Bend Over And Chirp Like A Cricket

Last week Hubby and I were sitting outside on a pleasant evening when this conversation happened:

Hubby: “The crickets are sure loud tonight.”
Me: “Just a whole bunch of lonely hearts lookin’ for love.”
Hubby: “You mean that’s all I had to do twenty years ago?”
Me: “Yep, just stand outside and shriek ‘TAKE ME!’ at the top of your lungs. What could possibly go wrong?”

That conversation came to mind a couple of days ago when I started researching cell phone plans (again).

Despite the fact that there are nine cell towers scattered around within a few miles of us, cellphones don’t get a signal at our place.  But we still need them when we travel, so we have to pay for cellular service we can almost never use.

Canada has the highest cellular prices in the world, so every now and then I go looking for cheaper plans.  That’s when I start feeling like the proverbial cricket.

I surf over to the first site.  “PAY1 ONLY2 $203 PER4 MONTH5 FOR UNLIMITED6 SERVICE7!” it trumpets triumphantly.

That’s ten times less than what we’re paying, woohoo!

Then I peruse the details, which are coyly enumerated in microscopic cream-on-white print buried at the bottoms of the webpages; or sometimes behind cleverly-concealed popups:

  1. Only if pre-paid for two years in advance.
  2. Only on contracts longer than two years.
  3. Excluding access fees, service fees, and ‘because-we-can’ fees.
  4. For the first two months.  After that, the price doubles.
  5. That’s per month, per device, per person.
  6. As much as you want, up to our arbitrary limit.  Over that you pay extra.
  7. If you somehow manage to figure out this deliberately obfuscated process, pay online, and configure your phone all by yourself, we’ll waive the $40 connection fee; but if you contact us even once, you’re on the hook for an extra forty bucks.

Not only does this mean that the final cost works out to about $200 per month for normal usage (which, by an amazing coincidence, is what we’re currently paying), but it also takes an entire day to dig through all the sites and discover that the simplified translation is this:

“You, the customer, are an insignificant insect.  Every provider in Canada colludes to fix prices, and we will charge you whatever we damn well please.  And when we want more revenue, we’ll pull a new “service fee” out of our asses and charge you that, too.  Muwahahaha!!!”

All of which makes me feel like sticking my head out the door and shrieking, “FINE!  TAKE ME!  JUST TAKE ME!!”

But I don’t dare.  One of them might hear, and then I’ll get hit with the Voice-Only Outdoor Pickup Service Fee*.

* Fee is doubled for cranky middle-aged red-haired women.

Book 16 update:  A record writing week — eight chapters under my belt!  I’m on Chapter 10 now, and wedding bells are ringing.  You’ll never guess for whom!

49 Comments

Filed under Humour, Life

49 responses to “Bend Over And Chirp Like A Cricket

  1. Not only are cell phone fees in Canada painful, even more excruciating when you don’t have service! Does that include prepaid or pay as you go plans?

    As to the writing holy moly eight chapters in a week! Wedding bells you say. That’s intriguing!

    Like

  2. Bummer to hear that…I had no idea. You probably don’t want to know that a number of the cellular carriers down here off pretty sweet deals to 55+ folks. Side note: We were up in Seattle for a couple of weeks…justy got back to LA this week. Last Wednesday up there the smoke rolled in big time. I wasn’t sure how far up Vancouver Island it went….did you guys get it where you live?

    Like

    • Yes, it was pretty bad here. We only live about a mile away from some low mountains, and we couldn’t see them. We’ve been hibernating indoors for the past week, but the air cleared a bit this morning so we were able to get outdoors and do some much-needed garden work. We’re hoping the worst is over, but I feel terrible for all the people who are still under the cloud, and especially for those who are wondering whether they’ll lose their homes (or have already lost them). Wildfires are truly terrifying.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Having been involved in two large ones that ravaged San Diego County years ago, I will take earthquakes and tornadoes (having experienced numerous of both) over wild fires. Both fires were way too close to our house and watching flames that close-up still sends chills down my back. Glad to hear all is well with you guys…was thinking about you when we were up in Seattle, but wasn’t sure how far the cloud extended.

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  3. Blair is right about Sasktel price and service. But for cheap, I pay $10 to Kyivstar per month which covers cell phone calls which i never use, data service when there is no wifi and wireless internet which connects to a router for wifi to two cell phones, two computers and one tablet. There is no limit that I have found but I don’t download many GB in a month.
    I love the sound of crickets. They should be cranking up soon here.

