Two of my bete noirs are being chased down by the forces of goodness this week: the mobile phone international roaming charge scandal and the extended warranty scam. Unsurprisingly, the perpetrators of these two money-sucking malfeasances are complaining long and loud that it's so unfair to be victimised. The telephone companies say that in these terrible times of financial torment they can't be expected to cut the only decent source of profit, while the high street electrical outlets that are most at fault for flogging unnecessary guarantees stridently claim that they are value for money and well worth it in terms of giving consumers peace of mind.
Yeah. Right. I know how much peace of mind paying £130 for a 'five year guarantee' on a £180 Minidisc player would give me, especially since the darned things don't go wrong. It's especially rich when the sales staff give you a scary story about how difficult it is to get things fixed these days and how much independent repair shops charge, given the track record of some of the guarantee companies.
And as for roaming: I'm not the only person who knows people who've inadvertently spent more than their airfare in phone charges. Remember: get your phone unlocked and buy a pay-as-you-go sim in the country of your destination. That's if you really must talk back home: text messages are the new postcards, you know. The phone companies must learn that incompetence in raising revenue in one way doesn't excuse cupidity in another.
In any case, next time I go abroad I'm going to send my wish you were heres by Oscar 7. Y'all got two weeks to learn morse code.