The Daily Ping

The 1st Ping was published on January 6, 2000.

September 16th, 2006

Pay to Pay

So a couple of days ago my wife and I bought cell phones, which we’ll be using as our main phones. We went with Sprint and our offer included a free month of their so-called Sprint Vision – something that normally would cost us $15 per month.

It basically has email, web, ringtones, wallpaper, and junk like that. I figured I could use a nice wallpaper – which is incorrectly called “Screen Saver” on my phone – so I browsed what was available. And when I wanted to preview something, well, my jaw dropped. I had to… pay for the wallpaper. $2.00.

For 90 days.

That’s right! Sprint basically wants me to pay for the ability to pay for something that’s going to explode in 90 days anyway. I was genuinely surprised – this is ridiculous, and I’m not sure why/how people put up with this (do they?) You’re basically paying money to rent this phone customization and that’s it. That’s just silly.

I suppose if I had a boatload of disposable income, I’d not feel bad about spending $2 on this. But I don’t, so I would.

Posted in Technology

Steve A September 16, 2006, 11:21 am

When I got my cellphone, primarily for my catering/personal chef business, I asked the rep if they had anything that actually worked like a phone.
“HuuuH?” was the reply.
“You know,” I said, “it rings and you answer it. You don’t send email, take pictures, listen to music…. a PHONE.”
“Nope, they don’t make those any more.”

Sigh… sometimes technology cross thresholds they needn’t cross.


Ryan September 16, 2006, 7:11 pm

“Nope, they don’t make those any more.”

They do, sorta. I have a really cheap-o, crap-ass cell phone on a prepaid plan. They do text message, but no web browsing, no e-mail, no phone.

Merle September 16, 2006, 8:53 pm

I’m with you, Steve. I want the ability to increase or decrease ring volume or turn it off. None of this streaming video junk. I own a television, a stereo, and a computer, and I seriously doubt that the phone can do any of those as well as my unitaskers can.

Ryan: how much per month? I’m looking for an “emergency” cell phone, one with maybe an hour per month (for which I’m happy to pay) and very low fixed fees…

Paul September 16, 2006, 10:08 pm

Merle, I’m not Ryan (never have been) but I can tell you that we used Virgin Mobile for a while as an emergency cell phone. Worked well, and it’s on Sprint’s network; we went for the per-minute plan.

Merle September 16, 2006, 11:54 pm

Paul: every per-minute plan I’ve seen has bizarre extra caveats like annual “belong to our network” fees or “you must buy minutes up front, and, by the way, they expire in ninety days” deals. I really would not mind paying even a quarter a minute, but don’t want this to be another service where I’m paying a lot of taxes and base rates just for the privilege of being able to use it on the rare occasion when I want to. But if Virgin does that, I may break down and buy one…

Paul September 17, 2006, 2:02 am

Virgin does require a 90-day replenishment, Merle. Unfortunately like you, I haven’t seen any that don’t. Sorry.

Maria September 18, 2006, 3:49 pm

Paul, I’ve found you can get a data cable off ebay for about $0.99 plus shipping for pretty much any phone out there, then use a program such as BitPim or GAGIN and upload your own wallpaper (even ringtones if you wish to delve into that) to your phone.

Hence, my (free) Ewan McGregor phone wallpaper. 😉

What is this then?

The Daily Ping is the web's finest compendium of toilet information and Oreo™® research. Too much? Okay, okay, it's a daily opinion column written by two friends. Did we mention we've been doing this for over ten years? Tell me more!

Most Popular Pings