Thursday, December 5, 2013

Silver Assurant Linings in Gray Cell Phone Clouds

Internet, e-mail, advanced texting, tethering, games, apps – my android phone could do it all! I used it for everything, from connecting my desktop to the internet to e-mailing out wedding invitations to save on postage. Here is my worthless two cents on what transpired over the last twenty-four hours when my phone was stolen.

I was on cloud nine with my cell phone. If you wanted to know the metric conversion of a quarter inch screw, my phone could tell you. If you wanted to know the quickest route to Las Vegas, my phone could tell you. If you wanted to know the proper way to iron pants, my phone could tell you. It also held documents and pictures that I can easily attach to a text or e-mail to share with others, and there was virtually an unlimited amount of contacts that it could hold. I am not a materialistic person, but that phone was a big part of my life and gave me everything I needed to know right at my fingertips.

I got off of work around 5:30 pm yesterday and I really just wanted to take it easy, but my boyfriend James (name changed) said that he really wanted to go to the mall to window shop. Okay, I must stop here to express how much I hate window shopping. I see absolutely no point in looking at all the things in the world that I have no money to buy. In fact, I only feel broke when I go window shopping with him. So why do I do it? Because I love him, and it makes him happy. However dear readers, you had best believe that when I throw something out there that I want to do, he is doing it! So I met him right after work and we went to the mall. True to form, we bought not one thing and only walked from store to store with him looking and pointing and me grinning and baring it.

I noticed that my phone was missing as I was getting into the car and went to plug it into the car charger. My hands felt all over that bag, first calmly, then frantically as I realized that I was not feeling the recognizable rubber case that signals to my brain that I am touching my phone. We retraced our steps through the mall and James even called it in a few spots to see if we could hear it, but it was nowhere.

How do I know it was stolen? Because I never walk around with my phone in my hand, and I definitely do not sit it down anywhere when I have to use it. Also, it would not be difficult for a thief to spot because it was sitting at the top of my purse where it normally is.

I was devastated! It felt like I was raped, like something intimate and personal was taken from me by force. I tried to hold it together for James’ sakes since he is known to fall apart in an instant (I love him, but he knows it is true). When I got home, I laid on the couch and pondered how this could not have happened at a worse time. How would I finish sending those invitations? How would I regain all of those contacts and pictures? How would I ever get back to level seventy on Candy Crush? Using James’ phone, I sent a long text to my stolen phone begging the possessor to return it back to me. Then I called it and the phone kept ringing but no one answered. Each subsequent time I called it went straight to voicemail like it was off. That told me one of two things: The thief got pass the lock and turned the phone off, or someone took the battery out to turn it off. Either way, I know that someone had physical possession of my phone and did something to it because it was on and the ringer was all the way up when I had it last. Last night and two times this morning I called the mall to see if perhaps someone had turned it in, but each time there was nothing in the lost and found. Yup, it was gone.

Then, about an hour ago, I remembered that I had purchased phone insurance through Assurant for only $5 a month when I bought my phone, something I thought was frivolous at the time. I quickly pulled up their website, filed a claim, paid the $100 deductible, called to verify the details of the claim, and they said they would ship a new phone to me with free expedited shipping. They are out of the Samsung SII phone that I lost, so they are sending me a newer phone worth $300.00, an LG Optimus F7. I pulled it up online and I have to say that while I generally do not care for LG phones, I think this one is going to work out just fine. When I told James, he said that this is the phone he wanted. So I saved $200 on a brand new smart phone!

What about all of those contacts and photos, and the wedding invitation documents? Well, I reformatted my phone about two months ago hoping it would help with a text messaging issue I was having. If anyone has ever reformatted their phone before, they know that it means deleting all information and restoring it to factory settings based on the latest upgrade. Before I did that, I backed all of my contacts to my main e-mail account. After reformatting it, I downloaded the .vcf files from my e-mail and all of my contacts were restored. I do not see why I could not do that again. As I was creating my wedding invitations, I also backed those up on my work computer, James’ e-mail account, and two of my e-mail accounts.

After going through all of this, now I feel really good about what happened, you know, as good as I could feel about being robbed. I am not happy about having to pay the $100 deductible since I had to pay it from my rent money which is due today meaning it will be late, but I hope to have that squared away Friday next week when I get paid again, although that will be difficult since my car payment is also due. Ugh! It’s always something, isn’t it?

Nonetheless, I will be back in business when I get my phone back. In the meantime, I learned that I love e-mailing James’ phone. He gets it like a text message, but it is much easier for me to type him on a full computer keyboard than to text or swype him on a phone. That is something that I want to take advantage of all the time when I have to text him at work. I also learned that the next time I buy a purse, it will be one where the top is not left open, but it is covered over and zipped or buttoned. Finally, I learned the importance of backing up information. If I did not back up my contacts, photos, and documents, I would have to start all over from scratch. So after going through this trying ordeal, I think I will be just fine.

Have you ever been stripped of your cell phone or some other integral part of your life? What happened and how did you deal with it?

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