Friday, May 30, 2008

You Saw Me In Jurassic Park

So, if you happened to go into a T-Mobile store today and heard the 2 young salespeople snickering about the middle-aged woman who had just left? That would have been me. Because I just couldn't take it anymore. I had bought one of their cellphones a couple of months ago, and I couldn't figure out how to work it for the life of me. It was one of the most basic models, too. No camera, no anything....

Feeling desperate, I marched in there today and demanded a tutorial on the basics. Like how to turn it on on my first try. How to adjust the volume on the ringer. How to figure out where to get a ringtone. How to find out how many minutes I had left (we use a prepaid plan). The girl took it from me and started punching buttons. "Whoa, missy!" I yelled. (Okay, I didn't say "missy.") "I can't tell what you're doing! How did you get that?"

"Well," she said, "you just sort of mess around with it and you figure it out."

"I've been messing around with it for 2 months and I've figured out nothing," I told her. "Start with the phonebook. How do I find it? And how do I delete stuff?" So, with me badgering her the entire time, she managed to show me a few basic functions. Then, while she rang up my purchase of a second phone (yes, I'm stupid), I bothered the salesguy at the other counter with some more questions.

"Look," he said, "you just have to mess around with it when you're bored, and you'll figure it out."

Bored?


"Listen," I told him, "I have 6 kids. I'm never bored. And I don't use this phone often enough to remember what I did from one time to the next."

"Really?" he asked, staring at me as if I had just emerged from the jungles of New Guinea.

I decided to hit him with all I've got. "Really. These one thousand minutes I'm buying for the year? I won't run out."

Upon hearing this, he looked stunned. Confused. Completely out of his element. I could tell he wanted me to just go away.

So I did.

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47 comments:

  1. I know I am getting old because with every passing year I have less patience for anyone between the ages of 15 and 25. While I do love cool cell phones and I can usually figure them out, I have to admit that predictive text took me a while. It gave my son something new to tease me about though, so it worked out in the end.

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  2. Hmmm he's right though. I finally figured out how to work my phone while waiting in an ER The Rescue Ranger was being checked for a concussion after a particularly vigorous baseball game.

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  3. "mess around with it when you're bored"- that is classic. :)

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  4. You have tapped into what I dislike most of all about (whisper here) getting older. I used to be so up on everything and the kids act all "you're sooo stupid" when someone my age simply asks a question. When I get a new toy, I usually hide in the closet and try to figure it out before they get a look at it. Of course what takes me an hour to figure out, they do in 30 seconds. Grrrrr!

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  5. At least he had the presence of mind not to say, "Mess around with it when you're at the dinner table," or "Mess around with it while you're being given important instructions," or the classic, "Mess around with it while you're waiting for the light to turn green."

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  6. Ugh. Don't you just want to throttle them? Kids make me nuts. Even in my own house when I'm trying to change the channel on the tv or pause a movie....the kids always stick out their hands and say "sigh...give it to me...I'LL do it". Then I send them to bed. At least I can still do that!

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  7. I've seen my 17 year old niece do this. She has sat-literally for hours-on my couch "messing around" with her phone. Or iPod. Just staring at it. Hours. Pushing stuff. Is there really that much to figure out? I'm with you- school me on the basics and I'm good to go.

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  8. Y'know, there has actually been consumer backlash on phones--more and more people going in for "just a plain phone--no special functions or features." You're not out of it, you're just practical. I feel your pain, though. I've never set up my voice mail. Ever. *sigh*

    You should have called her "Missy."

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  9. We are obviously close in age because that about sums up me and my experience with mobile phones, although I am slightly ashamed to admit that it's not the young salesguy that looks shocked when I say I can't figure it out - it's my husband!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I've followed your guiding advice and added my email address to my profile.

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  10. LOL, when I got my first phone here it was all in Japanese. It took forever to explain to the guy that I needed it in English. ACK!

