Globe Complicates Things

Here’s an update on my quest for a new phone:

I hate Globe right now. I stopped by their SM Megamall branch and saw on one of the fancy touchscreen TVs that the Galaxy Mini was being offered. — Hey! I didn’t even notice that, since the Libis branch was almost closing when I inquired.

There I was, diligently waiting in line to have my questions answered. My turn came, and I asked the representative if I could use up my Globe Loyalty Points (I have 3 or 4 years on me). She checked my account and informed me that it wouldn’t be possible, even if I used the points to get a discount and pay the remainder in cash. According to her, the only way for me to get it is if I upgrade my plan from the P499/month to a P999/month.

Now why in the hell would I have to do that? I was already willing to pay the rest in cash! That’s already an instant asset for them. The Samsung shop offers it cheaper, so if Globe won’t even give me the benefits then might as well buy the phone where it has a lower price.

What bullshit.

Furthermore, I’m not loving the phones on display there. It’s all Blackberry and iPhone and Samsung Galaxy. But whatever happened to the more inexpensive models?… I honestly don’t get it. Have you completely abandoned your other customers? It seems just a little bit elitist is what I’m saying. And obviously, loyalty apparently stands for very little with this company.

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Upgrading

I am dreaming of buying a new phone. –“Dreaming” being the objective word, since I don’t have the means at present. So I am merely window shopping, looking for phones with the specs and price that suit my interests.

Inevitably, the time comes that a person will want to have an upgrade of gadgets. This could either be a good or bad thing. I’ve seen some people change expensive phones yearly, and yet I’ve also seen people who’ve had their phones for over 6 years. After announcing that I was thinking of getting a new phone, I was immediately asked by Dad to explain why I wanted one again after only 2 years of using my current phone. My reason was depreciation. Mind you, I’m not saying that my phone is already fully depreciated after only 2 years. But I have certainly made that phone a lifeline of sorts. That’s why I started to think about the way gadgets depreciate.

I figure that there are 2 types of depreciation to a piece of technology: first, you have the physical depreciation; and second, you have the outdating of your gadget.

Physical depreciation would pertain to the daily wear and tear that your piece of equipment will experience. We’re talking about all the nasty things that you could accidentally do to your phone like dropping it on the floor, wearing out the keypad from usage, cracking the screen (this really happened to me when I put a heavy book in my bag and forgot that I had a phone right underneath), getting it wet, etc. There is always the option to bring the phone in for repair. But sometimes, the repair is just as good as buying a new phone. When I tried to get my Nokia’s case replaced because of cracks and peeling paint, the Nokia person told me that it would cost around P9,000. Never mind…

Outdating is the one that usually precedes physical depreciation as the reason for changing equipment. While you’re in the market trying to buy a reasonably priced gizmo, you already know that the upgrade is available but only to a more expensive product. There’s the matter of which camera resolution is better, what the better platform with the most apps downloadable, does it have wifi, etc.

Personally, my reasons are both physical depreciation and outdating. I have 2 phones at present: one for my Globe sim and the other for my Sun sim. (I do have a dual sim phone, but I believe I was scammed by the official repair center. It was a nightmare. The phone is not usable, despite it being brand new.) The Globe phone is a really old 6610. The firmware is from Nov 2004. I don’t even remember how long I’ve had this, but I know that I was using it when I was still in high school. Yeah, that’s over 4 years already. It’s basically being held together by tape and one of the keys on the keypad is missing. But I have to say that it works well enough for call and text function, though the memory is a bitch.

My Nokia 6610. I won't even try to post the picture of the one I actually have.

My Sun phone is still new. It’s an E90, which was a gift from my dear cousin. Unfortunately, this is the phone that’s attached to my hip, so you can expect all the mayhem to happen to this one. I’ve had to pay P500 to get all my data erased because of a stupid virus, but I cannot pay P9,000 to get it to look new again. That defies logic, heartbreaking as it is.

Nokia E90. If you ask me, it's man's best friend next to their pet dog.

