Juice Dealer (a short two character scene)

A man is standing on a street corner, looking around. He is a dealer in all things power.
Dealer : Charge your phone! Charge your tablet! Charging…
A man passes by him and stops. He reaches into his pocket.
Man : Did you say you charge phones?
Dealer: I do! What can I charge for you?
Man : My phone is dying… I don’t mean to sound morbid of course. Could you charge it?
Dealer : that’s all I do! Let me see your phone.
Man : What are your rates?
Dealer : Why concern yourself with that now? Do you need your phone charged or not?
Man : I suppose you have a good point.
The man gives over his phone, which is attached to a battery. They stay quiet for about half a minute.
Dealer : Okay, you are all charged.
Man : That’s impossible! (He looks at his phone.) How did you do it?
Dealer : As I said, it’s what I do. That’ll be a hundred dollars.
Man : You must be kidding! That’s outrageous! Why didn’t you say it would be so expensive?!
Dealer : Cost is relative. A dollar is expensive if you’re living on the street and it’s all that’s standing between you and starvation. A hundred dollars, please.
Man : But I don’t have a hundred dollars!
Dealer : That’s rather unfortunate. I’m going to have to keep your phone. Well… there is an alternative.
Man : Which is what?
Dealer : Are you a believing man?
Man : I’m not sure I follow. What do you want, my soul for eternity?
Dealer : No. Seven years — and they will be unpleasant!
Man : Hey, whatever it takes — I just want my phone back.
The dealer takes out a tablet and jabs the man with a stylus. The man howls in pain.
The man walks away with his phone, holding his wrist.
Dealer, to himself : Works every time!

AT&T Changed The Meaning Of Unlimited

How is this still going on?

If you don’t understand what you’re seeing here, let me go back to 2009 when my wife and I both bought iPhones. We both signed contracts for unlimited text and data. Unlimited — meaning that we could use as much as we wanted in a month.

Only as the years passed and apps were developed that consumed more bandwidth — YouTube, anyone? — the wireless provider suddenly realized that it was very easy for someone to use up many gigabytes of data in a month if no cap was put on it — and so they did away with their unlimited plan. Anyone who had an unlimited plan could continue to use it — and so we did.

Then the throttling began — without warning, AT&T started slowing down the speed of people who went over five gigabytes in one month. They would send text messages (So called free alerts — I get unlimited text so why tell me that the text won’t cost me anything when you should know as my provider that I can get as many of those as I want…) telling me that I was close to five and I should slow down.

Why? When you tell someone they have access to unlimited data, you should NOT attempt to slow them down just because they are actually making use of their plan. The company was sued by the FCC and has been asked to pay a fine of one hundred million dollars for deceptive marketing — unlimited means unlimited, and a throttled service is not giving people unlimited data.

As you can see from the message I received just today, they are still at it! Oh the wording is quite clever and technical but it all still means the same thing — you are paying for unlimited data but you are NOT going to get it if it’s the last thing we do!

Unacceptable, AT&T!

The Dream Restaurant

I have a dream restaurant — I think it would be a spectacular hit. Feel free to take this idea and run with it as I don’t have the time nor the energy to start a restaurant — I do have this idea, however. It doesn’t particularly matter what kind of food is served, really. This idea is more about the atmosphere in the restaurant.

Imagine people arriving at this restaurant and waiting to be seated. The mâitre d’ greets the first group of people waiting to be sat and tells them, “Everybody please hand over your phones and tell me your names. He takes everybody’s mobile phone and attaches a small note to the back of each with the name of the owner. The phones are then taken to a separate room, out of sight of the general sitting area.

In the room, a person monitors the phones. When one of the phone rings, he looks at the name and answers, “Jack’s phone, this is Greg at (insert the name of the restaurant here — does it really matter?)” He then determines if the call is important or can wait and if it is sufficiently important, he pages the head waiter to get Jack. Jack excuses himself and comes to the room to have the conversation with the person who has called him.

Absent entirely from this restaurant is the following : people talking on their phone while eating (particularly when that person is in mixed company), people checking their e-mail, and of course — a group of people who in theory have come together to eat lunch but in practice are oblivious to the presence of each other because every single person is staring at their phone and playing a game in which they are crushing candy. Of course, the only thing they are really crushing is valuable time. I write this from the perspective of someone who has wasted far too much time on mind numbing games like this one — but I try to keep it to the subway and not when I am in mixed company.

Would a restaurant like this work? More importantly, would you be interested in dining in a restaurant like this?