Thursday, June 23, 2005

Becoming a phone nazi

HAVE I ever mentioned that my child is a daughter? Ok ok that’s a defunct question cos I know I haven’t in some futile attempt to maintain my and her anonymity therefore protecting blushes all round.

However I realise as time goes on that I probably have given this little/big fact away without trying to because as we know some behaviour is very obviously boyish and other behaviour is obviously girly.

Which brings me to why I am posting this at all, it concerns phones and as the post goes on you will realise that some of the behaviour is very definitely that of a teenage girl.

My daughter is away with a pal for a week down in the wilds of county Kerry. She was given a friend’s old phone (thanks a million tetra) and off she went. Being slightly broke just before she went (understatement of the year) I sent her down credit a few days later so she could make calls.


This brings me to my first gripe about teenagers and phones and yes yes of course I did the same. Of course that was the days before mobile phones, so it wasn’t as expensive, back in those days myself and a pal would phone each other for hours despite having just left each other and even worse despite living seven houses apart (Jaysus what brats we were!!!).

Anyway I texted her yesterday to tell her to have a good time at the disco they were going to last night and received no reply, which leads me to the conclusion that she has managed to spend €10 in a day and a half, but sure that’s nothing! No really…

I decided to give her a call only to get her answering machine, and don’t start me on that, it is just loud, awful music and I constantly hang up before hearing the end, if indeed there is one.

So I phoned the pal only to get a message which went:

Pal: ‘Hi this is ‘such and such*’,
Daughter: ‘no this is ‘such and such’
P: ‘no I am ‘such and such’
D: ‘no I am’
(cue much pealing of laughter)
(*add name here)

This nonsense goes on for more than two and a half minutes, I hung up at this point having gotten more than fed up listening to teenage girlish nonsense.


I have tried to explain to them both that considering most of their pals would be pay as you go and won’t have bill phones (for all the difference that makes to money wasting) that they have to pay extra each time to hear this drivel. The previous drivel (much like the dialogue above but slightly different) was changed and replaced with an even longer, just as teenagey annoying drivel mark two.

There is also the matter of the landline and this is where the real problems come in. Despite rarely using my landline, my bills continued to soar and soar over the last year.

At first, some of it could be blamed on my mum and each two months when the bill came in, once again all hell would break loose at home.

A pal suggested I switch to monthly bills as these might be easier to handle. Maybe that would be true if the daughter hadn’t accordingly upped her phone usage due to meeting new pals in a new school.

So each time I would phone the house, the phone would be constantly engaged. When you would get through the standard lie would be ‘they phoned me’. So you’d shout and say ‘the bill is itemised, so I will know’.

Anyway over the last year I have attempted to find a phone lock, which incidentally proved impossible but I did find a phone last September, priced at €100, which would allow the user to bar numbers, bar all outgoing calls except for emergency numbers all with the help of a code but I baulked at the price.

What a big buck eejit I was, when earlier this year my monthly bill hit a staggering €200, I hit the roof. I did try to talk to her, shout, scream, pull my hair and worry incessantly about how I could not afford this at all, by any stretch of the imagination. It did not sink in with her and another €200 bill arrived.


If I was to think hard about it now, I would actually get upset at how much she spent on the phone.

For me the amount spent represented a foreign holiday for us both that we will not get, clothes for us both again that we won’t get, payments for the many bills I receive, or phone credit for her mobile. But she has screwed that up, hence she has only received about €40 in credit from me in the past six months, if that even. I don’t even think she fully comprehends what a complete and utter waste of money those bills have been, money we don’t have.

In fact I don’t think they care, other than not being able to phone willy nilly.

Anyway I wish I had bought the €100 euro landline phone last September, would you believe in the two weeks, it paid for itself. My average monthly bill over the last three months has been €25!!!!!!!

Now everyone has to phone her, which I think it is only fair. It is time that other parents bear the brunt of their children’s aimless ramblings on the phone and not me.

I suppose one of the things that has p*ssed me off most about this, is that I tried to talk to her, tried to explain how much of a blow losing that money each month was to us and our household and tried to reason with her about allowing her to call in the evenings when calls are cheaper.

None of that works, so I have become a phone nazi and I would recommend anyone else to do that too. It’s the only way. Feck talking to them, this is a teenager in a world of their own, so just do it.


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Louise said...

I hate to say it, but until she is making her own money and responsible for her own bills, she just won't *get it* But once she is, she will certainly learn fast. I never really appreciated how expensive things were until I moved out at 19.

Good choice on the new phone, though. Sounds like it is saving you some headaches.

Anonymous said...

I laughed at the bit about you and your pal who lived 7 doors away. Wouldn't it have been a better idea if you two had just devised another method of communication...such as light signals for example? (Just a thought!)

Red Mum said...

We did try but due to the shape of the street we could only just about make out each other's bedroom window by hanging precariously out of our own.

Wouldn't the smart thing have been to just walk the 100 yards down the road and knock the other's door? But no we were teenagers!

gabbi said...

I'd have to agree that until she gets a job and knows what its like to work for the money and make it stretch, she just won't get it.

I suggest making her sit down with you when you pay bills for a while. Maybe get her to try to balance on a calculator beside you.

Watching my mom helped me, maybe it will help you and her too!

doris said...

What a story and how painful to deal with those bills. It's really sad when the kids don't listen and then go and incur such a bill again. You are right to have done what you have - what choice do you have. And it was good you gave her a chance by talking it through. I can't work out yet how old your daughter is but can I say it does get better, eventually, although we still get the money demands!

Thanks for visiting my blog the other day :-)

I shall blogmark you and look forward to coming back again!

Steve said...

I know exactly what you mean about mobile phone credit, I have two 13 yr olds one boy ( step son) and one girl, They couldnt be more different when it comes to using their mobiles. My son can have £10 of credit last him a month or six weeks whereas my daughter can use £10 of credit in about an hour and a half.