L. The Digital Divide (29)

I lost my cell phone.   No big deal.   It was so complicated, I never really used it much.   However, my wife-type, Margaret, demanded I get a replacement because of old age possibilities.

Okay, but I want a “simple” phone.   Just calls…outgoing calls, incoming calls, taking messages maybe.   And bigger numbers, to accommodate both my vision and the size of my fingers.

Asking around, I was told several renditions of, “Well, they just don’t make a simple one anymore.”   Why not?
“You bend to them, they don’t even think about you.”
Again, why?

Being a Luddite is not a rarity among us elderly.   There are lots of us.   Is our money no good?   What happened to supply and demand?   Moreover, are these guys really that smart if they alienate a large and lucrative market?

So…We call about a new phone, Margaret did the talking  . She has an “I’m an old lady on a limited income” approach that is nothing but impressive.   The word “simple” is repeated often in the conversation in describing our needs from this phone.

The “simple” phone arrives.  The instruction booklet is 166 pages long.

We attacked Step #1, Step #1 mind you of 166 pages…We attempt, and attempt, and attempt, to unlock the phone and put the battery in.

We tried for 45 minutes.   Enter NASA and a Rocket Engineer.

With the closing of NASA, several of their engineers have taken employment in our surrounding military bases.   One such family has recently moved in next door to us.   Aha!
The engineer, his wife and their two teenagers willingly agreed to help their elderly neighbors.

The six of us proceeded to spend 25 minutes trying to unravel Step #1…

My money had been on the two teenagers but it was neither the kids or the rocket scientist who ultimately solved Step #1.   The wife noted that while the picture demonstrated Step #1 (again just opening the cover) with the cover open, it was actually only possible with it closed…

The scientist went home without suggesting we move on to Step #2.   The phone remains on my desk.

“Call your next case.”

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