Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My sister's going to kill me...

But this tattling is germane to what I'm about to tell you.

When my sister was about 7 or 8 years old, New Kids on the Block were at the pinnacle of their popularity. Marketing was rampant, pop-radio airplay was nauseating, and fan-love was rabid.

One of the marketing ploys they used was particularly insidious. During children's television programming, they advertised a 900 number that you could call and talk to your favorite NKOTB boy. Of course, a 7-year-old girl doesn't know about the $2.95 connection fee and the 99c/minute fee thereafter.

I think you can see where this is going...When my mom got the phone bill, it was about $800. It may have been more, or less, but you get the point. For a person whose phone bill has always hovered around $50, I can imagine the reaction.

I just lived it.

Skip forward 20 years to cell phones.

Zac has had a cell phone for about 3 years now. The first 2 years he had a Firefly phone. It only allowed the user to make and receive calls from those numbers the parents programmed into the phone. After he proved responsibility with the firefly for 2 years, Santa brought him a regular cell phone last year for Christmas.

He's been doing very well with it. He hasn't lost it, broken it, or gone crazy with minutes. Every now-and-then he'll have a $1-$2 charge for a ring-tone or accidentally activating the mobile internet.

Yesterday, Jake brought in the mail. Among the political fliers, insurance company EOB, and offers for $100,000 home-equity lines of credit was the cell phone bill. My bill usually runs between $175 and $200, depending on the number of times we call information for a number or accidental internet activations.


I couldn't catch my breath for possibly a full 10 minutes. Zac immediately blamed a friend of his for watching YouTube videos on his phone. Upon further examination, the truth was finally told. Zac was the one watching YouTube videos on his phone.

We had the usual words about how much $1000 is: almost an entire house payment, groceries for the month, a trip to Roswell, Thanksgiving break. There was weeping and gnashing of teeth. He brought me his savings and forgave the $100 I owed him to help pay the bill.

Thinking about this after a night's sleep, (and with the perspective of knowing that George called Cingular and retroactively placed a media package on Zac's phone so all of the charges fall under the new plan) I think it's kind of sweet and funny.

He's been a different kid this morning. I woke him up and he dressed immediately, ate breakfast, brushed his teeth and took care of the dog without any prodding. I'm not so sure I want to tell him we fixed it.


Susanne said...

OMG!! Poor Jana/George/Zac!!! I'm glad it worked out ok in the end.

Anonymous said...

I remember when that happened those many, many, many years ago!!! It really is amazing how some things really never change! I love it.


Jenn said...

I have not had that happen with Maddy yet..but I can see it happening. Glad you got it worked out with.

Why Mom Drinks Rum said...

Huh. We were planning on getting our daughter one for Christmas.

I just threw up a little reading that though. I'm not sure any of us would survive a thousand dollar phone bill. I know for DARN sure she wouldn't. Hmmm.

Rethinking plan 'A'.

Travis & Jeri Tidmore said...

Oh yes. My phone call to Joey McIntyre. I remember it. And I also remember feeling TERRIBLE about mom having to pay for it...I had NO idea that it wasn't free.

Poor Zac...I know exactly how hr feels.


Anonymous said...

Ah, the joys of motherhood. Remember how good you were after spilling nail polish on the dining room table? I'm sure glad you were able to fix it!!!! Jeri- it is now a "fond" memory. Love, mom

McVal said...

My 2 older kids have cell phones on my plan. I set them up for 250 minutes of texting per month. I was paying bills and hadn't received that one yet, so I called the automated number to get the amount so I could pay online thru my bank. The bill was $560! I had to zero out to talk to SOMEONE and the lady was kind of nervous to tell me which phone and how many minutes they'd texted... My son had gone over his minutes by 1260+ minutes of JUST texting... My normal bill is around $140 or so. I had her switch our plan to unlimited texting, but his phone is blocked from texting for 1 month.
I definitely feel your pain!