That doesn't mean we've reached a compromise or peace- I do not intend to call her twice a week for the rest of her life, as she has made it clear I am expected to do. Some balance will be struck, but it's not that one.

My actually bringing up issues with my parents, instead of silently giving in to things I disagree with or have problems with, has done wonders for my sanity in these last several weeks and brought moderate consternation to them. My mother still isn't ready to treat me like an adult, but I have decided that the best way to get her to do so is to simply expect her to do so and make my decisions accordingly- same for my father. It's been working better for me, and contributing somewhat to family peace, but my parents don't understand why I won't just "go along with things" and why I have to be "causing so much trouble now". Well, I've been being helpful and following along with their reasonable requests as much as I can, and in fact have been doing so more than usual, but now I've been bringing up things that need talking about, and they'd rather go on and ignore it.

It'll get worked out. Just not the way my parents were envisioning it.

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