December 12, 2008

Text Messengers Anonymous
   by jhyde

I will start this off by saying that the information I have is not based on any wide-spectrum report across the entire wireless industry. This is merely my perception from my side of the field. I work for a cell phone company that offers unlimited texting for a monthly fee.

Typically, the repeat offenders in the text world are teenagers, and the reason they are considered "offenders" and not just "texters" is because they do it with absolutely no notion of what it could be potentially costing themselves, or namely, their parents. These offenders browse the internet, IM their buddies, download ringtones (a new one every week!), and in general try to impress their friends with their cool phones. I absolutely love it when these offenders come into the store expecting me to do something for them because their phone keypad is worn out, or the battery doesn't hold a charge, or it states inbox full when they just deleted like 900 texts, and it never has anything to do with the 10,000+ text messages they do per month. What's worse, they unabashedly want credits for the entire time the service did not work (usually amounts to .33 cents) because it was my fault they can't text any more. Some of us don't have a sense of humor about it, but I give these offenders some credit. Afterall, if it weren't for these bozo teens I wouldn't offer an unlimited text plan. So I spend a little bit of time looking at the account (by law I can't tell them anything about their account as usually they are inquiring about their parents account anyways) and they watch me as I point and click... point and click... point and click.... and this could drag on for a few minutes as I size up the account in general.

Sometimes, in girls especially, tears well up during this period. Then I say, "Oh, aha! Well maybe we could do something but you're not authorized to have any access to this account." The response is either a) hide it from daddy, or b) "Well, can we call my parents right now?". With either I am fully prepared with my next canned response which is always supportive no matter what they want to do. At this point we could have many different situations... but take note the tears. Especially in girls.

So let's just say for a moment that I have contacted the parents, who have told their child no to whatever my solution to the problem is. "OMG Daddy said NO? How is that even possible? Are you sure you talked to MY Father?" *sniff sniff* I get the whole routine. It's gotten so bad I literally had one parent ask me to slap his daughter for him. Which by itself, is hilarious, but I walk a fine line. I'm trying to be the good guy when it comes to both sides and sometimes you can't afford to laugh. Or you laugh anyways and hope that the person in front of you doesn't know why.

Just by looking at a family account I can tell who the teenager is without even really thinking about it. I mean c'mon, even the DEAF guy doesn't use as many texts as the teenagers do. When are teenagers going to realize that texting all the time makes them look and act ridiculous? I knew a girl who wrecked a brand new 2006 Ford Mustang over a text message. 18 years old. She survived, but the car... well, it didn't make it. And she only had it three weeks.

Some people I know are so busy answering text messages on their cell phones they can't even dial a phone number without being interrupted by an incoming message. Maybe I'm old school when it comes to my phone. Basically, I am a successful phone-owner when the only time it rings is because some one I want to talk to is on the other end, or some one died. The phone is there for me to use, not the other way around.

Will text messaging ever go away? Probably not. Will teenagers ever stop texting so much? Probably when they're older and don't want to be bothered so much. Will I still try to start a support group for troubled texters? You betcha.

Published: December 13, 2008
Editor: stacy

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