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This is a question Mobile phone disasters

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How has a mobile phone wrecked your life?

(, Thu 30 Jul 2009, 12:14)
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3 Profiteering!
I typed the majority of this up yesterday and then closed the tab by mistake, so it may not be as well crafted as I’d like, but I’ll give it another go:

How I made a Shitload of money off 3:

Like many of you I’m sure, I visit a local car boot every now and then. This one is a fairly big affair, you pay your pound, park up, and wander round. There’s an indoor area which is taken up mostly by market traders, and people actually car-booting go in the field next to these. I’m talking about the market traders though.

I’m not a huge fan of these people anyway; as far as I’m concerned a car boot should be just that, not people out looking for their profit margin. Aside from anything else, they tend to sell utter tat. There are also the wheeler-dealers who are slightly more tolerable, buying and selling second-hand goods, but ultimately they want to make a fat margin on whatever they sell.

It’s one of these dealers that really got on my tits. A father and son team, flogging whatever they could lay their hands on basically. Books, furniture, VHS, bikes, PCs, blah blah. Usual crap. But the son had his own little area, complete with glass cases, dedicated to computer games and consoles, gameboys, anything like that. Most of all though, and the crowning jewel and star feature, were the mobile phones. When I used to go quite a lot, these were the days when the 3310 was still the height of cool, and colour screens were hitting the market. I bought the odd crap phone off him, including my first ever mobile, an Ericsson box, an utter piece of shit. Just new enough to still work. But I’m not ranting about this, because they were running a fairly legit business and I never got actually screwed over by him.

What I objected to was the sudden appearance of a massive RSPB banner above their stalls, proclaiming it ‘not-for-profit’ and that all proceeds went to the RSPB. I knew this was the height of crap – I’d sold stuff a few times myself, and I’d seen them in the local area – this was their living, buying stuff cheap and selling it not quite so cheap, and pocketing the proceeds. It was blatantly obvious, I’m sure not just to me, that the sign was an utter lie. Aside from this, the dealers were a couple of obnoxious bastards.

Anyway, at the time in question 3 was just emerging as a fresh-faced new network, with ‘the future of phones’ – video calling. Now to accommodate video calling you need a fairly high-specced phone, no-one really thinks about it any more, but they had to bring out phones which encorporated 2 cameras, and all the associated gubbins – video streaming, video playback, internet access, blah blah. The result were 3’s first 2 phones, NEC models, see them here:

Now these are really big buggers, bigger than any modern PDA, but they were absolutely cutting-edge at the time, no-one else had anything like this. Trouble being all people wanted at the time were tiny phones, so it didn’t set 3 off to a good start. Anyway – to buy these phones would generally cost about £400.00. But 3, being the start-up they were, were desperate to just get people on the network, so they would sell you a pay as you talk one for £50! I saw this on the website, considered it to be the bargain of the century, and bought 1 of each. I spent many a couple of happy weeks playing with the new toys, but ultimately I only needed one, and the clamshell was so much prettier, I thought I’d get rid and get a decent price. I half expected to be turned down, told to fuck off, or offered £10. Instead the bastard nearly tore my arm off, haggled with me on the price, touting his RSPB banner, which just put the shits up me. I walked away £150.00 happier – a £50 profit, and a free, ugly-as-fuck phone.

The trouble with these phones though, was that 3 didn’t actually have a ‘PAYG’ option at the time. What they had was a SIM which linked to your debit card – permanently – and whatever calls you made, you paid for. Sounds good, except that these phones couldn’t be used on another network, couldn’t be unlocked, and you couldn’t buy a PAYG SIM for them. Obviously I wasn’t about to sell this to the dodgy cunt with the SIM, so I snapped it the moment I left. And the phone was useless.

The best bit? He had it, pride-of-place, for about 3 months. He eventually got rid to some tool for £100, who happened to go to my school and walked around talking on it as loudly as possible – I took enormous pleasure in explaining why he couldn’t possibly be on a call.

Now this is getting unjustifiably long, but that’s still not the end. I had a technically-minded friend, and between us we figured out a way to take a rip of a Simpsons DVD (I had all the seasons that were out), convert it to Quicktime files, cut them into 4 parts, and transfer them onto the phone so it would play them back. We would watch episodes on the bus on the way to school - the quality was poor but watchable, and we had pre-empted the iPhone by about 8 years! 3 were already running downloadable clips of ‘Naughty Kid’ etc, but nothing more substantial. So we started flogging them on eBay. £6 a season, split the profits each time. We branched out into Futurama and then into films. Sold about 200 discs before I got banned, and decided it was time to throw in the towel as people had started imitating for rather less money. The phone stuck around for another 5 years, and then I sold it for a tenner. Altogether, about the most profitable phones I ever bought, and it allows me to claim that I was the first to think of TV on a phone.
(, Tue 4 Aug 2009, 12:07, closed)
If so, I think I know the one you mean...
(, Wed 5 Aug 2009, 21:12, closed)
That's the jobby.

(, Thu 6 Aug 2009, 10:23, closed)

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