Why Do Cell Phone Companies Hate Us So Much?

What ever happened to the once-popular notion of the customer always being right? That shit went out the door around 2004, didn’t it? Think about some iconic store from some hazy year in the early-20th century. Sears. You bought one of them newfangled refrigimerators that magically keep your food cold at Sears on your last weekend dress-up trek to the big city. It worked for a while, kept your chicken and potato salad cold and amazed your neighbors with its complete and total lack of blocks of ice. Then it broke. You hauled it back to the big city, cussing under your breath at this modern nonsense, and returned it to Sears. They would give you your money back or a new magic colderator device. Period. Done. Now you’ve stopped cussing Sears under your breath. You’ll think positively of them the next time you need some modern city convenience. Yay, capitalism where the customer is at least considered in the equation of commerce.

Now fast forward to this ludicrous century. You’ve not only shelled out a few hundred bucks for a flashing pocket rectangle facilitating the lowest form of human communication since Grog the Cavemen grunted at his hunting buddy, Gren, about the saber-toothed tiger about to eat his baby, but then your wildly insecure phone company has forced you to sign a one-year loyalty oath (contract). Then it breaks.

What happens next proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that phone companies freaking despise you. They’re never overly polite like Sears, you’re only going to be able to communicate with the teenage desk chimps who are only there (until they get replaced by robots, it’s going to happen) to appear human, sort of, while they type some code into some computer to queue you up in the repair line, done by someone you will never see. Are they shipping it back to China to be fixed by the same army of hard-working six-year-olds who built it? Maybe. Will they let this incident free you of your contract? Probably not. Will they even say “I’m sorry, sir, please let me ________ and, while you wait, be sure to enjoy the smooth sounds of ________ while we sing a jolly work song and repair your ______ .” Oh hell no. You’re just one of their thousands of unnamed benefactors making some rich guy slightly richer. You’re just some code in some computer.

The top three ways phone companies prove that they absolutely fucking hate you:

1) They make you sign a contract. Isn’t this proof enough that down-deep they know their product sucks?

2) They all but force you to buy the new, equally terrible, version of their terrible product every few years. Sears purposefully built stuff to last. Verizon purposefully builds stuff to break, and they shamelessly tout the newest incarnation of their mobile insanity to get you to buy fifty or so phones in your life, when one worked just fine for your grandfather.

3) Their product is already the most dangerous drug on the planet. It’s turning everyone into a poorly-informed, hyperactive, angry goldfish with a seven-second attention span, a love for emojis (Wasn’t there a time when only toddlers used smiley faces to communicate?), an inexplicable hatred for Joe Rogan and the inability to read anything longer than four sentences without getting a stress headache.

If you ever get the opportunity in life to smash a cell phone with a baseball bat, do it. It’s cathartic. Know that wooden bats are more effective at the actual smashing, but metal bats make a more emotionally-rewarding sound.

My favorite tidbit of proof on this thesis came to us from Vienna, Austria about twelve to fifteen years ago. I heard a news nugget on the radio about the city planners in this ancient and picturesque metropolis having to coat their telephone poles with bubble wrap because idiot teenagers, too busy looking at their telephones to even look where they’re going, kept running into them. Essentially, they were child-proofing the town to account for the rampaging idiocy of people who would’ve been considered middle-aged adults back when Vienna was in its prime. If that doesn’t convince you to ditch your cell phone, nothing will.

Making streets safe, the bubble-wrap way

I have more faith in tin cans tied onto either end of a string than I do in 21st century phone companies. At least the aluminum company didn’t make you sign a one-year cantract.