Monday, March 5, 2012

Dumber Than a Smartphone

I celebrated my birthday a few days ago and decided to give myself a new cell phone. There wasn’t anything wrong with my old one, but Verizon sent me this brochure filled with glossy photos of their latest models. Like a kid looking through a Toys ‘R Us catalog, I was hooked. I don’t use my cell phone very often and when I do, it’s for making and receiving calls, or using mobile e-mail. Period. I don’t text much and I’m not on a host of social networks.

I entered the store and was immediately set upon by a guy barely out of high school, who launched into his sales pitch.

“This phone can do everything. It’ll keep you in touch with the outside world, and alert you to the latest postings from your friends on Facebook and Myspace.”

“I’m not on Spaceface or Mybook,” I said.

“Are you a twitter?”

“No, and I resent being called one.”

He pressed on. “This other app lets you watch the latest videos on YouTube.”

“How can I watch videos on my tube?”

He gave me a blank look with his mouth agape. “Okay, how about this one? It gives you the most up-to-date headlines, sports and weather.”

“Why do I need that when I can watch the evening news?”

More confused looks followed but he was nothing if not unstoppable. He took a deep breath and continued trying to sell me something I didn’t need. “The built-in camera has a gazillion mega-pixels. It’s great for capturing embarrassing pics and vids of your friends and posting them on YouTube.”

“There you go, talking about my tube again. Is this a fetish or are you trying to pick me up?”

Undaunted, he continued. “If this doesn’t have what you’re looking for, how about this nifty new I-pad?”

“Does it make and receive calls?”

“Better than that – it does e-books, wi-fi, news feeds, GPS, games, photos, e-mails, stock quotes, streams movies and TV shows…”

“Will it take my temperature when I’m feeling under the weather?”

He exhaled in exasperation. “What exactly are you looking for?”

“A portable communication device that will let me call my sig other when I’m running late for dinner, or so she can call me to find out why I’m somewhere I’m not supposed to be.”

He looked at me as though I were from Mars. “That’s it? That’s all you want it for?”

“Yeah. I believe that’s why it’s called a cell phone – not a social club/newspaper/tickertape/entertainment center/embarrass your friends with secret videos phone.”

He finally gave up and I left with a new state-of-the-art-for- now phone. I don’t know what most of the bells and whistles are for but at least I can make and receive calls. If I ever want to post embarrassing vids on my tube, I’m sure there’s an app for that.

Tim Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author whose books range from romantic thrillers to contemporary erotic romance. He is also a freelance photographer. More info about his books and photographs can be found at his website, www.timsmithauthor.com.


Tina Donahue said...

LOL - what a great post, Tim!! I know exactly how you feel. The only time I use the web browser on my Blackberry is when I'm on my stationary bike exercising and trying to distract myself from how much I hate it. There are apps on the Blackberry I still don't know how to use and will probably never learn. :)

Fiona McGier said...

I'm with you, Tim! What I really hate is that the battery dies so quickly as opposed to my first cell phone years ago. I was told by the "still wet behind the ears" salesguy that the battery dies quickly because "customers expect their phone to be able to do so much, that the drain on the battery is incredible." I never do more than make/receive occasional calls, and my daughter believes in texting because she has an unlimited plan, and since she's in her first year away at college, I miss her and treasure her communications, so I answer her (it took her 3 months to teach me how to text!) So if I don't use my battery up like other folks do, why the hell does it run out every 2 days? Sheesh!

jean hart stewart said...

I'm with you all the way. I can make and answer calls when I'm enroute, but other than that am sticking to my old phone until it dies on me. Couldn't manage all those apps on my daughter's phone.

Tim Smith said...

Thanks - I've never figured out why eveyerone is so addicted to all the gadgets on cell phones. This one has a navigator feature but unless I forget how to read a road map, I won't use it. When I've used the camera I had trouble sending the pics to my home e-mail so I gave up.

By the way, I'm probaly one of the last people on earth who still has a land line phone, too - and no wi-fi!

Liz said...

but what if I WANT to embarrass you with secret videos??? ha
I firmly believe that the ghost of Steve Jobs inserts a obsolescence device in all iPhones so that as you approach (but aren't quite there) your 2 year contract period the damn things won't hold charge anymore, forcing you to buy another. I am a smart phone addict though, through and through. Love mine.

Tim Smith said...

Liz, you can embarass me anytime, anywhere LOL. I might even let you post them on my tube...

I'd better get outta here before I get myself in real trouble!