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Free phone Fri, Sep 30, 2005
I think it's funny how we as dumb people are totally consumed by offers for free things and mail-in rebates.  I'm, of course, no exception.  I always look for deals.  What's even funnier is the fact that we actually believe that something's free.  Have we forgotten TNSTAAFL?  Take cell phones, for example.  There's always a great deal on cell phones when you sign up for a new 2-year plan.  If you've ever looked at buying a brand new cell phone before your 2-year agreement was up, you'd realize how good this deal really is.  You can't get a cell phone without a plan for less than $100.  You can't even get a used one for that price.  But somehow, when we sign up for a 2-year contract, we get a free phone.  Here's what really happens:  that $200-$300 for that brand new camera flip-phone goes directly to your bill.  You say, "No it doesn't.  I pay exactly what the offer says:  XX dollars per month with XX thousand minutes."  You're right.  But the cost of those phones is factored into this monthly price even before you sign up.  So instead of paying reasonable prices for something like low-quality, unreliable cell phone service, we're forced to pay a minimum of $40 a month (if we're lucky).  But don't worry, you get 5000 minutes with that.  I don't friggin' care.  (Random math proof:  If there are 30 days in a month, 24 hours a day, and 60 minutes per hour, that's a total of 43,200 minutes per month.  There are about 8 days of weekends in a month.  That's 11,520 minutes.  There are 9 hours of "nights" for each weekday.  That's 11,880 minutes.  So in any given month, there are about 19,800 minutes of talking time that you can be charged for.  If you used all 5000 minutes on a cell phone plan, you would have talked on the phone for about one-quarter of the total amount of time available, not including nights and weekends.)  I'd much rather pay half that price for half the number of minutes.  Heck, I'd pay $30/month if I could get a reasonable amount of minutes (I know T-Mobile has this; their network isn't big enough).  The other humorous part about this is that we think, "Wow, Motorola is so nice.  They give away free phones."  Wrong.  No company would give anything away for free.  You could say it's because they're big, heartless machines who chew people up and spit them out.  But it also makes all the sense in the world to not give things away for free.  That's how profits work.  But I have to direct my anger towards something, so I'll choose the thing that has the least chance of finding out and coming to beat me up.  "I hate you VerizonCingularT-MobileMotorolaSamsungMicrosoft and I only use your stupid service because it's convenient.  As soon as something better comes along, I'll drop you in a heartbeat." #technology

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