Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Planned Obsolescence

This was my first Sprint phone, I loved it and
I should never have let it go
I've had a non-smart phone through Sprint for at least ten years now.  I don't have any loyalty to Sprint, in fact I kind of hate them, but it turns out that I hate the idea of shopping around for a new cell phone provider even more than I hate them, so I stay.  Sprint's contracts last two years, and I've noticed that almost exactly every two years, right when it's time to re-up, my battery starts to break down.

The first time, it was a bit curious.  I went in with a phone I really liked and told them that I just needed a new battery.  The salesman, a college undergrad, flirted with me aggressively, made me really uncomfortable, and eventually I agreed to upgrade to a new phone.  After all, it was free, it was slightly better than the phone I had been using, and I just wanted to get away from this kid so I thought pleasing him would be the fastest way.

So I 'upgraded' to this phone:
It was slightly smaller, had a color screen and it had a camera, so I figured it was a step up.  Except it was a total lemon.  This is hands down the worst phone I've ever had, and I spent two years just hating it.  It would lock up all the time and just remain in a frozen state, there was no indication when the battery died and the battery life was significantly shorter.  There were other problems/ annoyances too, but I won't get into all that.

I called Sprint and asked what would happen if I broke my contract because one of their employees sold me  a crap phone I don't want, and they just said "It would cost $150."

So I stayed.  I toughed out the two years with the worst phone ever, and eventually upgraded again to a phone I had done meticulous research on and that I just ordered online to avoid dealing with salesmen.
It's the same brand as that first phone I had and loved, and this little guy has brought me nothing but happiness for nearly two years.  The only problem is that the reason I know it's been two years is my battery mysteriously went dead the other day.

I used my phone primarily as an alarm clock and texting device, so I only need to charge the battery every two weeks or so.  Last Thursday, I had a phone appointment that was scheduled to run about 45 minutes, so I charged my phone beforehand, but noticed that the battery was completely dead a mere three days later.  It could be that I wandered into a place where I don't get a signal (I can't really get a signal anywhere), or I forgot to turn it off at work, or I could, once again, be the victim of planned obsolescence.

If that is the case, I plan to just buy another battery, and then stay month-to-month with Sprint until another option presents itself.  I've been looking into other, even cheaper cell options, but so far none of them allow me to keep this phone and all of them make me a bit skeptical.  The last thing I want to do is finally break up with Sprint and then have to come crawling back--like a sucker.

The funny thing, to me, is that I don't buy into planned obsolescence, for the most part.  I don't need the newest and best everything; I rarely upgrade if what I have works; I am a manufacturer's worst nightmare.  Except they found a way to get even those of us who won't play along.


  1. I used Tracfone for years, simple phone (no camera, no frills), the battery was still going strong but I wanted a phone with more features such as a camera. I bought a fancier Tracfone and it was a lemon. At least Target let me return it for a refund. After that I finally decided I really wanted a smartphone, could afford it, and got an iPhone and a contract. My contract is up next May. Hmmmm....

  2. Check out, you can use your sprint devices. Month to month plans, great rates. Super super super support.