Sunday, June 24, 2007

Payphone Robbery

I am sitting at Starbucks right now and I need to use the payphone. But I’m not going to.
The reason why?
Because the price of a payphone call here in the city of Ottawa has recently risen to 50 cents. Plus, I am a cheapo.
These two factors combined mean that I am not using a payphone anymore for any reason less urgent than calling for my own ambulance!
50 cents?

What has this world come to?
When I was a kid [ Oh my God, I have turned into my father]… when I was a kid, using the payphone costed a mere 10 cents.
That is fair, I think.
Ten calls for a buck! Excellent. Who can’t live with that?
Then it went up to 25 cents.
OK, I’m not going to jump off a bridge over it or anything. 25 cents. A quarter.
Still reasonable.
But, here is how the new Payphone Robbery recently revealed itself to me.
I was driving down Strandherd Street and stopped to use a payphone. Put in the 25 cents. Nothing. The display read out some jibberish about my having a 25 cent “credit”. But no call went through. I thought the phone itself was broken.
So I drove to the next phone booth.
Same deal. “Credit” but no call.
Then it dawned on me… this thing is wanting me to put in another quarter?
For 50 cents, I’ll write a letter!

Now here’s the thing.
99% of you reading this little rant of mine… you own a cellphone. So, the whole phenomenon of Payphone Robbery is irrelevant to you. PLUS, you are saying to yourself, “Cipriano, isn’t it time that you sort of got with the programme here and….”
I have previously spoken somewhere about what I think of our silly cellphone culture.
Plus, I think that holding it next to your head like that gives you brain cancer.
Hence, I will not buy a cellphone.
I would rather adopt a somewhat more radical, yet, in my opinion, more feasible approach.
I am going to quit phoning people altogether!

And might I just add one more thing here?
It is you people, the ones with cellphones, all 99% of humanity out there that have caused this Payphone Robbery. This 50 cent problem! It’s all your fault!
See, the phone companies have been losing money. Why? Because everyone is using their own cellphone.
So they hike the rates of payphone usage, to compensate.

Thing is, I think this strategy is going to backfire on them.
Because see, people like me, part of that last 1% who still think that the Indians did it best with their smoke signals and all…. this Last Vestige of Antiquity… many of us are going to give in, and finally GET cellphones.
Because of the Payphone Robbery.
Whereas, [are you following me?]…. the smarter thing for the phone company to do would be to revert back to The Age of the Dime!

But they’ve made their greedy quick-fix of a choice.
And I will not bow, nor give in.
For me, when I am away from home, I am going to maintain my NNFA-NNFP Rule©.
No Need For Ambulance → No Need For Payphone.

That is, unless I have to order a pizza.
There are still some phone calls that are… umm… non-optional matters of life and death!



Dorothy W. said...

No cell phone for me either. People tell me all the time I should carry one on my bike rides just in case I have an accident or something. But I hate having to be safe all the time, you know? Life is boring when it's too safe, when you can call someone for help whenever you want ...

cipriano said...

Thank you Dorothy!
Finally.... one other person in the world without a cell phone!
Are there others out there?
I don't even know what it is about them that bugs me so much... it's just, no, I can't pinpoint it yet.
When I delineate my angst, I will blog upon it!

Merisi said...

I confess I am a cell phone carrying member of the public.
I wouldn't know how to keep track of my kids otherwise. They are practically never near a regular phone. Besides it costs me 1 cent a minute to call them with my cell, whereas the regualar phone company charges me 35 cents for each precious minute. 34 arguments for a cell.

I still can laugh myself inwardly silly, though, when I hear conversations like
"I am walking by the Starbucks right now",
"I said, I was walking by the Starbucks right now!",
"No, the STAAAARBUCKS!!!!".
"Yes!", "I am AT the Starbucks right now.".
"Yes, I am having a coffee at the STARBUCKS."
"No, the other one!". "Yes, the one down the Street!".
"No, down the street!".
"No, the STARBUCKS!" ...........
"Helloooo! Are you still following me?"
......... :-)))

cipriano said...

Yeah Merisi. My own favorite joke about cellphones is the one about the "blonde".... [don't you just love these? You being a brunette, am I right?]... the "blonde" whose husband gives her a cellphone for Christmas.
On Boxing day he makes his first call to her, and she is in WalMart [of course, right? Aren't we all? Returning stuff, like?]
So she says, "Hello," and he replies, "Hi Honey, how's the phone working?"
And she says, "Great! But........ how did you know I was here at WalMart?"
Who can figure them?

Beth said...

I am part of the 1% of the population who does not own a cell phone. I figure in an emergency, just about everyone else has one and surely someone will make a call for me.
Speaking of emergency, it only cost me a quarter to make the call re: my ATM/debit card fiasco. Based on your sad tale, bet it get bumps up to 50 cents soon.

patricia said...

It's 50 cents to use a pay phone here in Toronto, too, Cip. I had that same experience – I had forgotten about that stupid increase and couldn't understand why the quarter wasn't doing the job. Damn annoying. And I'm sure I'll be cutting down on my pay phone use because of it. And I'll NEVER get a cell phone!!! EVER!!! You'll have to pry the quarters outta my cold dead hands, baby!!

Historia said...

I too do not have a cellphone and I was pi**sed to say the least the last time I went to use a payphone. Took me a good 5 minutes before I finally spotted the little notice above the phone that said - As of June 2, 2007, all local calls will cost 50c.

No wonder my calls were not going through. I had to find a shop and spend a TOONIE just to get another quarter so I could make the phone call.

I agree with the phone company getting greedy - and yes its the fault of everyone I see using cellphones.

Rant and Roar said...

At the 80 bucks a month I spend on my cell phone, you could make 160 calls from the old-fashion pay phone, according to my mathamatical genius (no spelling genius).

I remeber when we stood you up recently for the entmoot, you called me from the pay phone to whine and oplain about such standupishness. As sad story indeed, probaly enough sadnes to write a tradgic novel!