Saturday, April 07, 2007

Decisions, decisions

I just went through my caller ID, for the home phone, for the last 30 days. I had 15 calls: 1 from my sister, 13 from solicitors, and 2 wrong numbers—one at 5 a.m, mind you. A very gravelly voice announcing "I'm at Keith's." At 5 a.m., who has the presence of mind to mess with a wrong number? Had I been more with it, I would have said "you get the hell out of Keith's house and get your lilly-white ass home right this minute! I've called all the hospitals looking for you!"

I digress.

$50, I paid, for these calls. As I did not use the phone to call out during this time, I essentially paid $3.33 for each incoming phone call, most of which occurred while I was out, and none of which I answered.

Why, then, have I hesitated to take this step to cancel my landline phone?
  • Because I don't want solicitors to phone my cell phone.
  • Because I like the idea of being listed in a phone book, and having someone be able to contact me, in an emergency. Or for, say, a date. It could happen.
  • Because I love the sound of my old-timey red phone, when it rings.
  • Because I'm old, and change is bad! It somehow makes me feel panicky to not have home phone number, and line.
  • What if the power goes out for 3 days and my cell phone dies because I can't charge it?
  • What if I misplace my cell phone, and can't call myself to find the damned thing?
I'm leaning towards jumping into the 21st century, and canceling the landline.

Do you have any advice, or cases for or against, before I jump in?


  1. 1. Cell phones mostly don't sound very good.
    2. It's hard to hold a cell phone up to your ear using your shoulder. Sooner or later you'll drop it in a sink full of dishwater.
    3. I think it's a rule that wherever you live, that's a dead spot in your carrier's cellular coverage. Even if this is not true at your house, wires are more reliable more often.
    4. I can carry my cell phone on my belt almost all the time (when my pants are on). But you're a girl. You have fashion to consider. Cell phone holsters and fashion don't mix, so there will be lots of times, even at home, when you don't know where the phone is.
    5. When your cat is kidnapped, the detective can listen in on the ransom call on a home phone extension.
    6. You've already thought about a tornado taking out the power for three days. What about a nuclear accident?
    7. What if you have guests from out of town, and they stay in your house while you go to work, and you want them to call you mid-morning? Do you just assume everybody's got a cell phone? How elitist.

    On the other hand, that's 600 bucks a year. I don't envy you, having to make this decision.

  2. I got rid of my land line a few years ago and started exclusively using my cell phone. I don't miss it at all.

    Though there have been a few times when I wished I could call myself so I could find my cell phone.... :)


  3. Couldn't you switch phone companies and make it cheaper? In the UK there are loads of companies who will provide your landline, cable tv, broadband and mobile phone all in one package so it's cheaper to have everything you want: there must be something similar in the US.

    Why are solicitors ringing you thirteen times a month? How letigious are you?

  4. You guys pay for incoming phone calls?? We only pay for outgoing.

    If you don't have a landline, what do you use for internet connection? Are you wireless?

  5. I concur, sorta. Ironically just this week I changed my landline phone service to my cable company which actually breaks down to about $13 a month for it. It's just my daughter and I at home, we both have our cells surgically attached to us, but the house phone just seems to be part of being a home owner. Also, in this area at least, having a landline adds to your credit score, I guess it proves residency ?!?! For $13 bucks it's worth it just to have a phone to call my cell when it plays hide-n-seek on me, lol

  6. Wow, that is incredible. I never knew you guys in the US had to pay for incoming and outgoing calls like that. In Canada we have a monthly fee and you only pay extra for long distance. That is just crazy!

  7. I haven't had a land line phone since 2001. You don't need it. Solicitors don't call me. Nobody has complained about not being able to find my number. You can fund the purchase of an extra battery with less than one month of land line fees.

    Save yourself some money!

  8. Switching phone companies and shopping around...what a novel idea! I'm not sure why it hadn't even occurred to me.

    As for incoming/outgoing phone service is a flat rate that costs around $38. I must also have a long-distance carrier, which charges me $15 or so, though I never use the home phone for long distance calls.

    And Dogbait, yes, I have cable internet, with a wireless router.

  9. I am totally the wrong person to be giving any kind of advice about this as I am nowhere close to the 21st century (but you notice it isn't stopping me; I'm arrogant that way.) I still don't even *have* a cell phone. When I am at home, people are welcome to get in touch with me. I may answer. I may not. I love my landline.

    Plus you and Larry Jones make some pretty compelling arguements that I may adopt myself. :)

  10. What if the power goes out for 3 days and my cell phone dies because I can't charge it?

    Just use your mobile (car) charger.