This phone has been used on various trips while I’m on roaming. It’s what takes fabulous profile pictures for FB and decent food pictures for http://marielleong.wordpress.com. I use it to cram the hell out of tests (lecture powerpoint presentations) via its Quickoffice app. I even use it to write future blog entries. Basically, what I’m saying is that this phone’s been to hell and back. I wouldn’t know what to do without it because it’s been the best rebound phone. Ever.

Yes, there is such a thing as a rebound phone. I once had a beautiful Motorola Q8 (my first qwerty), a high school graduation gift from my parents. It didn’t have wifi, but I used it like how I use the E90 now and it ran on Windows Mobile (a-ma-zing). Basically, my world revolved around it. And there was an untoward incident in school (at the same time where other students’ stuff started going missing as well) where I, stupidly, left it on a desk with my 6610 when I went to the bathroom. When I remembered to retrieve it, the thief left only the 6610 behind. I don’t know if that asshole had a sense of humor or pitied me enough that he/she/it left me with 1 phone to use. But you have no idea how many times I have wished harm on that person and his loved ones whenever I remember. I can’t say I’m entirely over it, because I’d probably punch that person in the face if I only know who was behind it.

Moto Q8. I went through the 5 stages of grief on this one.

Sorry. I know it seems so wicked of me. But you have to know that I am a person who tries to keep away from any sort of confrontation. However, it doesn’t sit well with me if a person sneaks around and tries to mess with me or my stuff. Those are unforgivable offences.

Both phones have certainly been used to their full capacity, but I have to admit that they are still working okay. The logic, though, is that by the time I get the funds together for a new phone, I can set the 6610 down for semi-retirement.

I don’t believe that you should wait for one phone to die before you get a new one. You should have room to back-up the data on each phone before they refuse to even power on.

I wanted to study all possible resources, so I went to Globe to ask if my rewards points would get me anywhere. Let me just ask: Whatever happened to nice “loyalty gifts” from globe??? Back then, if you were a member for 3 or 4 years, you’d get a top-of-the-line phone. Now, 3-4 years is nothing but a rebate. The phone they offered for free seemed like an entry level qwerty. (At any rate, it did not adhere to my specifications.) And, get this, it wasn’t even in stock! You could get an iPhone, but you’d have to pay an additional P20,000+.

With that said, I have considered saving up for an iPhone because, to me, it’s the most awesome phone I can think of. But seeing as the price tag is hefty beyond words and I am a humble commuter, I would never be able to travel and not feel too frightened all the time. It’s been 3 years since my Moto Q got stolen, and I’m still not completely over it. What more for a P30,000 phone?

iPhone 4. The Ultimate. A Distant Dream.

So far, what I plan to buy is a Samsung Galaxi Mini. It’s perhaps my idea of the cheaper alternative to an iPhone, costing only a fraction of a price (P6,990). I had a look at the apps available on the Android platform and saw that I could get whatsapp (wifi chat, functions like yahoo messenger) and Quickoffice. I’m not much of a gamer, but I am an extreme texter; so the Swipe feature (slide-texting without needing to lift your finger) looks good.

Samsung Galaxy Mini. Yes, this could definitely be it.

I’m still up to the challenge of testing other phones and seeing if they can surpass my value-for-money perception of the Galaxy Mini. Can’t wait to have something to review…

By the way, I did literally dream of buying phone last night. That’s what spurred me to write this entry today.

The Eternal OCD

I am not without my own share of neuroses. People notice this about me. It takes me 2 hours or more to complete a blog entry that can be read in 15 minutes or less, because I want it to come out in such a way that most represents my voice/style. Is that so much to ask if you are a writer?

Beyond that, my OCD manifests itself in my germophobic -ness. I feel so uncomfortable when I travel without a small bottle of hand sanitizer. And, of course, I am scared shitless by public restrooms. They need to, at least, have hand soap. It’s highly unsanitary (SUBSTANDARD!), if they don’t.

