Stephanie Haines: My hand was forced on an expensive free phone


I’m not someone who is into all the latest technological gadgets. I don’t like the endless consumerism of constantly having to update my personal technology. I often feel that my older (or some would say, outdated) gadgets do what I need them to do. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Don’t get new stuff until you need to, not just because you want to chase the next shiny object.

Because of this attitude, I was accused of being a Luddite. If you’re not familiar with this word, it refers to followers of Ned Ludd, who was an English textile worker in the early 1800s. He and his bands destroyed machinery that they felt was taking away their jobs as weavers. It has come to mean anyone who shuns the progress of technology.

I countered that I am not against technology, but I feel that it should work for us and make our lives easier, not more harried and complex, as often seems to be the case. We should control it, not the other way around, as has become so prevalent in our society.

My iPhone is old enough that it has the flat, wide charger of many years ago. The bottom button fell off so it’s held on with masking tape. There are apps I can’t download because the software isn’t current enough. To me, this is a good thing because it means I won’t be wasting my time playing around on my phone.

I have an iPhone that is even older than this that I use exclusively as an alarm clock. That way I don’t have to keep my phone near my bed, and therefore be tempted to look at it when I’m trying to go to sleep. (This tip is mentioned in every article about combating insomnia.) I still use my iPod nano from 2009.

All this is a prelude to a highly amusing event. Because my phone was so out of date, I got sent a new one: an iPhone X. I have to admit, I let it sit in the box for six weeks because I just couldn’t deal with the frustration of setting up a new device. I finally got a message that they were deactivating my old phone, thus forcing my hand.

In its defense, it really wasn’t that much of a hassle to set up. And I was impressed that it still had a charge after sitting for six weeks (not being used, but still). I was a bit proud of myself for figuring out how to get my contacts transferred to the new phone. I couldn’t just transfer them directly because—you guessed it—my previous phone was so old that it couldn’t communicate with the new one.

Now that I was using the phone regularly, it finally needed to be charged. I took the charging cord out of the box only to find that it doesn’t fit into a USB wall adapter like every other device I’ve owned for the past dozen years. After conversations with coworkers I learned that this new form of technological sorcery is known as a USB-C port.

This meant that I would need to enter a store—in December, no less—and buy something, which is painful for me under the best circumstances. I found a $10 adapter and moved on with my life. That is, until another coworker insisted that I needed not only a case but a screen protector.

It sounds like it has the potential to become an expensive free phone. I know, it’s peanuts compared to how much this phone would cost if I’d purchased it. I guess the moral of the story is to hang on to your outdated technology as long as possible, and maybe Santa Claus will send you a free mandatory upgrade.

Stephanie Haines enjoys looking at life a little differently. She can be contacted through her website:


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