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Technology Woes

“Can you help me with this fool thing?” My 80 year-old-friend Laverne held out a Walgreen’s bag with her new Trac phone in it. The storm knocked out her landline and her old cell phone was kaput.

Just Look Through Five Pamphlets

We settled in to activate her phone online. The “quick start” instructions said she needed her phone ID number and the pin number. After sorting through five different pamphlets, we located the information we needed and got the phone activated.

What’s This Message?

However, the phone displayed a message she could only make emergency calls because the “SIM card was not found.” What? Is that like the card in a digital camera? Where was it?

This meant we had to call the dreaded 800 number on my cell phone and enter Laverne’s new phone number. The voice told us we would have an 8-minute wait and suggested it would call us back at our number, if that was more convenient. Duh. The new phone did not send or receive calls, so that wouldn’t work.

On Hold (sigh)

I put my cell phone on “speaker” while we waited.

“What’s that noise?” Laverne asked.

“I’m on hold,” I explained.

“Is that supposed to be music while you wait? It sounds like pans clanging together.”

“I know,” I agreed. I took it off “speaker.”

“I can tell I don’t like this new phone, already,” Laverne said. “I like a phone that folds shut. This fool thing is going to be turning itself on when I don’t want it on.” Yep. We discussed buying a case for it.

“That’s how they get your money. If they made a phone that closed you wouldn’t need a case.” Yep.

Hurrah, It’s Our Turn

Once the nice lady came on the line, I almost felt sorry for her, having to deal with the blind leading the blind. First, she verified the phone number we just activated.

“Please turn off the phone and turn it on again.” Of course. This is the time-honored solution for all computer problems. But the “Missing SIM Card” message still displayed.

Then “Please take off the back of the phone and remove the battery so I can verify if the SIM card is placed correctly.”

You’ve Got to Be Kidding

I thought a phone was one of those things you never remove the back from, on penalty of electrocution, but I managed to do as she directed. The battery was a funny oblong thing unlike any battery I have ever seen. I lifted it out carefully.

There was nothing underneath the battery. One little white rectangle of tape and another piece of tape with the phone ID info.

“Please remove the SIM card.”

“There is no card. Just the two rectangles of tape.”

“The white rectangle is the SIM card.”

“You have got to be kidding. There is no way I can lift that up and replace it.”

I Won This Time

This went on for awhile. She was a very patient lady, I will say. I prevailed in this case. I knew the phone would be ruined if I lifted the white rectangle. Even after I gently prodded each corner it showed no signs of removability.

I carefully replaced the battery, lining up the coppery-anode-thingies. I’m not sure if those were lined up before. Maybe that was the problem.

After replacing the back on the phone, we turned it off and then on again. Lo and behold, the SIM Card Message disappeared. We then placed a call to my cell phone and the nice lady also called the Trac phone from the call center.

Your Transactions Have Now Been Completed

Once those two calls were successful, she said, “All of our transactions have now been completed.” I almost laughed. Remember when they used to say, “Is there anything else I can help you with?” Can’t say I blame her, but I didn’t let her off the hook that easily.

“Please show me how to set up the voice mail box,” I asked.

“Of course, ma’am.” We went through those steps.

This time when she said, “All of our transactions have now been completed,” I let her go, imagining her running screaming out of the call center to the nearest bar. Laverne and I were ready to join her.

“Well, your phone works and I set up your voice mailbox,” I said to Laverne.

“What’s that?” she asked.

One More Problem

There is one more problem. We made an outgoing call, but when we practiced incoming calls neither of us had the right finger pressure to answer the call. We tried stabbing, dabbing, just using a fingernail, but the darn thing kept ringing.

Oh, well, the call will go to voice mail. And the landline is supposed to be repaired tomorrow morning.

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