For the story so far (and audio file and list of players): ADELAIDE DAYS
41. A Phone That Is Smarter Than You Are
Maddie has chatted to a friend at Feast and discovered that there is an app that would convert her phone into a microphone and enable her to hear conversations.
There are advantages in not knowing what people are saying. For example Maddie doesn’t have to listen to every single conversation about Tony Abbott. But on the whole she finds deafness an isolating experience. A benign smile is not always enough. People expect something more appropriate when they are letting off steam about Tony.
So Maddie is very interested in this app. There is a catch however. Her current phone is hopelessly out of date and doesn’t know the meaning of app. It is useless for anything except phone calls and texts. Maddie will have to upgrade.
She enlists Anne to help. Anne doesn’t know any more about phones than Maddie does but they are two intelligent women and will work it out. They choose Marion shopping centre, thinking they will avoid the Christmas crowds in the city. Unfortunately most of the rest of Adelaide has made the same decision. But our intrepid shoppers find a park within a mile or so of their goal and make their way through the acres of cars.
In the first phone shop they are greeted by an adolescent urchin. She has an endearing grin and an unruly mop of black hair, an unlikely handmaiden in this gleaming temple of commerce. But her knowledge of phones is encyclopedic. She introduces them to the mysteries of android, gigabyte and talk-time. Maddie is charmed and is about to sign up for an $85 a month plan when Anne pulls her away.
They retreat to a coffee shop to regroup.
‘I thought it was a good deal.’ Maddie says.
‘It sounds expensive to me. I’m sure Julia doesn’t even pay half that and she uses her phone all the time for work.’
‘But the stuff about the camera sounded good, on that android. All those pixels.’
‘How many pixels?’
‘I don’t know. Lots.’
‘What is a pixel anyway?’
‘Something that lives at the bottom of the garden of course.’
‘Seriously,’ Anne says. ‘Do you really care about the camera side of it?’
‘No I suppose not.’
‘I just think we should look at a few more.’
After two more shops Anne is beginning to see a pattern.
‘Where’s that brochure?’ she says.
They are on their third coffee stop and Maddie’s brain is trembling. She hands over the brochure from the original urchin.
‘I get it,’ Anne says. ‘They sell different brands of phone but only one brand of plan, their own.’
‘So how do we find out what’s the cheapest plan? I don’t think I can take too many more shops’
Anne looks sheepish. ‘We’re so old fashioned. We do what we should have done all along. We go home and Google cheapest phone plan in Australia.’
‘That’s right. And when you get your new phone you can shop from your phone.’
Outside the coffee shop the crowds are milling.
‘How come they aren’t shopping online?’ Maddie asks.
‘They must be old fashioned too. It’s reassuring really.’
But around the next corner the presence of the crowd is explained. Father Christmas is holding court.