About a year and a half ago I went on a book-signing tour. Knowing I’d be in airports, I bought myself a smartphone, which I quickly nicknamed “not-so,” short for not-so-smart-phone. One of the reasons I bought the phone was a device called the Square, which you are supposed to be able to attach to the phone and swipe people’s credit cards, so they can buy books that way. The Square worked — once.

Problems continued. Because I’m technologically challenged, I made my way several times to the company where I’d purchased the phone. Each time a different worker gave me advice. Sometimes the new person would tell me what the other individual did was incorrect. The new techie would fix the problem. Supposedly.

Things went from bad to worse. Eventually I gave up on not-so, rarely using the gadget. Since I was paying $75 a month for something I didn’t use, I arranged to have the texting portion of my agreement removed to save $20 a month. All went well until I received emails alerting me I had used up my data allotment. What data? How could I be eating up data when I never used the half-baked contraption?

An inquiry revealed the settings were incorrect so a kind gentleman walked me through the settings, assuring me all was well and charges would be removed.

In the meantime, I was planning another book-signing event. One of my students told me about the Cube, a device similar to the Square. Since the Square didn’t work, I ordered the Cube. The Cube arrived. A day later instructions on how to install the Cube on my phone were emailed to me. If I were a mathematical genius, I might have been able to decipher what they were talking about.

The next day I received my bill for Mr. Not-So-Smart-Phone. More than $80 worth of charges had been removed, still leaving a bill of $38.28.

That did it! Furious, I called the errant company. “Listen,” I said to the young man, “did you ever hear of lemon litigation? I’m ready to be sued. I want out of this contract. I am returning this piece of junk,and I never want to deal with you again. You can sue me from today until tomorrow.”

“Please calm down, Mrs. Powers,” the polite man said. “We can solve this problem.” After a lengthy conversation, he said, “I’m transferring you to a special customer relations person.”

“Will I have to go through this again?” I asked.


The next person who got on the phone said, “Hi, can I help you? My name is April Showers.”

What can I say? That was her real name; she was a doll, told me I did not have to return the phone; my contract was canceled without any further charge and while I rambled on, she said, “I’ve refigured your bill and you owe us $8.28.”

So Mr. Not-So-Smart went in the trash. I quickly paid the bill and I feel free, free, free!

Alexis Powers is the author of several books and lives on the northwest side. Email her at northwest@azstarnet.com or view her website at www.alexis-powers.com