    I dropped my landline back in 2000. Everybody I wanted to talk to always called when I was not at home. With the time zone differences and my work schedule I couldn't be reached. With the cell, I can be contacted. And calling them only costs me minutes, since all long distance is free. At least to the mainland and Canada. When we had our earthquake last year, the only working communications we had were our cells.

    Like you, my landline had every "bell & whistle" that was offered and ran me just under $70 a month. I also prorated that cost over the number of missed calls and reached almost the exact cost breakdown as you. It was costing me to have a landline that was seldom used.

    I use a "hands free" headset called "Ear Glove". Very, very comfortable. I have been "plugged" into the company phone for over 14 hours and never consciously knew it was there.


    If there is someone who you just want to get off the line, tell them that you are losing the signal and hang-up. They'll just think it is another dropped call and won't be insulted.

    That's my 2-cents worth.

  11. I left you a response on the comment you posted. I'm not sure where else to put it lol.

    If those people would like his address, try e-mailing it to them, or giving it to them in person if possible.

    I left some websites where you can read more on OPSEC and some bulletins to keep in mind.

  12. Tough one. I'd say drop the land line. And if you can't find your cell phone, email me & I'll call it!

  13. Svenyboy

    Different English. A solicitor in America is a telephone "spammer", trying to solicit your business to purchase their product(s).

  14. Stfarmer7:35 AM

    I believe it is illegal for solicitors to call your cell phone.

    I've been without my landline for the last couple of years. I don't miss it.

  15. I'm not one to give advice. I'm barely in the 20th century, so the 21st is just not an option for me.

  16. I only recently got a landline again. I thought I would use it, but I rarely do. Now it's there mostly because I have DSL. There are about two people who call my landline number.

    Let me know if you find out otherwise, but I don't think there's much shopping around for phone service in this town. A friend of mine is getting a line through Insight, but I believe he said it's about $10 more per month. He's going with them because he was able to convince them to wave the start-up charges because they're "new." (Really, he's leaving the country in three months and it would be silly to pay that much.)

    I think most of the calls *I* make on my landline are to find my cell phone. Mostly this just facilitates my own carelessness. When I didn't have a landline, I don't remember ever having lost my phone as much.

    Also, I don't get solicitation calls on my cell phone.

    If you get rid of your landline, can I buy your awesome red phone?! ;) I have a cute phone nook in my basement and I *really* need an actual rotary phone. I love those.

  17. Jennie Tonic1:40 PM

    Why does it cost FIFTY DOLLARS? That seems awfully high. There must be a better deal. What was all that deregulation of the phone industry about? My phone bill is usually about $28, including the occasional long-distance. Jeez.

  18. I've never had a landline...I can't find the use for one..except when I lose my cell phone and then I have to borrow my mom's to be able to call myself....
    Other than that.I'm good....

  19. We have Vonage and we love it.

  20. jerry sidwell9:18 PM

    Stop it pronto - signup on the "National Do-Not-Call Registry." It is through the FCC and it works - it takes a week or so to kick in.
    or Google "federal no solicitations" - that is where I got the above.
    The only legal solicitations are from non-profits, political parties parties and groups you have a formal business relationship with (Visa, whatever). It worked wonders for me.
    Jerry Sidwell

  21. I'm in an old cell contract in another city that is keeping me with my old landline phone for another six whole weeks. I'm counting the seconds to when we can get out of that contract, get a new cell phone and dump the landline. I have too many phones.

  22. I haven't had a land line in almost 3 years. I have terrible cell phone connectivity and I still don't miss my land line.

  23. I gave up the land line 4 years ago. I haven't missed it one bit.
    Approximate savings in that time?
    Missed calls? None I know or care about. Anyone I want to have calling me has the number.

    Last time I checked solicitors CAN'T call your cell because it costs YOU to take their call. Why that isn't trus on land lines I don't know but at any rate I've never had a solicitor call my cell and if I ever did I wouldn't rest until the people responsible were strung up by their sensitive parts.

    I think you can list any number you want in the phone book. You just have to ask. AS far as dates why would you want anyone you hadn't givn your phone number to calling you? Lose it. It's useless.

    If the power's out your phone will probably be out too. During the black out in NY regular phones were no better than cell phones because all the routing is done via computer. No power=no phone.

    Record your old-timey phone's ring and make it your cell phone ring. :-) Yes, you can.

  24. semaj510:34 AM

    my security alarm is monitored. so, i sorta have to have my landline, unfortunately. i'm torn between feeling "secure" and saving $600 a year by ditching the landline. hmmm.


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