    Like

    • Growing up on the farm in Manitoba left me with a severe and permanent aversion to the sound of crickets. I can tolerate them outside now, but our house on the farm was built on a dirt crawlspace, and the crickets got in everywhere. They were crawling across the floor, chowing down on laundry in our laundry baskets, living (and shitting) in our dresser drawers, and, worst of all, shrieking at the tops of their lungs (wings/carapaces?) in our bedrooms every night. And of course, they fall silent the instant you turn on the light. I spent more time than I care to remember, sneaking around in the darkness with a flashlight trying to eradicate that one last cricket in the room that wouldn’t… SHUT… UP!!! Still not fond of crickets…

      Like

  4. Yay about your fantastic writing progress. Boo about the cell service plans in Canada. Each time we visit (and the last time that was for about two months) your country, we refuse to get a SIM card and pay the exorbitant prices. We’d keep paying for our US plan, because it’s only $35 a month for unlimited internet (sorry – but we have many other things going wrong in this country) and used WiFi from libraries, coffee shops, big box stores, etc. Way less convenient, of course, but we made it work somehow.

    By the way, for some reason I started reading this post with the title of the previous one in front of this one: “I Never Thought I’d Ever Bend Over and Chirp Like a Cricket”. Scroll to the bottom of the page and you’ll see what I mean. You are so funny. Even when you don’t intend to be. 🙂

    Like

  5. Hiss and spit. Which is my mantra for rather a lot of things at the moment.
    Australia does have prepaid which sounds similar to pay as you go, and I use it. And still resent the prices – nearly as much as I resent the (mostly) guvermint organisations which virtually insist we use the rotten things.

    Like

    • It’s getting to the point where it’s very inconvenient to navigate any business or government processes without some form of connectivity. I wouldn’t mind so much if I could do everything on my phone and only have one device to deal with; but I still need my phone for calling, my laptop for business and writing when I travel, and my desktop computer for heavy-duty processing like creating graphics files for cover art. Maybe someday it’ll all come conveniently (and economically) together… fingers crossed!

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  6. Blair Backman

    You need to ask Al Hingston about sasktel plans. Socialism even under a conservative govt provides not only the best cell phone AND internet service in North America but also the cheapest. Even extending into every corner pfour far flung people free province!

    Simple, just trade daffodils in January for frostbite and snowdrifts but you will have no trouble calling CAA for a tow truck.

    But don’t look to Telus or Shaw-they can’t even provide 24 hrs of uninterrupted internet over a fibre optic line-let alone cell service.

    Like

    • Sasktel, you say? Hmmm. And I only have to trade an island paradise for frostbite and snowdrifts eight months out of the year? Let me think about that for nanosecond… um, NOPE!

      I guess I’ll just stay here in paradise and whine about our cell service. After all, if everything was perfect, I wouldn’t be able to appreciate it, right? 😉

      Like

  7. I’m sorry about the cell phone situation where you are. Things are so much better here. You can opt in for pennies, practically. But then the entice you with biggerbetterfaster equipment and the ante goes up. You know, like a bag phone instead of the base model Dixie-cup-and-string model. And two more minor little options, and you’re looking at $350 a month.

    Ya know, your deal is looking a little better now…

    Like

    • LOL! Yep, it’s all about perspective. In the past several years there have been lots of news articles saying that Canada has the highest-priced cellular service in the world (about double the cost of Australia’s, for example). But a recent study showed that we also have the best quality cellular service, in terms of both hardware and coverage. I’m not sure who sponsored the study, but it had a ring of truth to it — our service is great… when we can use it. Should that make me feel better?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sure. Go ahead. Get crazy. Feel better. What’s the worst that could happen? 😁

        Like

        • An excellent point! Feeling better now… 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          • Atta girl!! See? What could possibly go wrong? I mean, other than the cell phone bill showing up. With, you know, another rate increase.

            And you *really* cranked out eight chapters in a week?? After that, even a rate increase couldn’t bum me out! Gad, that’s great!👍👍

            Like

            • Thanks! Yes, it was a great writing week, and I’m thrilled to finally be back to the way I used to write: Totally immersed, barely able to tear myself away even for food and sleep.

              Our move to BC completely blew my concentration, and with the many aftershocks and ongoing extra work of building a house and creating the veggie garden and landscaping from bare gravel, it’s been nearly four years since I’ve been able to concentrate like this. I’M BACK, WOOHOO!!! 😀

              Liked by 1 person

              • Congratulations! That’s huge! Absolutely bloody HUGE. Every time I come up for air, there’s something more to do. Stockpile more ammo, prepare and pack more rations, distill more water, stockpile more ammo… it’s always something. Looks like I’ll have some new inspiration before long.

