Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bundles and Party Lines

Today is finance day. I am spending the day with my least favorite companion....numbers. Factors, multipliers, denominators, percents all make me sweat. Somehow I know I am engaging myself in those processes while I pour over insurance renewal quotes, home warranties, my t-mobile plans, my cable bill, and new tires. I know that because when those darn math classes were required from First grade though college, my counselors assured me I would use these mathematical ingredients in life. Although, I have yet to get on a bus at one location and get off 5 times and have to calculate the distance between the stops and divide them by the change left in my pocket get back to start. Hello...... credit cards?

Addition and subtraction seem to still win out as the most utilized math processes in daily life. Robert Fulghum was right, all I really needed to learn, I learned in kindergarten. My daughter was mortified when she had to take her college math placement exam without a calculator! "Its stupid, we used calculators for the ACT test, why can't we use them for this test?" "Because they want to see if you can factor without a calculator, " I replied.
She placed in the lowest math class without a calculator. She got my genes.

I taped quarters to a greeting card today too. Its laundry money for my daughter. Primitive, I know , but the machines take 'em and I thought it would be cute and quaint  to get quarters from home.

Don't you remember the feeling of having to find and use quarters to do laundry?? I want her to be able to experience being on her own.

Yes,  I sent dollars too for other stuff.... I didn't want the whole thing to be kitschy. And yes, I could put cash on her Beak'em bucks card account, but that would be TOO easy!  You're missing the point over the quarters.... I used simple math to determine how many to send. Sharing simplicity to help my daughter survive.... or at least have clean jeans.

Detecting some testy tone? Its the cable company's fault. Well, first let me tell you about T-mobile.

I realize I seldom use the land line anymore. I even don't have a land line long distance plan. Since my daughter is in Kansas and the dorms there have no land lines either (hummm, they must know something.....) I noticed a peak in cell minutes and decided to evaluate my current plan. I could get a cheaper plan, no contract, triple the minutes with unlimited texting for what I am paying now??! What was the point of the contract? To keep me  inked at a higher rate while they created more options over the last year laughing at the dopes with contract plans? So I ask the guy what's the point of the contract if you lock me into a higher rate and give the the better rates to those without a contract? Phone purchase discounts. Oh... and did you know once you go to a non- contract plan, you can't go back on a contract? So if I find another better rate with another company, T-mobile would rather lose my business to a cheaper contract with another provider than take me back under contract later? The sales guy stammered and then said technically yes.

I am an hourly employee....not a high level executive... even I can see that makes ridiculous business sense. I have two phones still under the 'contract' even though I will be 'migrating' off the contract plan with one phone. Completely inane. I am not under contract for phone discounts now, but I can't shop around for another supplier until my other two phone's contract's expire next July.
I should have written something like that in the divorce decree.

I then bit the bullet and called the cable company to cancel the land line. Remember party-lines??? Economical and entertaining! I was in Kindergarten so I don't remember much besides what my mother told me about her experience with them. So simple then....

Sorry reminiscing....

Bundles. TV, Phone, Internet. Such a cute word should be banned in marketing. Its is not synonymous with free or buy-one-get-one. Its a way to make you pay for stuff you don't need... until you feel the stick of the economy... and relieve yourself of the bundle...you get stabbed with 'the savings'. I dumped the phone and then the bundle terminated adding \$10 to my bill. I know, inane again!

This is the funny part though.... I called on the land line to do the transaction, not realizing it would be effective immediately, so of course she told me to hold for 3-4 minutes and when she didn't come back after 5 minutes I realized the line was dead. Heck, when you sign up for service its not immediate!!

So I called back on the cell phone to finalize the transaction and clarify why I now increased my bill. "Oh," said the agent, "Let me put you in a bundle". Darn it, I thought, they are tucking me back in some crap marketing I thought I just got out of.

Wait hold the phone!

Her bundle is going to save me the \$30 I thought I was supposed to save in canceling the land line in the first place. No add-ons you say? None.  I am now snuggling the bundle but with one eye open!

My other financial fun of insurance renewal  and home warranty comparisons....Please hold, my brain hurts over contracts and bundles so I will save that for another day. Good Bye.