Today is Sunday and I am waiting with my questionnaire. Earlier, I had announced that there would be a poll for every member of the family who owned a mobile and that they would have to answer a bunch of questions. My daughters are still in bed and my wife has been busy with her mobile phone right from the morning, obviously not interested with my project.
The one thing that always defies my budgetary provision is mobile phone expenses. Since requesting my wife and children to cut down the duration of calls they make will only be deemed as an assault on their freedom of expression, I chose to take an intelligent route to find a solution to the problem.
One of my friends, who is considered a weird of high degree in his close circles, told me that these mobile operators in fact provide a variety of packages and by selecting the right combination, I may reduce my expenses as much as by a whopping 40 per cent.
Hence, I have a prepared a detailed questionnaire calling for required details of their friends and foes, average duration of their phone calls, peak hour of activity and so on.
I hope to find an unbeatable combination of packages, with the help of the questionnaire I had designed so meticulously. However, before they turn up for the poll, I have time to look for and analyse some popular plans provided by these mobile operators.
To start with, ‘My Family and Other Animals’. This package is designed for mid-sized families with a lot of friends. Any member covered under this plan can make calls to any other member for any number of times for any amount of duration. There is a discount too if you produce a certificate that you have no other useful occupation. Now, ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’. Under this plan, for select numbers, no matter where you are, the caller will hear ‘the subscriber you are trying to reach is not reachable’ message alone. Next is ‘Farewell to Alms’, which is a tricky plan. Here you will gain 10 paise per minute for all incoming calls but the caller will lose 20 paise per minute to the operator.
‘Amonway’ plan is very popular among service technicians. Even when you answer your client from the comforts of your air-conditioned room, the caller will hear a background noise that you can customise to the sound of a moving motor cycle or a bus. When you tell the caller that you are on the way, you can be rest assured that the other person will not have an iota of doubt.
Then there are a plans like ‘Madam Mania’ and ‘Phornobia’ that are designed with politicians in mind and I need not explain their features. Voice of a lone crow call comes as free default caller tune with these plans. ‘Animal Farm’ is the plan for the student community. Here, any member can call any member and the special feature is that cross talks are allowed by default.
‘All Quieta’ and ‘Talkiban’ are two premium plans designed for office-goers. Under ‘Talkiban’, between 10 am and 5 pm, your phone will be silent to calls from select numbers and your spouse’s number will be default.
‘All Quieta’ is, however, slightly different. It throws a choice of expletives at the select callers between 5 pm and 10 am and your boss’ number is set by default. ‘Hamlet’ is the plan for those who find it difficult to decide – to talk or not to talk. It allows and blocks calls on its own in a random manner.
Apart from these plans, there is a variety of plug-ins, extensions and add-ons. The most ingenious extension is named ‘Booby Trap’ and almost all 24x7 service centres have purchased this extension. Once you install this particular extension to your phone, the callers will be presented with a menu of options and on choosing an option, a sub-menu for the selection is presented and this goes on till the callers disconnect in frustration. The vendor guarantees that no matter what the combination of selections are, the caller cannot reach you.
Now, my wife has finished talking over her phone. She looks at the questionnaire and tells me, “You are with the insurance industry and you once told me that all insurance plans are actuarially equal. Can’t you see by the same logic that all these plans are equally cheap. I bet you will end up paying the same amount, irrespective of the plans you choose, unless I go dumb”. I went dumb.