I have a favorite Bench Hand Sanitizer. It comes in a spray bottle with a lavender scent. The official website doesn't even have a photo of it. Arg. :l

I have had a frightening experience in China, where I was in a public market’s building with a completely full bladder. As many of you well know, a lot of the public toilets in China are still squat-type (in KFC, malls, you name it…). The ones with actual toilet bowls are usually reserved for the old or disabled. Through the years, I’ve grown to accept that you have to make due with what you’re presented, lest you get a Urinary Tract Infection or kidney stones from holding it in so long. –And frankly, it’s no different from a public toilet here in the sense that, if the custodial staff doesn’t clean it so often or if someone forgets to flush or if someone just has stinky pee, it’ll look and smell bad all the same.

So anyway, I had to rush into that bathroom and found mounted squat toilets connected together by one long common “canal” that passes through all the stalls. In the first stall I came across, the door stood ajar. I was about to go in when I saw a woman squatting. She didn’t bother to close the door. I quickly walked away to the next stall.

As I was trying to get settled, the custodian decided to show up and do a little cleaning. She “flushed” the toilets from one end of the room (the last stall) by dousing the canal with a lot of water. I was ready to pee when I saw someone’s feces float by at a rapid, splashy pace a few inches from my ass. I completely freaked out and decided to hold it in (agonizing as it was) until we got out of that building.

For the record, you get used to the toilets there. It’s a small price to pay if you want to enjoy the sights and eat the good food. My advice to people who plan to visit is to pee right before you leave the hotel. Get that out of the way, at least. Then bring a great deal of toilet paper and a small bottle of liquid hand soap, just in case. But surprisingly, a lot of places there have soap and toilet paper. Maybe more than places here in the Philippines, where you have to buy the essentials from a vendo machine.

Also, (and though I am well-aware that these states are mostly autonomous) Macau has really beautiful toilets in their hotel-casinos. Ditto for Hong Kong’s malls. Everything is as hi-tech as they can get. Automatic flush, automatic faucet, automatic soap dispenser, and the place smells good too.

My point is that I am OCD, but not without good reason. And providing that I am equipped with my small set of essentials (soap, sanitizer, tissues), I can adapt anywhere fairly well. Also, to a certain extent, it is beneficial in my (intended!) line of work. I don’t beat myself up too badly over being a little neurotic in this case…

 

*Photo from Bench website.

I am the “Praning” Consumer

I’m getting paranoid with all the products out on the market these days. It doesn’t help that I have a cousin who always discovers the next scary common ingredient that may eventually prove to be carcinogenic.

It started with mineral oils (as mentioned on my food blog entry). She said that it clogs up the pores and my Dad added that it’s a derivative from petrol. How healthy could that be?

Then, it moved on to hydrogenated oils. Again, my cousin said something about it getting stuck in the body forever. I totally freaked out and banished all things containing hydrogenated oils from my diet. I can’t even buy anything from the grocery without reading the labels carefully first.

The boyfriend isn’t spared either. I drag him to the grocery just to show him what’s bad for him. The poor thing.

So while I was trying to figure out if there was proof to what I was told about mineral oils, I found this site called The Beauty Brains. They answer all your beauty questions in a scientific manner:  a must for a scaredy cat like me.

I’m still not 100% convinced that there are no huge side effects on these chemicals. I’m well-aware that the FDA (or BFAD, in our case) has approved these ingredients and their doses beforehand. However, it seems to me that, just because something is approved because the doses it comes in are non-toxic, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s actually safe (completely non-toxic) either.

I can’t help but feel that the local health agencies try to push the limit on the “allow-ability” of certain products in the market, just because they are so damn useful and the demand is so great. Meanwhile, we, as the benefiting consumers, try to convince ourselves that everything’ll be okay because the standards have been set.

Take a cellular phone, for instance. We are definitely informed that it emits a level of radiation (though FDA approved), yet we still allow ourselves to abuse it. In fact, I personally admit to abusing my cell phone by having it on hand at every waking hour. I even sleep with it beside my head, so that I can surely wake up to the alarm.

Knowing that it is so easy for things to get out of hand when it comes to using products, I have taken it upon myself to try and be disciplined when it comes to what I buy and how I use them. But obviously, a lot of the more safe and healthy options are also the more expensive ones. It becomes a difficult choice to make.

Good luck to all of us then…

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