Carphone Whorehouse

I have very little interest in mobile phones. I don't hate them, I just don't care for what they represent. I prefer to speak to people in person, or write to them. I prefer people to speak to me in person, or write to me. I can just about cope with immobile phones, although I don't use them very much either.

Where I do resent mobiles, it's for their having led to the abandonment of punctuality. If I say I'm going to be somewhere at 7.30, I'll be there at 7.30 (probably 7.20, as I'll have left the house too early, just in case). I will not wait till 7.30 and text the person I'm meeting to say, 'On my way. Be with you in 20 minutes.' Mobiles provide an excuse for disorganization and rudeness, and I can't stand either.

As for all-singing, all-dancing mobile phones, please smash them up, melt them down, and use the rare elements for something genuinely important. Yes, I can see the occasional value of having an instantly accessible device to capture a short-lived event occurring at a place where carrying an SLR would be cumbersome or unfeasible. However, if I want to take real photos, I use a real camera, not a phone. Similarly, if I want to listen to music, I put a cd into my cd player and listen to it. If I'm on the move, I might use a walkman, or an MP3 player, or some device designed solely for the playing of audio files. I have no interest in a jack-of-all-trades Nokia iFukBox ZJ326500.

I held out till 2004 before getting a pay-as-you-go brick. For reasons not interesting enough to go into, it eventually became more cost-effective to get a contract, so I went to the Carphone Whorehouse. Oh dear.

People who love mobile phones are twats or zombies. People who work for mobile phone companies are either a) also twats and zombies, or b) working there temporarily to earn a bit of cash. In the current economic situation, the latter is just about permissible, and typical of cashless students, jobless graduates and homeless globetrotting antipodeans, although statistically some of them are likely to be twats or zombies too.

Anyway, I signed up to a contract, and for the first year it was worthwhile. After that point, my circumstances changed, and I no longer needed a contract, but I was too weak-willed say this to the zombats. There's nothing a salesman likes more than a weak-willed customer, and I was therefore pretty popular. I'd keep the contract and get an unnecessarily upgraded new phone, or keep the phone and get an unnecessarily large amount of minutes and texts added to my contract. Somehow, last time round, I got a new phone and a new contract, although I was still paying the same monthly amount, so I went along with it. Then I moved to Canada.

Now I'm trapped. I have no use for a mobile phone here, as there's no-one I need to contact. Everyone I might phone is in the UK, but my free UK minutes are no longer free, as I'm not in the UK when I make the calls. I can text for nothing, but each text counts as 4 UK texts, so I get a quarter of my previous allowance. However, the Carphone Whorehouse tell me that, as I am contracted to them till the end of September, the only way I can leave early is to buy myself out. This effectively means that I can pay them £150 now and get nothing, or continue paying £25 a month, and be permitted to send 50 texts to the UK for each instalment.

I appreciate that I should have read the small print more carefully and refused to sign up to such a long contract, but I had no idea I would be leaving the country in the near future. When Canada suddenly popped up on the horizon, I assumed I'd be able to switch from a contract back to pay-as-you-go, or something along those lines, as I could hardly be expected to pay for a service that a company were unable to provide. I was wrong. I was very naive. Perhaps my only hope is to go back to the small print and look very carefully for a loophole of some kind, but I'm pretty sure the Whorehouse invests much of its money in very well-paid and equally loathsome legal experts. Still, at least when I get to September I'll finally have the pleasure of telling one of the zombats that I am taking my custom elsewhere. Nowhere.