Everyone has a smart phone these days. That, or you’re living in the stone age. The thing is, those phones can be expensive if originating from certain brands. And as I learned over the beginning of this year, they can be very costly.

I first got a iPhone in the winter of 2011. I’d lost my job and had taken a temporary one as a Bell Ringer for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign. At the time I had a Pay-As-You-Go phone with the computer keyboard layout. I’d kept it in my back pocket to keep track of time and didn’t take it out when I went to the bathroom. That decision eventually cost me.

Three days in I was wearing a pair of jeans with shallow pockets. I went to the bathroom, pulled my pants down, and–plunk–the phone fell into the toilet and promptly died. I ended up having to use the money I earned–almost all of it as it turned out–to get a new phone. I got a contract with a cell phone provider to get an iPhone 3 and was thrilled for many years, before my contract ran out and I upgraded to an iPhone 5. This phone lasted for awhile as well, before trouble caught up with me.

In September of last year I started working at my current job. I’m a sales floor associate and–aside from having to deal with an occasional customer–it fits me well enough. I’m also pretty much left to my own devices and can go on my lunches and brakes as I wish–within reason. To keep track of time I decided to keep my phone in my back pocket and it worked for awhile. Then around December I made a familiar, but fatal, mistake. I went and used the bathroom without taking my phone out first. History repeated itself and my phone took a fatal dive into the toilet.

Suffice to say, I wasn’t happy. On the other hand, I had insurance that covered loss or damage and it only cost me $100 to replace it. From then on I always removed my phone from my pocket and felt that the lesson was fully learned–up to a point.

A couple of weeks later I was doing my laundry at the local laundry mat. I was on my own and had to use the bathroom so I took my purse with me. I placed it on the back of the toilet, used the bathroom, and then–for some inconceivable reason–decided that I needed to close the lid. My purse was resting on that lid and when I made the attempt it pitched over. I caught my purse, but the phone slid out. I didn’t catch that. And yes, it fell into the toilet and died.

Round three involved paying $200 and keeping my purse and phone as far away from toilets as possible. I still kept my phone in my back pocket which–in hindsight–wasn’t a good idea. Did it take another tragic dive into a toilet? No. It went missing. MIA. Gone. Disappeared In A Puff Of Smoke. One minute I had in my back pocket and the next time I went to pull it out, it wasn’t there. I tried using my mother’s phone to locate it, but the battery had died. Furious, I go to see about replacing my phone only to learn that I can’t. Apparently, my policy was such that–if you made a set number of claims within a certain period of time–they’d remove your insurance policy and won’t replace your phone. I nearly hit the roof.

With some help from my parents I got a–relatively–inexpensive Pay-As-You-GO smart phone. So far I’m pretty happy. It does practically everything my iPhone’s did, but is a fraction of the cost. Still, the transitions been ruff as I’m still under contract with my old phone and am obligated to pay it off. I plan on doing that within this next week and putting this all behind me. Nonetheless, it was a painful lesson to learn.

And an expensive one.

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Disclaimer: I do not own the imagery used in this blog post and have no artistic claim to it.

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