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  8. Tease, shameful tease. No wonder you have issues with mobiles lol.

    I have a mobile I only pay £10 a month for, it’s mostly calls and texts I use I don’t have data on it but it’s on my Wi-Fi at home. I do have a tablet with no call plan just data and WiFi boxes one for me to use as and when and one my parents use in Spain. I don’t tend to think about the cost but I think all in its about £50 for the 3 devices.

    I ordered book 15 as a birthday present for me (paperback) should get it next week I think.

    I’m looking forward to book 16 being finished, I’m not going to speculate as it will be months before we get to read it.

    I’ve just bought new pans and cutlery as something is eating the cutlery, I’ve lost spoons and a fork somehow and the pans I had were rubbish I’m still looking for new pans incase these go the same way x

    Hugs to all stay safe and well, I’m still convinced that the zombie apocalypse is on the horizon

    Like

    • I’m beginning to wonder if we’ll all be zombies by the time we emerge from our post-COVID caves. I hear the U.K. is getting strict about the size of gatherings again — hope you’re doing okay over there.

      Something is eating your cutlery?!? Uh-oh. At our place the usual suspect would be one of us (mentioning no names) inadvertently scraping plates and utensils into the garbage at the same time. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you don’t have some bizarre metal-eating bacteria over there. (Oh, wait, didn’t I write that in Book 13…?) 😉

      Thank you for ordering Book 15, and a very happy birthday to you!

      Like

      • I think I threw out a spoon in error but no idea what happened to the fork.

        Yup no groups over the size of 6. Lots of ares being watched as cases rise, they think linked to young people moving about going to uni and the like. Not sure if I believe it.

        I’m still working from home, ohi meant to tell you about the course on mental health first aid, it was fantastic. There was 10 on the course and 2 trainers, they say 1 in 4 have mental health issues, all of confessed to having some sort of issues either current or past. The manual is huge. And unlike normal first aid it’s more about sign posting where to get help. It was intense but fun. I would recommend it.

        Just have to figure out how our boss wants us to use it

        Like

        • Wow, it sounds like a great course! I guess your boss is hoping you’ll never need to use what you’ve learned, but it’s great that your management team cares enough about their employees to make sure that help is available if anyone needs it.

          Like

    • Barbara Vernon

      Murphy’s law on all the trash going on today.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Rudy™

    Wedding bells?? Most unlikely is Aydan and Hellhound. (The “w word” would send them each fleeing towards separate borders!) Dermott would have to marry himself. Aydan and Kane? Nah, she’d be a nervous wreck the entire time. Reggie and Jack seems plausible, but with your hint that almost seems a little too obvious. Dermott and…Holt? (Perhaps there’s something we don’t know about them??) Aydan and Rossburn? No, that doesn’t fit. Stemp’s already married. Skidmark and…somebody? Kane and Alicia decide to reconcile? Ew, no, wash my mouth out with soap! Aydan and the prison warden at Leavenworth so she can escape?? Hmmm….

    So yeah, I got nothin’. 😁

    I had Verizon as my carrier down here but they kept raising the price every couple of months. I was with a T-Mobile prepaid plan for a couple of years afterwards, but I am on Google Fi now. Google’s service connects to T-Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular and public WiFi (via Google’s VPN) for the connection. (So yes, the service does allow WiFi calling.)
    It works in Canada as well, but I don’t know if you can yet sign up for service in Canada. (I guess a few have had a friend sign up for Fi in the US, then mail the SIM cards over and they work fine that way.)

    They do have an unlimited plan (which I think might be $70 USD/month), but on the original plan, you only pay for the data you use. So it’s like I pay a $20/month base fee for unlimited voice and messaging, then $10/GB for any data I use (so if I use 430MB in a month, $4.30 is all I pay for). If you exceed 6GB, you hit a point where data beyond 6GB is not charged, all the way up to 15GB. (Family plans have adjusted limits.) I rarely ever hit $30/month during normal months, and on road trips I might be near $50/month since I’m running Google Maps (for navigation) and all the other road-trippy things I do (check TripAdvisor, upload photos, Google searches, etc.).

    Fi does require special phones with the two radios needed to connect to the different services, but they’re readily available via Google’s online store. It will work with other unlocked phones but I guess the phones will only connect to T-Mobile (here in the US, anyways) if that’s the case. You can also order data SIM cards that will connect to T-Mobile for data–the cards are free, no monthly charge for the SIM, and data is just added to your account at the same $10/GB rate.

