The Wired Conservation Society has declared the pay phone an endangered species. Poachers have been selling their parts to the video terminal manufacturers, handsets to Co-Los for tile lifters, and keys are quickly becoming popular as piercings. Unlike other nearly extinct technologies such as cassette tapes, typewriters, and the white Rhino, a pay phone is a means for instant and reliable communication.
You dropped a coin in the slot and you made a phone call. Change your mind, get your change. No answer, no problem, no charge, unless you got their answering machine (projected extinction 2037). You knew how much it cost, you paid for it, once you connected, it worked. Imagine that. Need more time, add some coins, and the call keeps going. Until you’re finished!
So why don’t we hold the cell phone companies to the same standard? Why pay for something which works maybe half the time? Did a weatherman design this? “That’s cellphone service” is something we just accept. If I rear-end the CEO of Sprint’s limo do I get out and say “that’s brake pads”?
Hey, hook me right up on a cellphone call, let me have a “conversation” (a verbal exchange of non-acronymic words between parties with patience the only limit), and I’ll gladly pay the bill. If I gotta make four cutoff callbacks, leave two half false voice mails, or there’s any mention of the words “hear me”, “bars”, or “dead spot” before staring down in disbelief at my cellphone, and I’ll let you know how much I thought it was worth.
No more plans or half-pages of non-sensical tariff explanations like the farmers landline non-use subsidy and 9-1-1 without ads. No more rolling over on your friends or family. No more waiting until 7 to start your weekend.
Keep it simple.
Just add a coin slot on the side of my cellphone, and I’ll pay, as you go. That’s right, be the Mabel of the new millennium, and you can keep the change.