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Cell Phone Mayhem

I found this article which I wrote for a newspaper column in 2015. It’s still appropriate for those born before the techno revolution.

You may have trouble believing this, but my cellphone got run over by a truck. I was walking along a gravel road and the little critter fell out of my pocket. Don’t ask how it happened; just know that I needed a new one.

Shopping for a cellphone replacement can be overwhelming to those of us raised before the techno age. When my grown children start spouting off terms like wi-fi and QR code, I felt like saying, “Can we speak English now?”

Let’s say you’re in my age bracket and went to the cell phone store. A conversation with the salesman might go something like this:

Salesman: “You’ll probably want a smartphone. It does everything a computer does, only better.”

Me: “No thanks. Just give me something I can use to call my friends, my kids, and the garage when my car breaks down.”

Salesman: “How about this one? It calls you to remind you of important appointments. And it can help you make Power Point presentations.”

Me: “How about one I can just make calls on?”

Salesman: “Here’s a good choice. It lets you ask questions of Siri. She’ll tell you anything you want to know.”

Me: “Oh good. Who’s going to win the World Series next year?”

Salesman: “Now you’re going to love this little model. You can stay in bed and it’ll turn on your microwave to heat coffee in the morning.

Me: “But I don’t drink coffee.”

Salesman: “Well, you can’t go wrong with this one. It can open the garage door on your house in Florida.”

Me: “I don’t have a house in Florida. And if I did, why would I want to open the garage? To let in my pet armadillo?”

Salesman: “Look at this one. You just say things and she translates into one of 15 different languages.

Me: “Oh really? Well, I don’t know anybody in other countries who doesn’t speak English, and I don’t have plans to travel overseas. Don’t you have just a plain cellphone that makes calls in case of emergencies?”


Cellphone shopping can be a challenge. And judging from current trends, bigger is better. But I didn’t fall for the hype and I didn’t walk out with a phone the size of a breadbox. Thanks to my kids, I’m all set up.

Just call me a plain vanilla consumer.

Your turn. Any thoughts on cell phones? Don't forget to use the comment box below.


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