    Some have complained about customer service but I haven’t had a hitch with it yet.

    I shouldn’t be teasing with this since you’re in Canada but maybe with a little luck it’ll show up there one of these days. The US workaround is always an option as, once the SIMs are issued, they don’t seem to care where the connections are used and how it’s paid for, even with the Canuck Funny Money you use up there. 😁

    Like

    • LOL! It might be Funny Money, but at least it’s pretty. And I’ve never accidentally handed over a $20 bill when I meant to give $2. (I nearly did the last time I was in the States.)

      “Dermott would have to marry himself” – bahahaha!!! That would be fun to write!

      Thanks for all the info on mobile plans. It sounds as though you’ve got a great system going. I’ve never yet come across any U.S. phone deal that was available in Canada – the CRTC has an iron grip up here. But, hey, sometimes miracles happen, and the big G might have more power than I think. We’ll look into Google — thanks again! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rudy™

        When I was a kidlet, we used to travel yearly to a resort in the Laurentian mountains. Naturally on that trip I’d see all of the colorful money. Heck, one year I won about $60 in a bingo game, in assorted bills. Somewhere buried in storage, I probably still have a few of those old bills from the 70s. Ours was boring and drab in comparison. Still is! They look slightly more distinctive now than they used to, with anti-forgery measures baked into them, except for the $1 bill that hasn’t changed designs in my entire lifetime. No Loonies here, in other words.

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  10. I’ve never connected cellphone contracts to crickets … I wonder if there is a way to get crickets to be little cellphone towers so you can improve your reception.

    and yeah, there’s no good way out with those contracts.

    Like

  11. gailradfordross@shaw.ca

    Thanks for your rant on cell phones in Canada – love it! Can you send your comments to the CRTC please? They mostly don’t have a sense of humour but it’s worth a try – possibly one person there does. https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/phone/mobile/

    Complaints: https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/phone/plaint.htm

    The best and cheapest cell phone plan is Public Mobile’s prepaid 1GB + Talk + Text plan for $23/month. Why we love it: Just like Koodo, Public Mobile runs on the Telus network covering 99% of Canadians.Sep 4, 2020https://www.whistleout.ca/CellPhones/Guides/best-cell-phone-plans

    I really despise Telus but you may be a fan. As if any real Canadian could be a fan of ANY phone plans here?!

    Like

    • LOL! That’s the truth. We actually did look into Public Mobile, but unfortunately they don’t support wi-fi calling on our devices. That’s the only way we can use our phones when we’re at home because we get no cell phone signal off anybody’s tower here. Even the CRTC coverage maps show that this is a dead spot. Hubby uses his cell phone for business, so we’re stuck. Sigh.

      We’re going to keep looking, though. The discount carriers keep adding features, so someday we might get lucky (and not in the sense of bending over and chirping like a cricket). 😉

      Like

  12. Cell phones, pshaw (I’m trying to keep this clean). I’ve been half way around the world twice without one of the things and continue to function without using the one given to me as a gift. Marketed with all the bells and whistles that are cute but fragile. Pshaw, again. When out in public it’s kind of sad seeing everyone else nose deep into theirs.
    I know I’m out of the social loop (again) but those things leave me in the state of yawn.

    Like

    • I’m inclined to agree with you. I spent the first two-thirds of my life without a cell phone and survived just fine. It’s tempting to say ‘Screw it’ and get rid of the damn things completely. But now businesses and even government services seem to assume that everybody has a cell phone, and they’re creating systems that make it painfully hard to get along without one. Rock, meet hard place. Grrr.

      Like

  13. Louisa

    I can relate to the cellphone dilema, I use pay as you go since I don’t use it much. Tried looking at plans but when I use less than $100 a year it is hard to justify $80/month. Can still use a smart phone and get internet if you use hotspots or guest log ins.
    As for wedding bells I am guessing Honey is getting married but otherwise hope it is Ayden and Arnie.
    Take care

    Like

    • I wanted to switch to pay-as-you-go; but it turns out that there’s no such thing here. None of the providers will let us pay for the time we actually use — instead they charge a lower monthly fee for a tiny amount of use. If you go over that usage the prices are exorbitant, and if you don’t use your time by the end of the month, it’s gone. I guess they can get away with calling it ‘pay-as-you-go’ because it’s month-to-month instead of a longer contract. Just more lies and weasel-words as far as I’m concerned.

      Good guess on the wedding, but I’m not going to say whether you’re right. 😉 You take care, too!

      Like

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