By Ted Gargiulo
Dupe Cellular, Inc.
Two Shoes, Nebraska
Attn: Customer Service
Dear Mr. Service:
My wife and I are abysmally dissatisfied with your products. As per the terms of our 30-day risk-free trial, we’re returning both our cell phones in their original boxes and trust that you will favor us with a complete and speedy refund.
For starters, my device, the Doofus Delux Dip-Flack Funster, was defective the day it arrived. It has no functioning display whatsoever, other than a dark vertical line against a white screen, making it impossible for me to navigate, program or perform any adjustments to the unit. I can make and receive calls, but I can’t see what I’m doing. Also, the phone’s battery loses power after less than a day’s use. I charge it all night, switch it on the next day, make one or two brief calls around noon, and by evening the device has already switched itself off. Naturally, I can’t check the battery while the phone is on because the bleepin’ screen is blank!
The Doofus Funster has another infuriating quirk: a white strobe that flashes incessantly the moment I boot it up. From what I can decipher from the user’s manual (which is entirely in Spanish), the strobe indicates a message or missed call. How they got there is a mystery, seeing how nobody knows my number. By holding the “numero uno” key, I’m supposed to able to access these messages—assuming, of course, that this demented gizmo had a screen that WORKED, so I could SEE to delete them. Short of whacking the blame thing with a wrench, there’s no way to stop it from flashing. It’s making me crazy! That, plus hearing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” every time some fool I never met sends me a text I can’t read, or find. Couldn’t you have programmed a better ringtone? I’d pick a new one from the menu, but I can’t find that either! Far as I’m concerned, you can chuck this Funster in the dumpster!
My wife’s Fleecer Frugalstück phone works, but it’s nothing like the model she saw online. She wanted one with large, raised keys that were easy to read. These are flat and tiny, with pale-gray digits set against a pale-gray background. (Whose ingenious design was this?) Even with a magnifying glass, the woman can’t tell one key from another. She’s constantly hitting the wrong ones and waking up strangers in other time zones. Furthermore, the fidelity on both our devices sucks. My wife sounds like she swallowed a canary when she talks on it. She says I sound drunk.
Why do our friends all have smart phones that stream movies, download apps, play games and surf the Internet, while we’re stuck with two stupid ones that barely do squat? I’ll tell you why. Because I was too CHEAP to choose a reputable provider! Because I thought if I saved money on your lousy phone service, I could recoup what I lost on the lousy tablet you sold me last year. My wife says technology is only as smart as the person using it. That belated wisdom, like the strobe on my Doofus display, now serves as a personal indictment every time I stare into that dull, blinking void, that the real “doofus” in this story…is ME.
By Ted Gargiulo