Friday, July 27, 2007

Call me frustrated

My mother called this morning. Her phone is not working in the kitchen. She says she needs a new battery from ATT. She said that she tried sending someone to WalMart for a battery and that it was not the same number and "didn't last long". I realize that a lot of this doesn't make a lot of sense. Why does she need a new battery anyway? The phone is not that old! My mother is just a little more technically challenged that most of us, and she is 97. She had called ATT and got the web site for me, and had already told me the price and shipping cost. She had most of the facts right, but for me there are bigger issues.

The biggest problem seems to be that I have to wait a week for it to ship to me, and then I have to ship it to my mother, and in the meantime she has to go to her bedroom to answer the phone. I asked if she would accept the solution of getting another cheaper phone to use in the meantime, but she wouldn't hear of it. I asked her to be careful and let the phone ring, and not try to run for it. I told her to tell people that she may take a long time to get to the phone. I worry that she will rush and fall on her way to the bedroom. And it is very frustrating because without a phone call, I have no idea how my mother is doing. We are completely dependent on her phone working well and her phone is hooked up to LIFELINE, which is her answer to any emergency she may have.

My mother has gone through about six phones in the past three years. Each one has developed a problem that we can't seem to solve long distance. None of her friends seem to be able to help either. No one wants to touch the problem of a faulty phone because they are just too darned complicated. My mother doesn't have to worry about dropped calls...she does have to worry about dropped phones--her grasp is not as good as it once was.

For my mom, big, easy-to-read dialing numbers is not the only issue. She can't see well enough to read the LED display for call backs, and she can't read the little buttons well enough to go through her messages or change her contact numbers. She has about 30 features on her phone that are totally useless to her. If I lived closer maybe I could help make this better...but it hard to replace a phone long distance.

Getting the new battery was an ordeal this morning. The model number she gave me didn't match anything on their web site, and when I called, I was told that I could buy a new battery for $19.99 with $11.25 shipping, but that they would have to ship it to the billing address--me, not her. After my order was all complete they told me that I also might find this battery at Circuit City, Radio Shack, Office Depot, Staples or Best Buy. What?

So, why am I paying $11.25 for shipping? Well, because. Rather than run around all those stores to see if they have a battery for a model that isn't even listed as one of the thousand model numbers on the web site...I thought I would just solve the problem like we often do: throw money at it.

Oh I wish things were simpler!

Have a great day...anyway.