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  11. I don't know if it is T-mobile or Blackberry, but they keep changing what I have to push to retrieve the voice mail on my phone. It went from one button, to four, to now I have find the magic icon and click on it, of course I have time to do this when I am boared waiting for my exit while driving down the expressway. It is safer than typing email while driving.

    DG

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  12. It is true, I vote you as a modern day Luddite. I just got a new cell phone for work. Now I have TWO cell phones. At first it just seemed like, WOW and cool! Now it is OMG how am I going to keep track of TWO phones, I must be outa my mind. Good luck. Ask one of your kids, they probably already know how to work your phone. My new work phone has an online tutorial. But of course you have to read the little book that came with it to find that out...

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  13. I bought my phone for the camera function and haven't figured out how to use it. I don't know how to do the ringtone thing either, but I really don't care. I doubt I'd use 500 minutes in a year. I'm just not a phone person.

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  14. At least you have a cell phone. I still don't. You should the looks I get (even from my friends) when they realize that we are still not wireless. "How do you even manage to go on living?" Wow. It's been hard. But somehow we've managed. And I have to say, I like being somewhere knowing my husband and kids cannot reach me.

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  15. My husband and I just went to a (gasp) full-price movie. We sat behind a couple of college kids who texted EACH OTHER the entire time. On the plus side, their screens were so large and lit-up, we had a picture-in-picture thing going on.

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  16. So, when you have the luxury of being "bored" - the first thing you're going to grab is that cell phone then?

    WOW, I wonder if he's a member of MENSA. Did he also suggest that customers punch themselves in the face? :)

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  17. Just found your blog last week - was cracking up while I read snippets of it aloud to the family! Will be peeking in more regularly - - you know, like 2-3 times daily. Seems we have the same schedule!!!

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  18. they both must have been young to use that verbiage, mess around with it........, sometimes I just call from home to the company to get help on using my cell. One time it was on speaker and NO WHERE in the book did it tell you how to get it turned off (thanks to my son for "messing around with it" when he was board, he turned the darn thing on speaker phone. I think they are more helpful over the phone because they know more since they cant show you they have to be able to use words better

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  19. I hate using my cell phone. I use it only when out (obviously) and for long distance calls, because we have no home phone plan for those. But I always feel like it's beaming tumor rays right into my skull. How's that for old fashioned?

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  20. I don't know how to text. I don't know how to do ANYTHING on my phone except call my husband. And lose it. I lose it constantly. I can't find it right now, as a matter of fact. It's been missing for a week.

    Cell phones are dumb.

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  21. That is EXACTLY it! They play around while they're bored and figure stuff out, which is why my 12 year old can mess up my (MY) MP3 player by putting stuff on repeat, or messing up song order, and then I can't fix it. Because who has time??? Teenagers, that's who.
    Speaking of which, couldn't one of your own teenagers have figured it out? Isn't that why we keep them, so they can help us navigate modern technology?

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  22. I have a cell phone that I inherited from my son with he upgraded. It has all kinds of functions, but I hardly use any of them. I finally decided to use the calendar function and get rid of the paper calendar that I carried around. I also had to learn to text when it became apparent that was the only way I'd get a response from the few people I call. I feel so with it.

    "Mess around with it when your bored??? Really. I guess I need to find more time to be bored.

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  23. OK, this post was HYSTERICAL. And believable. On two counts. I have 2 children and I am never bored. And...these cell phones are not that easy to figure out, most especially if you are not using them repetitively.

    I just figured mine out by fooling around with it..... :)

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  24. There is an easier way, give it to a teenager, they will have it firgured out in seconds, then have them tell you how to work it. (Write it down) Good luck!
    PS LOVED the post underneath! Check the blog,eat, check the blog, LOVE IT!

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  25. That's how I figure out my electronics too. All of them.

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  26. I have it worse. Recaro insisted on Bang & Olufson landline phones. I've barely even worked out how to end a call. Apparently it's not enough to just put it back on the stand... drives me nuts that it's not less electronic, drives Recaro nuts that the phone isn't properly turned off.

