When I first started seeing Herself, I didn't have a cell-phone. This situation became untenable, so I purchased one of those Pay-As-You-Go phones, and have been -- mostly -- happy ever since.
I find the no-contract thing to be a great relief, and for a little over a dollar a day I get unlimited phone calls and unlimited texts for a month.
Plus, I find that walking into a business, setting a couple of anonymous $20 bills on the counter, and receiving a code that I input into the phone for another months service -- no address required, no information exchanged, no credit card number handed over -- to be damned civilized.
Unfortunately, the anonymity that I love is also desired by other people, people who may have a better reason for anonymity than I do.
As a for instance, this sort of easily-dumped phone is -- apparently -- often used as a business phone by those whose business might tend to be frowned upon by Society At Large, or otherwise tend to attract the attention of the Minions of The State.
Say that you are a Purveyor of Recreational Pharmaceuticals. You get one of these phones, the heat gets too close, you dump it in a garbage bin. No muss, no fuss.
Unfortunately, the phone company doesn't know about the black-market side-business, so when you don't re-up the number after a certain amount of time they re-issue the number.
For example, one of the very first texts I received on my brand-new phone -- I wasn't even sure what a text was at the time -- went something like this:
"YO I GOT DA DIME YOU GOT SUM OTHA GREEN? DOLLA!"
Huh, thinks I. I do believe that I am being asked to provide street-level amounts of marijuana. I should probably notify narcotics, but then I'd lose my two-hour-old phone to evidence for six months over a misdemeanor nickel bust, and that's just not cricket.
So, I squinted at the manual until I understood how to call a number which had texted, did so, set the phone on the table, waited until the screen announced that the other party had picked up -- then I lit three Black Cat firecrackers and started begging for my life in tones most piteous.
Of course, after the three fireworks went off, I stopped begging. Out of courtesy, you understand. Might have dropped a chair next to the table, too, come to think. Then I dragged the phone off the table, snarled, "Get his [deleted] phone. We'll find every [deleted] [deleted] the thieving mother[deleted] sold my [deleted] to and take it out of their [deleted] skin!"
Apparently the person on the other end didn't have the couth to stay on the line for the denouement of my extemporaneous little performance. Hmph. That earned that number a place on the Blocked list.
Between that sort of thing, and the exclaiming to various lady(?) friends that I was so happy they texted, that I thought they'd never speak to me again over the whole "Lying about not having herpes" business, followed up by declaring my Eternal Devotion to [Insert Random Female Name Here] and That Trick She Did With Her Tongue ...
... Well, the unsolicited calls from people I didn't know dropped precipitously. I like to assume that low-level assaults by enraged women upon the previous owner of my phone number went up by the same amount, but I have no data on that.
Anyhoo, while that part was amusing, less amusing was the fact that Sumdood Critter was apparently either a lousy dealer, or a lousy money manager, because I also received calls from a collections agency looking for him.
I would usually spend about a month telling the agency that I wasn't "Mr Sumdood Critter", that this number was a Pay-As-You-Go phone number, that I had no idea where Mr Sumdood Critter might be found. They'd finally get the hint, but after a couple of months they'd sell their list of uncollected debts to another agency and we'd start all over again.
Finally after a couple of years of this, I asked the earnest drone from the latest collections agency to put me through to her supervisor. When that worthy answered I explained -- yet again -- that I was not Sumdood Critter, that my name was LawDog, that this number was from a Pay-As-You-Go phone, and that I would like him to do something for me.
He said that he would, and I asked him to put this call on 'hold', and then to dial this other number and ask the person that answered to put him through to LawDog.
He said that he would, and less than a minute later, Dispatch calls me and says that I have a call, and wold I like them to put it through? I tell them to go ahead, they do, and I answer with my title and job.
There is a long pause on the line, and then the supervisor says that he's really sorry, and that he'll deal with it.
Not so fast sez I. Since I've been told that exact same thing for a couple of years now, I want the full name of the supervisor that I am speaking to. He hems a bit, my LawDog voice comes out, and I have his full name, and the full name and address of the collections agency he works for, which I then verify using the office Internet connection, correcting the two transposed numbers on the address.
Then I gently inform him that I am now holding him personally responsible for any further harassment. I further suggest that my number be removed from the records of this debt. He agrees. I further suggest that he ensure that my number doesn't sneak into any lists of uncollected debts sold down the line. He fervently agrees, we part on amiable terms and I've not been bothered by any calls looking for that particular critter in some years since.
This new one? I'm a little rusty, but I'll bet it'll come back to me.