When I got a cell phone in high school over a decade ago, it was a slide phone (a Samsung Vice, to be exact). The plan I was on was pay-as-you-go, allowing me 2500 combined incoming and outgoing texts and nothing else for $10 every month. I stayed on that plan for 11 years, even when I moved to an iPhone and actually had the means to go on the internet. That $10 plan was eventually forced up to $15 but they gave me 10 minutes of talk time. A few years ago, they forced it up to $20 and gave me nothing more, and that was my
villain origin story breaking point.
Last November I finally made the switch to a different provider. I now pay $17 now for unlimited text, 100 minutes of outgoing calls, and 250MB of data*. I barely make calls, and most of my messages are free iMessages, but that data….life changer. How did I survive so long without it?
It’s not a lot of data, and in the few months I’ve had it, I haven’t used more than 75% of my allotment (even when the power went out for 24 hours), but it’s come in handy so many times. Most recently, pulling up Dairy Queen coupons on the app after deciding to spontaneously make an ice cream stop. To think I used to wait until I got to my destination, connect to the wifi (if there even was any), and then tried to find what I needed. Being able to quickly check things like that and search for things something online whenever is great. Curling scores from the highway? Yes! Looking up that actor’s name from the beach? Yes! This power is wild.
I guess to answer my question of how I survived without it, the answer is public wifi and screenshots in advance. Most places have free wifi, so if you’re in a city, it’s not hard to connect to something on the street, be it a fast food place or a bank. There were a few times I got lost going downtown for a job interview or something, but I was never panicking because I’d just walk to the nearest McDonalds and be okay. I’d love to see more places have free, easy to connect to wifi, though. Of course, this only works in a city where there are fast food joints on every corner. Being out in the suburbs isn’t as easy if you’re lost and without data. And I know because that has happened to me too.
Anyway, I’m sure most of you reading this have data and aren’t as wowed by it as I am. That’s fine. This is about me. I always kind of wonder how people without smartphones got by in life, and I’m sure there were people who thought the same about me when they heard I was data-less. But now I’m not, and I am happy about that.
That’s all for now!
*if you’re reading this and thinking “damn, what kind of deal is that?” note that I am Canadian and there’s a media duopoly going on so prices for phone, TV, and internet are such a mess up here. Interestingly enough, the provider I switched to (Lucky Mobile) is owned by the company I was with previously (Bell).