A Review of the VTech Something or Other

Today I am reviewing a mundane handset telephone. Before you call me a Luddite (which would be perfectly valid, let’s be honest), I own such a phone because I some members of our household are not capable of replacing cordless phones to their bases, and those things are not to be treated as disposable. So here is the phone we bought.

Vtech phone

We spent roughly $30 on this to receive an average of 1 legitimate phone call a week. We’re not terribly popular.

Why did we purchase this phone: Our house flooded and the restoration people packed up every single item in our house, including potatoes and squash, for safe storage. Everything, except for our bloody phone. The phone was subsequently abused, immersed in dust, and scraped across our glass stove top on a daily basis for 4 months by our asshole contractor who I wouldn’t recommend to build a goddamn bird house.

So I purchased a replacement based after carefully reviewing the wide selection at whatever grocery store I was at when I remembered our landline was currently completely useless and dead to us. This particular model met the minimum requirements of 1) being a phone and 2) being a not very expensive phone.

Features: It has all the regular buttons, plus some that are mystifying and some that seem to work according their specified purpose. There are a satisfactory number of cords. You can convey sound messages through the phone and a person can reciprocate if they have a similar device. Your basic goddamn miracle of modern times.

Drawbacks: The cord is kind of short, but this seems like a problem that could be solved at the dollar store if I was really dedicated.

This is as far away from the phone as I can get, which isn’t very handy when Rice Krispies are being treated as confetti.

A bigger problem is that every time you slightly jostle the phone, the handset falls off the base and dials whatever number called you last. This is the landline equivalent of a butt dial and basically the WORST.

This happened just tonight. I noticed at the 43 minute mark (because the phone does have a convenient timer on it from the days when long distance cost eleven gazillion dollars a minute) that it had called a friend of my husband’s.

FORTY THREE MINUTES.

Forty three minutes of everything I was doing maybe being overheard. Can you think of every sound you made in the last 43 minutes? Stop and think about it, pretending you were on candid camera. Are you panicked yet? I FUCKING WAS.

Here’s what I came up with, categorized according to general state of hysteria.

Innocuous:

  • Keyboard clattering
  • Dish rattling
  • Puttering

Unknown, but possible:

  • Eating noises? This is my worst nightmare; 43 minutes of chewing sounds.
  • Any bodily sounds. Did I blow any raspberries on my arm? Did I make that duck sound with my cheeks? Did I do a lot of weird sighing for no reason? Can you hear desperation over the phone? Please dear god, don’t let me have burped a word on someone’s answering machine. For the love of all that is holy.

Shameful things that I know for sure happened:

  • Read news articles out loud and repeating sounds or phrases that appeal to me in funny accents or languages. Like “sweet fancy sandwiches” courtesy of the Fug Girls, but as though Benedict Cumberbatch was saying it. And then if I was from Jersey. I was not successful at either of those things. Then I tried to imitate how Long Islanders say LonGuyland and decided I was stupid and tried to stop.. but didn’t.
  • Random cursing. Not even at things that deserved curse words, just randomly saying things like “fuckballs” or “tits” like a more intelligent person might say “hmm, interesting”.
  • Hum-singing “America, Fuck Yeah”. As in, Amhmmmhmmmhmmm FUCK YEAH! (fist pump) Hummhmmmhmmm every motherfucking day hmmm! (lip smack noise)

Look. I do a lot of stupid things, and I don’t need to spend MORE time emergency apologizing to my friends. Landlines are supposed to be safe like that! Thank you, friends for not being jerks who would post my soundtrack to YouTube timed to funny cat videos.

Conclusion: The VTech phone is a piece of garbage, but I would recommend it for those who don’t seem to have a need for privacy, like that Lohan person or Bigbum Sextape. Or people who are full time mimes and thus don’t have to worry about embarrassing noises. Also, the relatively low cost of phone is deceiving when you have to factor in bribery beer.

Overall rating: F+ for an enthusiastic “fucking technology, I quit you.”

Addendum: While I am at it, I would also like to make apologies for recent butt dialing situations, including (but not limited to):

  • Steph, for alerting me when she heard me crunching through snow (and mercifully avoided mentioning the hissy fit over frozen hot chocolate in my van)
  • My friend C. when I was falling down reasonably drunk at a concert and probably overheard unintelligible mutterings (please god, let it be the unintelligible mutterings and not the shit I managed to be coherent for, like the deep confessions to my neighbor).
  • And my friend I., who my phone seems to have a deep and abiding affection for and calls all the time. My phone has heart hands for you, I. FYF.

Shoot me your digits (do people still say that? did they ever say that?) and maybe one day you’ll overhear some random snippet of the rollergiraffe’s life. Just kidding. You’d have to be here to program it into my phone for me, and have a degree in ancient technology.

32 comments

  1. I once butt-dialed a friend without realizing it. The next time we talked she said, “Hey, I got this really random voicemail from you the other day. It was 10 minutes of you singing ‘you’re a grand ‘ol flag, you’re a high flying flag’ in the most obnoxious voice I’ve ever heard. I saved it and will play it to everyone I know.”

    God I hate her.

  2. Oh, Jen. I’m sorry about your flooding, too, but this was fucking hilarious! That was the best product review I have ever read. Your butt dials must be entertaining. I can’t imagine they wouldn’t be.

  3. Hilarious, Jen. And a phone like that could end up making one truly paranoid – as if the whole world is listening. We, too, still have a land line. Why, I don’t know other than to ignore the phone when it rings but thank God the election is over and it has stopped ringing for the most part…

    1. I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of a landline because I can at least count on it to always work. My cell phone is another matter, because it is never charged and often lost. I may invest in a new landline phone though. Or a tinfoil hat.

  4. In planning my response for this, I was forced to actually remember the name “rotary dial”.
    But yeah, you should get one of those.
    Because if you manage to butt dial with that, you at least know your cheeks are in fantastic shape!

  5. This post made my day. I am always on the receiving end of butt dials but occasionally I am the culprit. I am always afraid I am going to get caught talking to my cats or reading my own posts aloud.

  6. With my first phone I used to accidentally dial people a lot. All they would ever hear was music, but everyone seemed to know it was me. Now my phone locks automatically after like three seconds, so that never happens. Since I rarely, okay never, remember to place the phone back on the hook, I kinda miss the old-fashioned phones.

    1. I definitely need to invest in a new cell phone to take care of the butt dialing problem. One of these days someone is going to learn some things they didn’t want to learn about me. As for the conventional landline phone, I will say that it has kept me from being on the phone too much because I can’t just wander around and randomly talk all the time. I think my friends are quite grateful.

  7. We have that phone at day care. I don’t know how it works. Can’t even pick up messages. I just answer it. It also hates cell phone calls unless every cell that calls us is in the middle of some sort of cell disruption static land.

    1. I think it’s really weird to have a phone with a built in answering machine these days; doesn’t everyone have voice mail? Ours also hates cell phone calls and only likes the speaker function every other Wednesday under the full moon.

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