Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Cell Phone

The cell phone I've been carrying the last 3 years has still had a number from our previous province attached to it. These phone companies do NOT make it simple to break a 3 year contract and the fees paid to drop it were actually greater than just finishing out the contract and paying long distance charges whenever I used it.

Now, 8 months after our move, my cell phone is no longer responding to a 1-204 number. It will be nice not to have to tell people to dial long distance to reach me. Dumb.

As I've mentioned in other posts, cell phones are nasty nasty when it comes to conflict minerals. Something that has been such a helpful tool in OUR culture has had a devastating impact partway around the globe.

I did NOT want to buy another cell phone. NOT that I'm saying technology is bad, I quite enjoy it! BUT I am not down with the conflict methods used to obtain the necessary minerals for these phones & other devices. Wondering what I'm talking about? Check back here to a previous post of mine; "BUZZ WORD".

Reality check; how I feel does not exempt me from being part of this culture. When my kids are at school or participating in other programs, I am expected to leave a number where I can be reached. If I'm not going to be at home by my phone, I am expected to leave my CELL #. And for safety & concern when I leave my kids anywhere, I WANT to be reached. So, I need a cell that I can carry with me just like everyone else.

It is times like this I wish I never had read that initial book. If I didn't know how some of the components of a standard cell phone were acquired, I could just go with my first choice - a pretty pink smart phone I admired! BUT, I don't really wish I hadn't read that book. MY life would be easier, but perhaps my knowledge and desire to share can actually help make someone ELSE'S life better. And that's important to me on a whole new level.

Yesterday I took in my current cell - now dead - to some stores (in fact 6 were in the mall I stopped into). I was told my phone was just not compatible with the current technology. Crazy that after only 3 years, my totally fine, fully functioning phone is now useless. I didn't like that. Where did it leave me?

I asked a couple of the larger stores if they carried any phones that contained fewer of the minerals that would have been obtained through unethical means? Blank looks. Sigh. One store pulled out a phone and said "This is our new green phone - it contains fewer harsh chemicals & is considered less harmful to the user"

It's not ME I'm concerned about!! Green is great, but not my priority at this moment.

Looking online later back at home, I tried to find a used phone to avoid purchasing new. Wow! People want big bucks for their phones! Like $400++. I just don't have that on hand for this. I checked out refurbished options and a few existed, but ordering them online & having to wait while they come through the mail is a risk I'm too familiar with - I don't like that option.

I did some more research. Which of the big companies actually make a little bit of effort to manufacture their product a little more ethically than everyone else?

I revisited a site I had been to awhile back. It rates big companies in terms of their attempts at certifying their supply chain. If you are interested, this can help you out.

While it may not be the fancy pink phone and it may not have all the cool features of some other ones out there, I am picking my phone based on supporting a company that is trying to take steps in the right direction.

I'm still not totally on board with this, but I feel it is a logical compromise that I can live with.

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