Many months ago, I received a note in the mail from my cellphone company saying they were shutting down the network I was currently on and that I had to upgrade my phone if I wanted to stay connected.
I was more than a little bummed out. I knew this day was coming, but still, when it happened I wasn’t exactly happy about it.
However, before you all run to your providers to check and make sure that your iPhone 5 will still work, I should let you know, I still have a flip phone.
Full disclosure, I do have a smartphone from work, so I can check email, find my way if I get lost or update my social media, but even without it, I’d be reluctant to give up my tried and true telephonic companion.
First off, the thing is practically indestructible. I can’t count the number of times I’ve accidentally dropped it, flung it, crushed it, or left it in a freezing or sweltering car all without major damage. On the other hand, I once completely destroyed a smartphone merely by falling on it after I tripped.
Second, it does exactly what I need it to and no more. My flip phone is just a phone. No texts, no Internet, no freemium games. When it rings, I flip it open and I’m talking to the person who called. No swiping this way or that. No having to take off my gloves to expose my flesh to the bitter cold. No losing a call because some part of my face grazed the end call icon. It’s simple, clean and functional.
Third, I like the way my phone sounds like a phone. The ringer on my work phone sounds like I’ve accidentally walked into an elevator. Every time it rings, I’m left wondering why is the phone making that noise. (Granted, there’s probably a way to get a real ring on my smartphone, but I just haven’t invested the time to figure it out.)
Surprisingly, I’m not alone when it comes to the flip phone love. I know a successful business owner who has both a flip phone (which he replaces on the cheap whenever they wear out) and an elderly BlackBerry. He told me that he once went into a meeting and put his phones on the table, and the fellow he was seeing smiled approvingly and said, “You’re clearly someone who knows how to keep his costs down.”
Most tellingly, with the deadline bearing down on me, when I finally decided to upgrade, the phone that I had chosen (a newer flip phone) was sold out. Not just at the company’s store (and all of its stores in the area), but every local electronics retailer I visited (and all of their stores in the area).
Who knew flip phones were so popular?
I put in an order for a replacement at the company’s store with a request for them to call me when it came in. The conversion deadline passed and I cast a mournful eye over my former constant companion, knowing that it was now out of commission for ever.
A few days later, I received a message from my provider saying that they’ve pushed the shutdown back until the end of May.
It looks like there’s still some life in my old flip phone yet.
And this time I won’t wait until the very last minute to upgrade.
— Gordon Cameron is Group Managing Editor for Hamilton Community News.