Sunday, 5 March 2017

They really think you want to know

What's this? My goodness! Thirteen messages needing my attention on my phone! Gosh, they look urgent and important!

Oh, what a let-down. It's only Vodafone, telling me about every app and service they can provide.

No thank you. I only want a reliable mobile phone signal and adequate mobile internet that I can tap into virtually anywhere, not just in towns. I don't want the rest. I already have what I need. I know you want to become the UK's media giant, pushing BT and Virgin Media aside, but please, Vodafone, don't think for one minute that you will suck me in deeper than now. I'm half-escaped from your embrace, and I'm not going to be wooed afresh.

I bought my phone from you on a two-year contract. But that's finished. The phone's paid for. When it's time for another, I'll be buying it outright from Clove or Expansys, in the exact version and colour I want. I won't be getting another phone from you again, not because I disliked the experience - it was fine - but because I want to be free of you so far as possible. On principle.

All that connects us now is the annual contract on one of your SIM cards. Only £17 a month, with a 10GB mobile data allowance. For a phone, that's all I need. And if you want too much money when the SIM contract is up for renewal, I'll be off.

If you offend me in any way, I'll be off.

Are you getting the message? I am not a loyal slave. I am not to be exploited or manipulated. I am not to be pestered with offers, nor asked for my personal rating of some service you think is amazing but makes me yawn. I don't want discounted film tickets to see actors and actresses I've never heard of, in some film I don't want to see. My life is totally complete without being bombarded with 'exciting' news and notifications. Stop doing it. I warn you.

The same goes for any other big company that wants my attention and my money.

Ah, it was so good to wag my finger and get all that off my chest!

I do realise that, with a quick tweak to my Vodafone settings, I need not be bothered with all this guff. In fact I've just done it. Mind you, I thought I'd adjusted the settings already. So what went wrong? Oh, I know...I dutifully installed another 'software update' the other day. I thought it was from Samsung. It must have been from Vodafone. And the installation must have switched off all the old settings that would have blocked future notifications. That's why they all came back in a flood.

That's so sneaky. I've put it right now, reinstating my preferences. It must be awful for people who have never managed to understand the finer points of mobile phone ownership, who don't know how to block these things, and have to put up with a barrage of unwanted twaddle and rubbish. Some of them must be the people who keep their phones turned off unless they want to make a voice call. But many people nowadays keep their phones permanently switched on. They might be highly intelligent people, and very practical, but if they are not techy, and quite clueless about how to tweak their phones, they must get badgered to death.

I'm hearing more and more about what might happen when you go to a shopping centre in years to come. You will be tracked, and as you approach a shop that sells things you are known to buy, a message will be sent to your phone, informing you of any special offers within that will especially appeal to you. (So shopping centres are going to become noisy with notification noises going off all the time. How very irritating) I wondered whether this would need Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to work - which could be kept switched off - but perhaps it will work just fine using only 4G.

When 5G becomes available, fear the worst. If the shop sells clothing, then (as a 'time-saving service for busy customers') it will doubtless set up a sale for you to approve, automatically. It will go to your credit card account and reserve the money needed, and make provisional arrangements for home delivery. The shop will of course have information - possibly shared with other retailers - about your size, and what are your favourite styles and colours. And naturally, matching accessories will be suggested. You'll be able to OK the lot by just tapping your phone. Or maybe by just tilting it in the direction of the shop, without necessarily going in. Almost without thinking. And possibly by accident. I wonder how you will cancel the pending transaction? You'll certainly have to look at it and do something. Perhaps this will happen many times during your shopping centre visit, shop after shop...

What a nightmare. I shall be opting out if I can, by shopping in little villages deep in the countryside. Where indeed the phone signal will be weakest. For one thing is certain: Vodafone and the rest will never find it viable to provide a great signal in the sticks. What bliss it will be to escape the microwave saturation, the message bleeps, and all those offers one can't refuse.

1 comment:

  1. I quite liked my tablet when I first got it but things change without warning! Most recent was the onscreen keyboard changing to two separate areas on each side of screen with much smaller spaces and a nasty break in the centre where the brain cannot find the keys which should be there! As for allowing the darn thing to know where I am, that is not going to happen.

    Those small toys are sucking the lifeblood out of people as they curse that they are not working properly but there is not really any way to fully control them without devoting too much time to relearning each and every unannounced change. until all work is checked and supervised by workers mothers and grandmothers we shall continue to be bombarded by ill conceived rubbish.

    They say that one of the most exclusive things now is to be free of electronic media, more of us may get pushed that way if it impinges upon us too much. Resistance is not futile.

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Lucy Melford