Wednesday, July 26, 2006

My 80 Year Old Mom Got A Cell Phone

My 80 year old mom got a new cell phone.

She couldn't open it.

The kind employees at Radio Shack had to open the package for her at the store. Then they had to open the back of the phone up to read the number off the battery to activate the phone.

Then she got this in her email:
Before you can start talking on your new phone, you'll have to program it first. If you haven't donethat yet, follow the simple steps below.

1. Turn on your phone.
2. Using the keypad, dial ##VIRGIN (that's#-#-8-4-7-4-4-6). Hit OK to select Service.
3. You are now in the programming menu. Select Edit and hit OK.
4. If any numbers appear on this screen, delete them by pressing the BCK key. Enter your 10-digit phone number. Then hit OK.
5. If any numbers appear on this screen, delete them by pressing the BCK key. Enter your 10-digit network ID (skip any zeros at the beginning). Then hit Done.
6. The phone will turn off and spring back to life on its own.
7. That's it - you're done. Nice work.

It might take a couple of hours to get you set up on our network, so we’ll send a text message to your phone to let you know when you can start
Somehow she got through that.

I just called her on a land line.

I had to tell her that, yes, she needs to leave the phone on if she wants to receive calls.

So she had to turn on the phone. Pressing the RED button does that. Ironic.

I called her cell phone.

She couldn't answer it.

I told her that presing the RED button does not answer the phone, it shuts it off.

It actually makes sense that pressing the RED button would answer the phone since it's the button you press to turn it on. Unfortunately it's also the same button you press to turn it off.

So we got through that and she answered my call.

Next up I asked if she knew how to call me.


She couldn't dial it.

The guy at the store programmed in my phone # but didn't show her how to make a call, didn't show her how to use the contacts list, and didn't show her how to dial.

So I had her key in my number, and backspace when she made a typo, and press the green button to dial me.

"Hello Ma. Yup. It works. Now hang up since this is costing you money."

She's on the 18 cents/minute plan.


  1. Excellent! I love her persistence!

  2. Anonymous2:51 PM

    Dear God, Steve - with instructions like those, I can't figure out how cell phones got as popular as they are. No way would I have persisted through that list of steps; I would have given the phone back and found a company who put some thought to the people using their product.

    Congratulations, Millie - you're a better woman (consumer?) than I am...

  3. Anonymous7:21 PM

    Totally impressed that Millie could follow the "simple steps" to set up the phone!

  4. Anonymous1:49 PM

    Simple steps? If those are simple steps, I wonder what complex steps would be!
    Millie IS thoroughly modern! And patient.

  5. hysterical!I could not program that phone let alone my mother!Your mom is the bomb. your writing is really inspired lately! Next time i see you i am going to give you a hug.beth