#143: Telesluts

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

What is a teleslut? Any one of the numerous people that are slaves to their communication devices. Phones, pagers, and cells are the main enslaving devices. With the rapid increase of new technology in the communications field, more and more people are jumping on the bandwagon to have that technology. Normally I am all for that, as it gives more money to those developing the technology, and more research is done. In this case, it is causing more of the 90’s mentality to go with it.

Ever see the young corporate types walk into a building wearing a 30 dollar suit, 70 dollar pair of sunglasses, a pager, and a Motorola flip phone? They are trying to fit into the wealthy yuppie appearance to impress those around them. I have to wonder what one thinks when he runs into another one though. Since I am on both sides of the cell/pager market, and get to see the selling and the buying side, I get to laugh when I see these people posturing as if they are a high and mighty important person.

The truth is, in so many of the cases, they paid all of one penny for their phone. Most of them will usually pay about 15 to 30 dollars a month for overpriced service so they can retain the phone. After one year of getting ripped off, they keep the phone, and are able to go on about the same rate if they want service. If you were able to look at their bills for airtime, you would notice over 75% of them don’t even use their phones for 30 minutes a month. The other interesting part of their cellular plan is they get 30 minutes of air time without a charge.

With their pagers, they usually pay about 40 bucks for the pager, and 7 bucks a month for service. 90% of their pages are from friends wanting to bullshit with them. The original use of a pager is long lost in the desire to be cool and fit in. Look at how many 13 to 18 year-olds carry pagers at school. All their friends are in school with them (some have dropped out), so they have no legitimate need to carry it, yet they do. It has become a status symbol.

I have a pager myself, because I run a business out of my house, work a 40 hour a week job, and don’t spend too much time at the house. I have cell service because I get a huge discount since I am a reseller of cell service. If I only worked and stayed at home, I wouldn’t have a pager. If the service wasn’t so cheap (3 cents a minute), then I wouldn’t have a cell phone.

I live in Denver (USWest territory), so the following section applies to that phone company (and some others probably). USWest is pushing for more add-ons to your normal service because it makes them money. Stop to think about the services they offer. Voice mail? Convenient, but over one year of paying for it, you could have had an answering machine that would last at least a couple of years. Call forwarding? To what, that pager or cell phone you barely use?

The biggest rip off service they offer is Caller ID. I am constantly amazed that the stupidity of the people I deal with in regards to phone service. People go to stores wanting the little caller ID box, and spend from 45 to 90 dollars on a unit with ‘the most features’. Half of them go home, plug it in, and bitch at the store because it doesn’t work. After they realize they have to have the service from the phone company, they bitch at USWest because they keep getting ‘Call Blocked’. It costs them just under 10 bucks a month for the service. On top of that the expensive box. Why? So they can tell who is calling them right? Why does USWest offer another service for FREE that allows a phone subscriber to have ALL OUTGOING calls from their house PERMANANTLY blocked for Caller ID?

When I make a call from my place, it is automatically Caller ID blocked. For those who don’t call to have that put on their line, they can just hit a three button ‘star’ code and block it for that call. So the customer paying all the money is not getting what he or she payed for in most cases. If someone is going to take the time to prank call you, do you think they are not going to block Caller ID?

Overall, people are paying a ton for these services. Upwards of 25 bucks for the phone bill, 30 for the cell, 7 for the pager, all so they can be reached any time, any where. People are gladly getting ripped off, so they are considered cool, rich, hip, or whatever else.

A cell and a pager don’t make you cool. They make you a slave to the telecommunications industry.