    By the way - I've tagged you about your teacups. Bizarre, I know. Reading your post, I'm not sure you have time for this sort of thing;)

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  27. haha
    I think I am going to actually get one of those phones that are meant for old people, I can't work mine at all.

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  28. I'm glad you stopped by so I could find your blog. LOVE the title of your blog, and I almost returned my broken Ipod thinking it was busted because it wouldn't turn on. The user manual was useless because it had one, ONE, sentence in 7 different languages and that was it. Luckily my sister was able to talk me through it over the phone. I say the same thing to people, I have 4 kids... I don't even remember what boredom feels like.

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  29. Those young whippersnappers need to be taught some manners.

    I hope you beat them with your cane.

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  30. We have one cell phone: it does not have a flip top, it is not a pretty color, it doesn't take pictures, and it is not teeny tiny.

    But it makes calls, and that's all we need.

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  31. Anna would have had it figured out in about 6 minutes. Of course she would have used all your minutes up too.

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  32. It is a good thing you and I aren't manning any space shuttles. It would be certain death with all the buttons and technology.

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  33. Next time just give it to little Susie and ask her to show you how to work it. Kids have instincts about things like that.

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  34. My children get upset because "you never have your phone on!" Well, I do, but only when I want to make a call or need to hear from someone while away from home. If someone wants to call me, they can call my home phone and leave a message if I'm not there. I think the cell is for MY convenience, a concept which I guess drives some people in my life crazy. Civilization has survived for thousands of years without cells.

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  35. Suburban Correspondent, you are my hero!

    You go with your bad self, demanding an explanation for things that the twenty-something childless crowd take for granted. I might just follow suit tomorrow at my cell phone provider.

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  36. I got one of those 2 years ago and I never run out of minutes. I still don't know how to do half of it either. Same problem with just about anything that uses electricity that I get, it does so much junk I never have time to learn how to do it all.
    I think I was bored once back in 1979. Glad to know I'm not alone.

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  37. Sean and I went all wireless a few years ago and since we got a bill that counted it up for us I now know that we only talk on the phone for about 100 minutes a month. Yes, that 100 minutes between the two of us. With out a land line. We finally got so sick of the bad reception and lost phones that we went back to a land line and one prepaid phone (I must have a cell phone for when I'm on call) for which I bought 100 minutes... 6 months ago.
    My 5 year old knows how to take pictures on it. I don't.
    Obviously, I'm not a teenager.

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  38. Frigging cell phones.

    Riddle me this: WHY do you have to hold down the END BUTTON in order to TURN IT ON?

    Frigging engineers.

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  39. The ability to use and understand technology is wasted on those too young to afford it.

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  40. Wait. Have you been watching me?

    This totally could have been my post. I am so afraid of my cell phone that when it rings I gasp and my daughter has to say "Do you want me to get it?" She has taught me how to use my cell phone - little by little of course.

    The thing is, kids aren't afraid to "mess around with it..." because they know they won't ruin it. We're afraid to mess around with all these gadgets. Kids have no fear in this electronic age.

    And those customer service reps in the cell phone stores? Don't they all look about 12?

    I came across your blog from Susiewearsthe pants; and look forward to getting to know you through your posts.

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  41. I feel your pain. I am scared that one day I will wake up and not know how to operate anything anymore. Now that's a nightmare!

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  42. Bored? Bored?

    I only about 6 months ago got a phone with a camera function. And that was only because the store didn't have one without. It's ridiculous. I can take pictures, but I can never figure out how to upload them, or find the little thingy that's necessary to do it.

    This was hilarious.

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  43. It is such a pain to figure out a new cell phone. And I get so frustrated. And I can't remember the last time I was bored, with nothing to do but fidget with my phone.

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  44. My self-esteem died years ago when I couldn't figure out how to record a TV show.

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  45. That is very funny. You could have sent someone from that generation over the edge by adding, "I don't even text". That would have sealed the deal.

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  46. Har!
    I don't even OWN a cellphone. I figure I only leave the house rarely, so why bother?

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