Wednesday, November 29, 2017

309 Best of Wessays: Rollover Minutes

309 Rollover Minutes

We’re taking some midweek time off to celebrate the holiday and the weekend we were forced by a disagreeable management to work. Here’s one of the most requested blasts from the past:

It works for cell phones, why not for life? Some of the major phone companies give you rollover minutes. If you don’t use up your monthly allotment, you get to add what’s left to next month’s, or use at any time within a year.

We each have 1440 minutes a day. But look what we do with them. Sleeping, eating, watching TV, writing blogs, doing radio shows fighting with kids and spouses. This really isn’t USING these minutes. It’s just kind of HAVING them.

We should be able to roll our life minutes over into tomorrow, or any other time during the coming 12 months. If it’s good enough for AT&T or at&t as it now prefers to be known, it should be good enough for the rest of us.

Sound unreasonable? Nah. The phone companies – all of them – play fast and loose with the minutes, anyway. As they carefully note in teeeeeny tiiiiiny type in the bottom of your contract, you have to pay for incoming calls as well as outgoing calls and you have to pay for “toll-free” calls because you’re not really paying for calls, you’re paying for air time. So it doesn’t matter whether you call Timbuktu or next door – as soon as you push “send,” or “receive,” you’re on the air and the meter is running.

If your call lasts for 56 minutes and 12 seconds, you’re billed for 57 minutes. That’s called rounding. You’d think they’d round both ways, so a call of 56:29 would be charged at 56 minutes, and a call of 56:31 would be billed as 57.

But, no. When the call lasts 1:01, you’re billed for two minutes. So, the idea of a “minute” and the idea of a “call” and the idea of “rounding” all get very flexible. If it’s good for them, why not for us?

Then, there’s when you use your minutes. Many calling plans give you “free” nights and weekends. Great. That was a move to reduce business hour phone traffic, reduce dropped calls and shifting social calling to the evening and overnight hours.

And, of course, that’s what most of us do. At some point, it will no longer be to the telcoms’ advantage to do that and they’ll (a) start charging and (b) try to make you think they’re improving your calling plan. (Notice, they can change the terms whenever it suits them, but if you cancel early, they hit you with a $multi hundred “early cancellation fee.”)

It’s no wonder the cell phone carriers are at the bottom of every customer satisfaction survey conducted by anyone, for anyone and at any time since the dawn of the cell age.

So if they can play with minutes that way, we should, too.

If you’re waiting on the phone for customer “service,” you’re not using your personal, in-life minutes. If you’re waiting in traffic, at the supermarket, for the woman of your dreams to finish “putting her face on….” or the man of your dreams to get back from killing innocent animals, you’re not using your personal, in-life minutes. You should have the right and the ability to roll them over into tomorrow.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2007, 2017

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