Once Upon a Budget Mishap
June 13, 2018
One of the side effects of budgeting is an awareness that every dollar spent is a dollar not spent on or put toward something else.
So, recently looking for a new cell phone to replace my cracked-screen-and-sluggish-Nexus, I was lured in by a steal of a deal at a well-known big box store. $199 for an iPhone 6, as long as you agree to use StraightTalk as your service provider, seemed like a really good deal!!
I have used StraightTalk for years and enjoy the flexibility and contract-free nature of their service and have had very few problems with it, so this felt like a no-brainer. Cool new phone for a good deal and same good service? What could go wrong?!
It turns out that the phone was not so cool after all.
I know iPhones are, in general, great and people love them. But this phone had really poor sound quality. As in, it sounded like everyone I was talking to was speaking to me through a sock, miles away. Everything else was pretty good, but as a phone’s original and primary purpose is to talk to other people on it, I decided to exchange it after 4 days of questionable calls. Maybe I just got a bad one, I thought.
Last Tuesday found me at my least favorite retailer at 8:30 pm. I rarely go to this particular store and never go to this particular location because of the sketch factor. But it was close and I thought it would be just a quick drop-in.
It was a 45-minute saga of reminders as to why I am very choosy about my excursions to this store and only go very rarely.
Highlights you might enjoy hearing about:
- Jordan, the cashier in Electronics, ended up being really nice even though he initially appeared really unhelpful.
- Jordan commanded that register. As in, I watched him accidentally drop a customer’s receipt, and the customer apologized to him and picked it up himself. That is command, people.
- Jordan has only worked there for two months. The store and especially his department are understaffed.
- Jordan’s department is down a person because his coworker was fired and is going to jail for stealing $3,000 worth of stuff.
- The Lion King menu was playing. Over and over. And over and over and over and…you get the idea. I really should have found a remote and just started the dang thing.
- A lot of people check out in Electronics and were not to be deterred by the line I was creating even if they complained loudly about it.
- Speaking of lines, I had the honest-to-goodness thought that “People die in these stores at the hands of fellow shoppers, and, as the cause of this 12-minute line, I’m the one with the target on my back.”
The best part of this all? That new phone was no better than the other. After spending ~10 hours trying to get the iPhone situation to work, I opted to go back to my sluggish Nexus for the time being. Sometimes what you know is better than the new fancy thing that doesn’t work very well.
- Sometimes a budget option isn’t the best.
- Even if they get you in an occasion pickle like this, budgeting and budgets are still the best.
- Prepaid cell providers can work really well and save you a bundle. But only if you’re using a nicer, non-budget phone. Or if you get lucky with a rare combination of cheap phone and cheap service.
- Don’t steal stuff. I feel like that’s the advice Jordan’s co-worker would like me to share with you from jail.