Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Turned Off Texting

Why would I go through the effort of turning off such a useful feature as texting?

Simply because for the expense of the texting, I don't perceive any value - basic cost-benefit analysis.

So if you are sending me a text message, it's just going to go into a black hole and disappear.

Let me take this back a bit.  I was very late at getting into the whole Cell Phone Game.  I wasn't one of those people who was standing on the sidelines waiting for it to be perfected yet, I just didn't see a need for a cell phone in my pocket.   I had a wired phone, at home, with an answering machine all through the 80s and 90s.  At work I would either be in front of a PC, in a meeting, or on the office phone.  You know, actually doing my work.

I was always in a position where I was the lead of whatever job description I was doing.   When I was a programmer, I was the one people came to for help.   When I was an analyst, I would be in long conversations with the department heads, end users, subordinate analysts and programmers.   If I was away from the desk, everyone knew I was off fighting fires and doing something "Important". 

I even had a department head user give me a fire engine for my desk because I was her "Fire Chief".

This person was a real tough woman, and someone who didn't like someone because it was politically correct.  You had to earn her trust and when I left that job she said that if I didn't use her as a reference, she would "Hunt Me Down".

So even getting a cell phone was a concession.  When I was preparing for the move to South Florida, the year we decided to do it, I came down on a long vacation and got a phone with a 954 area code.  Broward County, Florida.  I've had that phone for more than 5 years now and all the time I had it, I had a basic plan.  When I'm working as a consultant, it serves as my office phone so now, I have the need for it so my clients can reach me.  If they do get the phone and I don't answer it, its because I'm doing something important and I'll get back within an hour.   It is turned on when I get dressed for the dog walk at 6AM, and I turn it off at 930PM every day of the week.

Getting a text that started out at being five cents a message then up to 20 cents a message was not going to make that any better, it simply got me annoyed.  Every time I heard the text message sound off on the cell phone, I'd go "Red Zone" and ask who the hell is doing that and telling the cell phone that "I don't do Text".  Thankfully most folks realize I'm a lost cause and just call and leave a message.

This weekend was the last straw.   I got a "junk text" from some low life business at 347-925-8858 and took matters into my own hands.  

First step was to call the number back.  They had a full voice mail box, most likely from people yelling at them for texting them with a junk text.

Second step was to call T-Mobile.  I got into their queue and turned off the texting.  FINALLY.  T-Mobile never had that feature before since their software had to be upgraded to turn off texting and leave the announcement that you had a voice mail message on your phone.  AT&T has had that option all along, if you have no plan for texting on your cellphone contract, you didn't get any texts from anyone but your answering machine/voice mail.  Very convenient and logical. 

I have been happy with T-Mobile all along even when I had to stand in the back bedroom of the third floor of the house and sit in the window well to take a call clearly.  I hear that situation improved in that neighborhood in Philadelphia.  Here in Florida, my cell service is perfect and clear.

Third step was to report the call as a junk call to www.donotcall.gov which is the list that blocks you from the telemarketers here in the US.  I'm sure the UK and the rest of Europe have a similar law.  Telemarketers have no right to reach into your pocket to cause you to listen to their sales pitch. 

This particular spammer seems to be connected with Wal-Mart somehow since there are a number of websites with "Who Called Me" in their purpose.  It apparently is a New York City company that is doing the bidding of Wal Mart offering people between $25 and $200 gift cards and will not stop when you text them stop.  Mine was a generic $200 and a $25 visa card for "Visting our site".  Not very effective when you can't even say which site it was in the message.

Rule number one of Marketing:  Do Not Annoy Your Customers.

So friends, feel free to call if you have my number.  Telemarketers, if you call be prepared to be yelled at.

But forget the text.  After watching my Network Administrator break his discussions with me in meetings with the owner of the company to take and respond to a text, I'd probably ban texting within any department I manage in the future.

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