the minimaList: my 12 year old cell phone still works


I live in a pretty trendy neighbourhood, where it feels like people have the shiniest, newest accessories.  This is especially true when it comes to the latest technology.  I have friends with iPhones, iPads and Blackberrys.  And they are all stay-at-home mothers.  I contemplated getting an iPad for Christmas last year for all of five minutes.  However, our home is small and my home computer is never more than a few feet away.  And although the portability of an iPad is fantastic, I would probably never have an occasion to use it anywhere outside my home.  It just didn’t make sense to buy one in the end.

One item I do carry with me daily is a cell phone.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that I carry around some fancy technology with which to make phone calls to all my friends and family.  My cell phone is over 10 years old.  But it works just fine.  It can make phone calls and accept text messages (but I never use it for texting).  It even has call display!  I make, at most, one phone call on it per day. So I don’t really have a need for a cell phone with all the bells and whistles.

It feels like a backlash might be starting against smart phones and whether they are completely necessary, or more a tool that can have a negative influence on our lives.  The World Health Organization reported last week that cell phone use can possibly increase the risk of cancer.  Rachel wrote a post this week about how her life has benefited from letting go of her iPhone.  Katy from The Non-Consumer Advocate wrote a great post today titled, “Can You Be Smart Without a Smart Phone?”  I would argue, yes.  Here’s a few reasons why I haven’t bought into the smart phone culture:

  1. It’s expensive.  I’ll admit I think iPhones are cool for all their capabilities and I even checked into pricing this past weekend.  Whoa, Nelly.  I don’t really want to spend several hundred dollars to own that little piece of plastic, nor do I dream of spending over a hundred dollars a month for connectivity.  The cost alone is enough to deter me at this point, but there are other reasons why I’m not jumping all over a new phone right now.
  2. It would further enable to my love of the internet.  I tend to spend a fair bit of my free time on the internet when I am at home, surfing or reading articles or blogs.  If you were to hand me a device that allowed me to do that on the go, I’d be in real trouble.  It might develop into a habit I wouldn’t be too proud of, so for that reason, I’m opting out.
  3. It doesn’t jive with my personal values.  I don’t want to become one of those people that whips out their smart phone to begin texting someone else when they are in the middle of a conversation with a real, breathing person.  I am not defined by my connectedness to the internet, but rather my connectedness to other people and the enjoyment I derive from spending time with others.
  4. I want to be present in my daily life.  I want to appreciate the world around me, and that’s something I just can’t be fully conscious of if I have my nose buried in an iPhone when I am outside.  I want to see my kids running on the playground and playing with their friends, and I don’t need to be taking calls or checking my email while I do that.  I also want to set an example for my children that it’s important not to be tethered to a machine – it’s hard to set that example when you’re tethered to one yourself.

Maybe in the future I’ll reconsider getting an iPad or even make the leap to a smart phone with all the fancy apps.  Who knows, maybe I’m missing out on an enlightened life by not owning an iPhone.  But I’m okay with that.  For where I am right now.

Do you own a smart phone?  If so, do you feel it contributes to your life in a beneficial way?


4 responses »

  1. What a fun post! I do not own a smart phone and have no desire for one. I even have debated getting rid of my cell phone and instead getting a landline with an answering machine (and going full out old-school) or even getting a pre-paid cell phone. I agree with everything you’ve said here. One of my worst pet peeves is when people are on their phones when we are at dinner or in some sort of social gathering. I don’t think owning a smart phone would benefit me at all – in fact, I think people are relying on them even more so and becoming dumber. No longer do we have to figure out directions on our own, or spend the time before we leave to find a restaurant to eat at, etc…

  2. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one! 🙂 My phone is about 5 years old and is definitely not smart. There are times I would like to have a smart phone, like when I’m out and need a phone number, or directions, etc. But overall the value isn’t there for the cost. I’ve been debating getting a phone with a keyboard for texting for months. It seems unnecessary but I do text sometimes. It seems to drive Verizon and my boyfriend nuts that I continue to not upgrade.

    • Ha, I think my service provider thinks we’re crazy too! Our service plan includes basic service for the inexpensive price of $9 / month. We continue to receive flyers advertising a free upgrade to fancier phones, but knowing that we’d be paying more monthly for a contract period of three years just isn’t worth it to us. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Sorry to Necro this thread/post, but I thought my recent experience might bring some light on the issue.
    I must say that I am also a very light cell phone user, so I ditched the expensive per month plan and went with Kroger’s ” I-wireless” plan (which piggybacks on the Sprint network.) which lets me do a pre-paid plan for $20.00 every 3 months if I am careful on usage. (20cents per minute/outgoing text, but incoming text is free)
    I started with what is now an old Nokia that could only do texting and calls. It was great and I could get free minutes added to my account by shopping at Kroger. But unfortunately my Nokia started having battery problems with short life and also randomly turning the phone off. The cost of getting a new battery was at least $25-30, so when I saw that iwireless was offering a smartphone (LG Optimus) for around $50 new or $40 “reconditioned” I was VERY interested. The problem was I was not interested in going back to an expensive per month plan with data (or even their lowest plan with data at $10 per month for 100 minutes of calls and 50mb of data.)
    I then called the customer service # and the lady told me I would have change my plan to one with data if I wanted to get the smartphone. I was upset at this and then emailed customer service asking why I would be forced to buy a different plan just to get a phone I wanted. They replied that I would not be forced to buy a data plan but that it would be a bad idea to not have a data plan because smartphones can have background programs that use data even if you are not actively using it / surfing the web, and which would drain the minutes on my plan rather fast if I didn’t have a data plan.
    I went ahead and bought the reconditioned LG Optimus and sure enough it was using data as soon as I put in the battery and started getting it set up with customer service to get it working with my old phone #. The solution was I had to go into Settings > Wireless & Network Settings > Mobile Network Settings and then I turned off “Data Enabled” and “Data Roaming”. There is also a different place to turn off “Background Data” but I haven’t found that to be necessary and I want my phone to update using my home WI-FI anyways.
    So to address your concerns / reasons to not buy a smartphone, please see below.
    1. Not very expensive. $40 for phone and $20 every 3 months that I was already paying.
    2. Does not make me anymore of an internet junky because I can only use it with WI-FI.
    3. Becoming a rude person and using my phone while I should be paying attention to the breathing person in front of me is no more of a problem than it was with my old phone. At the price of 20 cents per outgoing text I’m not very worried about that happening.
    4. See 3. part A. How you use your phone is a personal choice, if you know you can’t handle temptation then maybe you shouldn’t have a smarphone. On the other hand, if you are like me and want more than an ipod, something that can do more than play music, like take pictures/video, make phone calls, Calendar, games, books. I have even heard it might be possible to use the gps function without a dataplan or having to depend on a cell tower nearby, but I have yet to test this out.
    Whatever you choose to do, I wish you well.

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