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Why you shouldn’t buy airtime

09 July 2012, 10:22

Modern technology is scary. Now you can even arrange your own funeral when on a visit to *Witbank.

At a couple of shops I have visited lately, the cashiers try to sell airtime along with your normal purchases. The first time I was asked: “Do you want airtime,” I thought that maybe we were going on a scuba diving expedition that no one has told me about. (You never know what is happening these days – everyone has some sort of scheme to make a fast buck.) So I was quite disappointed to hear that the “airtime” was for my mobile phone.

Ringing cell phones in cinemas, at meetings, in church – especially those with silly ringtones; people talking loudly on these evil little communicators in restaurants; spam and wrong numbers – all of these – have made me break my vow of not swearing aloud in public.

By now you have probably gathered that a cell phone doesn’t rate very high on my list of favourite pieces of equipment. Most of the time, the thing is a bloody nuisance; more of a hindrance than a help. I got along just fine for the first fifty years of my life without a mobile phone. That was until this morning.

On my daily excursion to Mr Thomas Crapper’s **invention – which he did not, in fact, invent – I made a remarkable discovery while doing cell phone banking. (Yes, I know, it’s disgusting to be doing that when no one is watching.)

After entering *120*321* and my ***PIN: 12345, I found “Funerals,” under option 7. Amazing!   But that’s not all! I now had the option of pressing “2,” to view my cover. With a trembling thumb I entered number “2.” After a brief period, the screen flashed: “Your request cannot be processed as no prepaid funeral cover has been purchased.”

By now my mobile phone was on a roll; it gave me the following option: “Buy funeral cover – press “1.” Which I did.

I then got these options: “1 individual, 2 family.”

That’s when I got scared.

If I pressed “1,” would I suddenly keel over and die? Think of the embarrassment when they finally break down the door and find my dead body on the toilet floor - still clutching the phone.

And if I pressed “2,” what would happen to my family? Too horrible to contemplate.

No, I’ll never buy airtime or funerals with my evil little mobile monster. You shouldn’t either.

*Witbank – the loo

**A British nobleman, Sir John Harrington, invented the flushing toilet. The stiff upper lipped British found it rather awkward to say: “I Harringtonned my pants when those Boers took a shot at me.” So Mr Crapper was credited with the invention instead.

***My real PIN. Please do not use my PIN – I don’t have a lot of money in the bank

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