“Alo, ALO, ALO!!” Phone-cards, oh my! [Archives:2007/1025/Community]

February 15 2007

By: Shadjar
[email protected]

Phone-cards, ever try one? Ever had the unfortunate experience of dialing all the pre-requisite numbers of access then entering “the phone number you wish to dial” as prompted and then othing n odd ring tone a dropped call? Frustrated, you try repeatedly only to hear the computer say you now have ten cents less than before and you have yet to utter a word! Then again, in growing frustrating anger and anxiety you dial until the minutes are used up and still you have not “called home”!

Well, welcome to the 21st century version of communication rip-off! The cards, that if you dialed the house, landline, phone will let you talk home for an hour but will not connect you to a mobile. Then there is the card that is good only for a particular region or specific country. There is a card that seeps away for every time you dial while also adding valuable minutes to your own phone: The one that if any amount left unused overnight is at a premium zilch when you dial the next day. The combinations and permutations to these cards are endless.

Then you need to add the frustrated party on the other side waiting for your call. They can hear you-but you cannot; you can hear them; but they cannot. So back and forth, it goes until a few phone-cards later, nearing a heart-attack stage, you finally connect only to spend 10 quality minutes with recriminations, or explanations as to how you spent the last hour and maybe $20 trying to call home!

I live this daily, a natural occurrence in trying to communicate with my family abroad. And with members scattered across the world, I have had to become savvy in my selection of cards, times to call while I hope, pray besiege the All Mighty that I get through; puts a damper on connecting with loved ones. I fear these cards even as I scratch away to reveal their access codes numbers that may or may not satisfy the need to say hello; convey important news; or simply to hear the voice of a loved one.

The worst is that many do not have this problem when calling from overseas while others agonize over it. The party being called at times, well most of the times, is clueless to the frustrations of the caller; and because others get through they don't believe you have joined “Frustrated Callers Anonymous” when you said you'd call right back 3 hours ago.

The wave of the future in so called more economic calls, my foot! 25 cents a minute calling direct never sounded so good when you just spent ten dollars to hear the computer tell you its spent all your minutes and didn't get a word in edgewise from your voice box!

If it were not so very, very important to connect with home I would have given up on these cards long ago.