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Mar-15-2009 09:30printcomments

Shackled to Your Cellphone: Your Sentence for Simple Usage

It's no wonder we call it a cellphone. We're locked up in a cell. Will there ever be a way out?

Cell plans can be a <i>hellish</i> experience.
Cell plans can be a hellish experience.
Courtesy: ubergizmo.com

(SALEM, Ore.) - Hi tech has beamed a message under the radar: If you want to use us, you're our captive for a two-year sentence. No early release for cellphoners is allowed.

Can you imagine that marriage offers no guarantee of lasting two full years, yet cellphone companies impose those conditions. Is that rational in this day and age?

How do you get out of a 2-year hitch if it isn't working to your satisfaction? I asked my carrier this question. The short version: Till death do you part.

That's the only escape clause: dying.

What a price for getting released.

Onward I pressed. What if you wind up in a hospital or nursing home? Would that nullify the contract? Apparently, it won't.

If you have the good fortune to go comatose; sorry, no release. Even if your written advanced directive asks for a pardon!

It's no wonder we call it a cellphone. We're locked up in a cell. Will there ever be a way out?

Not unless Senator Wyden and Merkley expose this fiscal monopoly and help pass a law to rescind such user-unfriendly practices.

Let's ring in that needed change. Call them asap.


A combined career of journalism and gerontology shaped the values of this writer-therapist, who often views the world as the masks of comedy and tragedy placed upon the scales of justice. For him, optimism inevitably wins. "Lyrical Lee" has traveled to 30 nations aboard and was once a press intern at the UN. His first published article was in The NY Daily News in '59, dealing with the need for integrity in public office. He also launched the nation's first tele-conference on health education for shut-ins, created the Eldermentors project in VA to pair retirees with immigrant students needing role models, and was the main catalyst behind CCTV's "Public Public" panel show here in Salem. Lee received his BA in International Relations and an MSW in community organization. He currently serves as a member of Salem's Library Advisory Board.

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