Friday, May 9, 2014

Unlimited Data

A week ago, I attended a reception where I met a very successful, very driven, professional woman. She had a cup of coffee in one hand and a smart phone plus an iPad stacked in the other. As we talked, she bemoaned the fact that she never seems to be able to disconnect. Her colleagues and clients send her emails 24/7. And, if she doesn't immediately respond, they call to see if she's all right. For better or worse, this bright young thing has been so responsive for so long that she can never take a break.

Or, as my best friend's Nana Mimi would have said, "She made her bed."

I can't relate to this. Granted, there was a time when I was unfailingly conscientious too. But, at 52 with myriad middle-aged commitments, priorities and responsibilities ... um ... not so much anymore. Send me an email and I will certainly get back to you. But please, dearest, don't hold your breath.

To top it off, my new pal told me how much she hates her smart phone. "But, I can't switch providers," she shrugged defeatedly, "I'm grandfathered into unlimited data."

Now that, I can relate to.

When my now teenage daughter first got an iPhone, we shared a family plan that had all these complicated categories of calls and rollover minutes and a pool of shared data. It wasn't the most expensive plan we could get, but it certainly wasn't the cheapest. The guy at the phone store was courteous and helpful and tried to dumb it down for me ... 

May I stop here, please, and assure you that I am many things, but "dumb" isn't one of them. I'm happy to forward my high school — or university — transcript if you have your doubts. I run a business that actually involves complex marketing analytics (as well as lots of pretty pictures). Dumb, am not I.

I was, however, at least twice the guy's age, so he probably assumed I had already lost whatever cognitive abilities I had once had.

But, I digress.

We left the store with a plan in hand and all was well. Until it wasn't.

My daughter (with a September birthday and an overindulgent mother) was one of the earlier kids to get a smart phone. As more and more of her friends caught up, guess what happened to our data usage? It went up. And, guess what happened to our cell phone bill? It went up.

Through. The. Roof.

I called, frantic, and tried to get to the bottom of the sudden $100+ increase. The customer service rep offered to remove the overage (yes, they can do that!) if I changed plans. He recommended some options — none of which I understood. They all sounded good until the part when he'd say "... then if your daughter exceeds her data limit ..." 

"Just make it go away," I told him.

"Well," he hesitated, "You could upgrade to unlimited data, but it might not be the most cost-effective ..."

I interrupted him. "Just make it go away. Please." And he did.

The bottom line is that we pay a fairly high monthly bill. It's always the same (within about 50 cents, due to variable taxes, which I will never understand). It's predictable. I don't have to check line items of mysterious charges. Or nag my daughter about how much she's texting and what it's costing.

I have nothing against moms who choose to go another direction. In fact, I admire them. But right now, I have neither the bandwidth, nor the patience, to deal with à la carte mobile phone charges. I want the all-you-can-eat buffet. I want the one-size-fits-all. I want to set-it-and-forget-it.

Alas, my carrier has discontinued unlimited data options. We, however, like my harried new acquaintance, are grandfathered in.


Changing plans is absolutely not in my plans.

If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to order a copy of my new book Lovin' the Alien at   

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