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:
- Only if pre-paid for two years in advance.
- Only on contracts longer than two years.
- Excluding access fees, service fees, and ‘because-we-can’ fees.
- For the first two months. After that, the price doubles.
- That’s per month, per device, per person.
- As much as you want, up to our arbitrary limit. Over that you pay extra.
- 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!