Column: Lesson learned with iPhone

Farm Forum

Sometimes, we think we are all done learning when we finish high school or college. Wrong. We never stop learning, and here is an example of never being too old to learn.

The newest tech devices our young grandchildren have at their disposal is mind boggling. Our grandchildren are becoming adults, and we are slowly becoming further apart just due to their maturation.

So, to keep in touch with these grandchildren, and since they won’t answer their cellphone and absolutely will not return emails, but will answer a text immediately, Mary Ann and I decided we needed an iPhone.

Wow, is it some kind of gadget. For instance, I speaking into the phone, ask “Siri” the baseball score of the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox. In a micro-second, Siri is back with the score. We ask Siri to give us a wake-up call. Immediately, she has the alarm set.

So we go on a cruise this past winter through the Panama Canal. We go to our phone provider and sign up for an international roaming package.

We get on the ship and I am receiving emails and texts and phone calls. Suddenly, I get a message on my cellphone saying I am about out of time. What? And a day later another message arrives saying they are cutting me off, that I am out of time? What? Again? So we quickly call our provider headquarters and are told that we have been on data roaming the entire time and we already owe — are you ready for this? — $1,000! Ugh!

Needless to say, we immediately stop all use of this phone. When we reach our port in Los Angeles, we call the provider to get hooked up as normal. Once again, surprise: There will be a $279 charge to get hooked up again? What?

So we had to pay the fee in order to use this expensive toy we had come to own. It was a real surprise and painful, but, as Mary Ann says, if I can’t use my iPhone, I am nearly comatose.

When we returned home, we went to our provider to ask for an explanation of what went on during our cruise. Long story short, the cruise ship was the culprit. We didn’t know the danger of using data roaming and no wi-fi, so the ship charged us for every minute we were seeking phone calls, emails and text. Wow, what a revelation.

Now we must be fair here. The technicians at our provider were very helpful and understanding. Because we had signed up for international roaming and had no knowledge of what the ship charges were going to be, the provider allowed us to petition for a reduction of that awful bill.

About four days later, the word came that the provider was going to make an adjustment of our bill. Not for the entire amount, but for a tidy sum anyway. Live and learn.

Nuff said.

Gerald “Jerry” Krueger is a retired educator, coach, commercial pilot and farmer. Write him at His column publishes Mondays.