Can You Hear Me Now? — Buy Nothing New for a Year!

cell-phone-in-snow-150x150So it’s safe to say that the second consumer tragedy has struck our home this past week with the loss of my cell phone in a snowbank on the side of the road, though rumors of its death are greatly exaggerated. There are times in your life where you wish you would have taken advantage of the extended warranty or insurance or “protection plan” or whatever, and this, dear friends, is one of those times. While I was clairvoyant enough to realize that I needed a super-protective case for my smartphone (phone=smart, me=not-so-much) I did not ever anticipate losing my phone inside of a slush puddle for hours.

Usually I walk to work, but with the recent snowfall, not to mention increased amounts of donation pickups in anticipation of Spring cleaning, I needed to drive the day following our last snow. Somewhere between unlocking the truck to fetch the snow brush, brushing said snow, and getting in to drive away, my phone managed to leap out of my pocket and into one of those slushy tire tread pockets in the road. All morning long I thought I had left it in the truck, but much to my amazement when I returned home for lunch later in the afternoon, I saw it waiting for me in the street. Cold, damp, lonely. Even the force of its nearly steel plated case wasn’t enough to protect it from the elements. My phone had met its final day.

Prior to coming to Thrift & Thrive full time, I spent a brief stint in management with the cellular side of a large main-qimg-c383ad292eaaaf68898ea31760902ecaretailer. Even I knew the old “throw your phone in a bag of rice” trick to dry it out when it gets wet. Unfortunately, and for my next act, nobody had ever taught me the old “DON’T power your phone back on until you take it to a repair shop for cleaning, or it will short out” trick. After 24 hours of what I felt was a sufficient time of leaving it in the rice to dry out, I powered it back on. Amazingly it started without hesitation. I was back in business! Little did I know (it would take me about 15 minutes to realize) the camera no longer worked. My business, as well as the blog, requires me to utilize my cell camera multiple times a day. This would be a problem. Back in the rice, I thought! Rice solves everything. It would be a full day before I realized that in addition to the still broken camera, I could also no longer take or place a phone call unless I was on speakerphone. Fantastic.

Luckily for me, I’ve got a guy in the business. He’s a neighbor of our Irving Austin Business District, about a 10 minute walk from our shop. I had previously done some business with him last Christmas when purchasing a used XBox 360 as a present for my brother, after finding out that his was not repairable due to its age and the dreaded “red ring of death.” I was hoping that the prognosis was better for my less than 5 month old Galaxy smartphone. It was not. Fried motherboard, I am told. Evidently, replacing the motherboard essentially means getting an entirely new phone. Luckily, and for a nominal fee, he was able to get it back up and running (it had previously died completely the day before) though I am still without a camera and a normal working earpiece for my phone. Basically it is a mobile Facebooking/WordsWithFriendsing device.

noJObJXR2ZSfniZVWithout insurance, it is impossible to get my phone replaced without buying a new one. This could easily be written off in the “business supplies” exemption, but that wouldn’t make for a very good challenge (or blog entry, quite frankly!) And while my phone is a legitimate business expense, it doubles as my personal phone, which does not make it exempt from our resolution. Since the phone is still so new, they are rare to come by, and even a broken one can run well over $100. Brand new, and unactivated, the phone retails for over $500. A used replacement in good working condition can run anywhere from $250 up. Not sure about you, but I really don’t have an extra $250 to spend on a used phone right now. I am going to attempt to purchase someone else’s broken Nexus on Ebay or Cragslist, and pray that the motherboard is still functional. The guy down at the repair shop said he will do the labor on the motherboard replacement for free since I already paid him and he was unable to get the phone to work at 100%. Sounds like a deal to me! In the meantime, if you call, make sure that whatever you say can be heard by a room full of people. Oh, and don’t expect anything better than re-appropriated stock photos from the web on the blog for the time being…

To be continued…

What do you think?