In The Land Of Jack And The Bean Counter

911 60 cent charge
Pre-paid bill with 911 surcharge.

Depending on circumstance, I can get away with wifi usage on my phone when I enter the US. On the drive from PHL to Eastern Shore MD there are a few places one can stop to get a cup of earl grey, yawn from the transatlantic flight and check messages. And since the powers that be can’t seem to do the right thing when it comes to getting rid of “roaming”, it makes no since using cellular on a German contract while visiting the Homeland. Wait. Pause. I throw up in my mouth every time I use that Orwellian word. Nomatter. The reality is, and as most folk know, living rural in the US also means bad cell coverage. At least that’s the way it was up till last year. And so. If the circumstance warrants it, sometimes I buy a pre-paid SIM and then go with that for the time I’m here, which rarely exceeds two weeks. Btw, I highly recommend t-mobile’s pre-paid stuff. Nomatter. Here’s the thing (circumstance) with this trip. Since my birthday and xmas kinda intertwine my better half went ahead and allowed me to splurge this year. She too was gettin’ pretty perturbed with all the bitchin’ & moanin’ regarding my dilapidated iPhone 4s. And so. Upon entry into the Homeland (sniff, gulp, breath) I headed from PHL south to the infamous DE Apple Store. Infamous because this particular Apple Store holds spot #2, after the flag ship store in San Fran, of selling the most iphones in the country. I reckon duty-free shopping will cause folk from New York, New Jersey, PA, DE, MD, etc. to buy their fun here. As far as coming from Germany, not only do I save the tax but, for whatever reason, German iPhones are priced almost one hundred dollars more than in the US. Plus, German tax is sixteen percent. But I digress. §I went ahead and picked me up a new iPhone 6s last night. Went around the corner in the mall and also got a pre-paid sim. Unboxed my new jewelry device, slipped the sim in it and BOOM-baby. Have to get used to the new size and texture of the device. Quite different than a 4s. I’m not really feeling the love of the rounded corners and the slippery finish, but I got a case to cover that. All in all, first impression, this is one heck of a phone. I’m really digging the force-touch thing. And although I fiddled around with the 6 model in Germany a bit, the 6s doesn’t actually feel all that much faster–except for the fingerprint reader. Enough with the pseudo product review. Two things happened with this new consume-to-survive purchase. §First. Check out the pic above. I asked the guy at the t-mobile counter what the .60cent was all about and he said it’s required so that carriers can cover the cost of being forced to enable all cell phones to access the emergency number 911. What? I couldn’t believe what he was telling me. You mean, cell carriers can’t get together and find a way to finance something as simple as this, even though it’s obviously mandated by law? Wow, dear worst-reader. It is truly astonishing to witness first hand how low the corporate mindset can sink. It also proves that there is no bottom to all that sinking. Yeah. .60cent. This is how you nickle and dime a country to death. §Second. Once I paid my bill for this life of luxury and digital enjoyment, I hooked my new phone up to my car charger to give a full charge during the two-hour jaunt south and thought: Gee, I’m still in relative proximity to civilization, try out Siri to help navigate to the proper highway exits and then get me on Route 1 which would take me to my destination (the tax-free liquor stores of Rehoboth.) Obviously Siri worked flawlessly. But then I was waiting for the cell signal to start waning. I used to be able watch the bars drop one by one the further south I drove. They did drop, too. But get this. I averaged two bars and LTE coverage the whole way down the coast. And I can’t help but wonder if it’s because of .60cents. Rant on. -Tommi