I’m not in an altogether nostalgic mood right now. In fact I’m in rant mode and to say that I’m furious is an understatement.
A certain phone company who I would love to name and shame has been stealing from me. That’s right STEALING! There is no other word to describe it. I’ve been fobbed off with a whole bunch of pathetic reasons, excuses and justifications and I’m ashamed to say I even doubted myself. However, the latest bill is so unbelievably shocking that there is no way some smooth talking customer service representative (also known as liar. Service? What an insult to the word!) can convince me that I must have made more calls than I’ve realised. With the hours I work it’s virtually impossible; Most days, I don’t even have the energy to talk to my husband let alone anyone else!
Having spoken to various people, I now understand that this problem is more common than most of us realise. Even the solicitor from whom I sought legal advice and the bank cashier I spoke to have all had the same problem. I’ve been advised to cancel the direct debit and make bill payments instead. I will also be taking this matter further as I refuse to let a bunch of crooks masquerading as a legitimate business help themselves to my hard earned money. I’ve been told that this was typical of phone companies and a friend who has worked for a major phone store admitted that there are all sorts of underhand tactics that those working in the phone industry employ. So why are they being allowed to get away with it? They do so because a) no one kicks up much of a fuss and b) phones are virtually a necessity these days so we are all easy targets for phone companies or scammers as I should say, who want to make money literally at the expense of their unsuspecting (or suspecting but helpless) customers.
The sensible thing to do would be to wash my hands of anything that even slightly resembles a mobile. But is that so easy to do? I went to school in the 1990s when mobile phones were becoming more accessible for everyone so I grew up with the concept that a phone is vital. Then there are practical reasons; I might need it for an emergency; someone may urgently need to contact me and as a freelancer, I need a phone for work. Also do I really want to be the only one in the village without a phone? Probably not!
However, peer pressure isn’t a good enough reason to keep shelling out for extortionate phone bills. I still remember life back in the 1980s when the only people who had mobile phones were the young, upwardly mobile crowd – and those were not phones you wanted to be seen with in public (not so much bricks as breeze blocks!) Those of us who didn’t have them certainly didn’t feel as though we were missing out. In fact, my parents take pride in being the only people in the world (I’m sure) who don’t own mobile phones. They don’t give two hoots about the ridicule and when challenged about their lack of a phone, Mum replies that she has no desire to make phone companies richer than they already are; “And years ago people didn’t have mobile phones. How did we get by? We just did!”
An older gentleman with whom I went to drama school explained how he liked to live simply: “I don’t have a mobile or a computer… I don’t even have an email address. I prefer to live simply.” Maybe he had the right idea but is such a concept compatible with modern day living? I’m not sure I’m brave enough to find out but that doesn’t mean I want to be held to ransom just because I choose to have things which aid my everyday living. After all, these gadgets, gizmos and latest technological advances to which we so greatly adhere were meant to make life easier and more comfortable and the cheap deals that came with them meant that they were affordable and accessible to all. Instead it’s made us a society of stressed out and overanxious individuals who work harder than we should just to pay the (phone) bills.