VIEWPOINT

I am glad to be sitting here writing this column this week. The boss is on vacation and it was my turn to hold down the fort.

Of course, if I am still sitting here a week from now, I will be a little less happy. My husband and I are waiting for the birth of our first child any day.

Well the doctor says it should arrive any day, but he has been saying that for the past three weeks. The due date is not until the 25th, but family history and other factors seem to indicate the baby will show up sooner than that. I sure hope so. This 40-week plan is seriously flawed. I was ready to be done with pregnancy at about 32 weeks.

Work is a good distraction though for the discomfort and for the waiting.

The consumer attitudes studies Antony Bruno reported on this week were of particular interest to me. The gist of his story is that the consumer wants whatever will make his life easier.

About two years ago I purchased my first cellular phone. It was one of those all-in-the-box deals. I used it. Sometimes. But most of the time, since I am either at my desk or at my home, I really didn’t have an urgent need for it. I generally used the airtime up calling radio talk shows or trying to win contests during my commute.

The one-year contract expired and I didn’t renew. Once I found out about the baby I thought a lot about reactivating service, but here I am at “any day” and I haven’t yet. The biggest reason I am wireless-less at this point is I can’t decide what the best deal really is or even what a good deal would be for me-and I’m in the industry.

I thought about going pre-paid since I own a handset now (the one from the box), but I thought I could get a less expensive monthly plan with one of the offerings I have seen in the paper and on billboards or have heard about on the radio and on television a jillion times a day. True competition has arrived in Denver.

Those deals sound pretty good until you get to the fine print or are on the phone with someone for more information and you find out that monthly service is $20 per month with 2,000 minutes but the handset costs $99.95 and activation is $49.95. In my opinion, it is those upfront costs that still sting for the average consumer and suddenly $20 a month does not sound like such a great deal.

I intend to keep shopping and have a phone again soon-it will be an important “mommy tool”-but for now I am just hoping the baby doesn’t choose to arrive during that hour and 20 minutes a day that I am in the car.

This consumer wants what will make her life easier and a straightforward, no surprises, easy to understand plan.

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