Friday, January 16, 2009

So Long, *.*. ********. Hello, Tracphone

That's U.S. Cellular I'm saying good bye to. No hard feelings against them, so I didn't want to use their name in the title and make it look like some kind of put- down. Tracphone just offered a better deal and I didn't feel comfortable keeping my old account with U.S. Cellular.

So, a couple weeks ago I went to Radio Shack in Eureka and bought a LG200C(?) flip phone with 20 free minutes. The 20 minutes should last me until March when I need to buy more time to keep my account active.

I'm not sure if it's today or Saturday that my account with U.S. Cellular closes, but today I'll take the Tracphone with me to work for the first time. My Motorola cellphone- the one I won in a sweepstakes last summer, pictured to the left- I'm not sure what I'm going to do with.

It's a $300 phone and I really like it. The gal I spoke with when I closed my account said I could sell it used for at least $150.00. I think I'll hang on to it and see if any of Connie's family wants it. If someone does, I'll give it away. Otherwise, it will be for sale. I'm open to any offers. It's already set up for U.S. Cellular. Not sure if it can be used with any other services.
Speaking of cellphones, I'm sure some of you have heard the National Safety Council has decided that there should be a ban on all cellphone use in vehicles, including use of hands- free devices. They haven't gotten active pushing the idea with Congress just yet, but it's on the way.

They suggest "incentives" be used with the states to encourage cellphone bans. You know what that likely means: Federal highway funding be cut unless states enact laws banning cellphones. That's what they did when they established a nationwide speed limit of 55mph back in the 70s.

I wrote here earlier that I opposed the California cellphone ban, back when it was being considered, partly because of the slippery slope we'd be getting into by enacting such a ban. Looks like myself and others were right and it's interesting that the NSC uses the same argument for their complete ban proposal that many of us used in opposing the California ban: It's the conversation that's the distraction, not the phone.

This editorial from the L.A. Daily News pretty much says it all on this latest cellphone ban proposal. Enough said.
Still, now that the California ban is in effect, I've expressed my satisfaction at knowing those of you who think you're so important that you have to talk on the phone all the time, might get a ticket. Saw a gal talking on the phone, of all places, the Eureka Winco parking lot- the last place someone should be talking on a cellphone.

The gal apparently just got in her car and was backing out of her parking spot. She couldn't just sit there and make her call. She had to start driving. She smiled at me as she backed up. I just glared at her. There was no excuse, at least as I see it, for what she was doing.

The latest news is there's mixed feelings about whether California's cellphone ban has been effective. I know it seemed, at first, that I saw fewer people talking on cellphones after the ban took effect. Now it seems like there's no difference. I see all kinds of people driving around with a cellphone up to their ear. Either that, or holding one down low so nobody can see they're using it.

That got me to wondering: Just what percentage of drivers can't stay away from their cellphones while driving? I've decided to do a test, albeit not all that scientific.

One of these days when the sun is up higher- I hate having the sun blast in my face horizontally- I'm gonna go get my folding chair and set it up in the front yard. Then I'll watch every car that drives up or down E street and take count of how many people are talking on their cellphones. I figure I'll try to sit there for a half hour to an hour. Should be interesting but not sure that the information itself will all that useful except maybe for blog fodder.

It will probably be at least a month or two before I do my test. I'll let you all know how it goes.


At 10:42 AM, Blogger Carol said...

I see people talking on their cellphones often and try to avoid getting run over by them. I don't think the $25 fine is enough to deter folks from continuing to talk on their cellphones. I am like you, Fred, and glare at folks when I see them driving while talking on their phones. Can we make citizen's arrests?

At 10:57 AM, Blogger Tapperass said...

I have always encouraged my clients to get Tracphones. It is very smart because they can only use what they pay for. I have one lady I work with who has a cell phone bill consistently over $200. For one phone!

We have tried for months to get it knocked down, but she won't get a Tracphone.

Oh well.


At 11:53 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Carol wrote, "I don't think the $25 fine is enough to deter folks from continuing to talk on their cellphones.".

I understand it actually costs quite a bit more than $25 after various fees and court costs are added to the fine. Seems to me I read somewhere around $90 was the average, depending on where you live.

Boy wrote, "It is very smart because they can only use what they pay for..

True, but the main thing that sold me is that any unused minutes you have left over when you renew your time gets rolled over as long as you buy more time every 3 months.

I got Connie a Tracphone a few months ago if for no other reason that to see how it would work out. She uses a cell phone even less often than I do. So, when she needed to buy more time (the phone display constantly reminds you of your renewal date) we bought 60 minutes for $20.00. With her unused minutes from before, now she has something like 90 minutes and when she renews again in March, she'll probably have around 150 minutes.

One thing I found interesting was when we were snowbound in Willits coming back from SF last time, I had her call her parents using the cell phone. They say it costs double minutes for roaming with Tracphone but it seemed to me it only used up the minutes she actually was on the phone, not double minutes, unless I figured her time wrong.

And if you keep piling up more and more time, who cares if they charge you double minutes on the rare occasion you make a roaming call anyway?

I just wish I could of used my nice Motorola phone instead of having to buy the cheap LG phone, but, I never paid for the Motorola so it's not too big a deal.

At 4:05 PM, Blogger Doc Anchovy said...

Let them eat land lines.

At 2:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before buying a Tracfone, check into Net 10, it's a prepaid provider (owned by Tracfone) whose rate is always 10 cents a minute. Tracfone's base rate is at least .20 per minute.


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