I love it when an empty threat actually works.


I am leaving the country on a longish trip starting in late August, and so I was hoping to get my phone unlocked so that I could use the local SIMs and service in the countries I will be visiting. I had recently heard that ATT (my provider) was finally officially unlocking phones at the end of their subscriber contracts, and I knew that I was very close to being at the end of mine. So I called them and asked them to unlock my phone before I leave for my trip. The woman on the other end did a lookup and told me my contract would not be over until the end of September, so there was no way they could unlock it before then. In a calm and sweet voice, I explained to her that while I would still be paying on my contract of course, it was insane to expect me to pay ATTs exorbitant rates in Europe while travelling, and that I preferred to use a local SIM. She said she understood, but this was the policy and they would not change it for anyone. I asked to speak to a manager, and got exactly the same story. I told them at the end of the call that because of this I would probably switch carriers when my contract expired, and that I felt it was ridiculous that they would not unlock my phone one measly, single month earlier, especially since I had been a customer in good standing for so long. They said they understood my frustration, but there was really nothing they could do.

After hanging up, still full of discontent and bile, I dashed off the following email note to their support:

I am going out of the country on Aug 24, and need my phone unlocked  before then. Your reps on the support line said you wont do this, even though I am a great customer and have only a month left on my contract.  If you refuse to unlock my phone, I WILL move to another carrier as soon as my contract is up. Do you really want to lose a customer over this?  You will.

Not ten minutes later I received an email from ATT informing me that they had unlocked my phone, and that I should do a restore in iTunes to activate the unlock. Sure enough, after doing the restore I was greeted with this glorious message:


Strange things I see frequently


I don’t know if they didn’t get the memo, but a startlingly large number of people talking on cell phones in Mexico hold the phone in front of their mouth while talking. It is as if they didn’t know that the mouthpiece on these things was designed to pick up their voice WHILE the body of the phone is pressed to their ear. This allows for a quite handy full-duplex conversation, a wonderful feature of modern life. I never noticed this type of behavior in other countries I have visited, so what is up with Mexico or its cell phones?