The Best Droid Is the One You Already Have

“Droid. Droid. Droid.” I couldn’t force my phone to stop making that incessant sound. “Droid. Droid. Droid.”

I wrapped the phone in jeans, wrapped the jeans in towels, threw it into the back of my closet, and slammed the door for good measure.

It wasn’t enough to muffle the voice.

“Droid. Droid. Droid.” I was living in a Stephen King novel.

******
how to save money on a droid
I knew something was wrong when my phone’s camera quit working. Every time I tried to take a photo, the camera would freeze and then Force Quit.

I assumed my phone had a weird glitch my patented method could solve: turn it off and turn it on again. As my phone rebooted, a baritone voice announced: “Droid.”

So far so good. The phone is supposed to say “Droid” once — just once! — before loading the main screen. The manufacturers must be afraid I’ll confuse it with an iPhone.

But the main screen never loaded. The phone jammed itself into a booting loop, with the baritone chanting “Droid” every few seconds.

Okay, techies, I know what you’re thinking. I could have removed the battery to end the incessant “Droid” chant. But I had painstakingly painted French tips onto my nails and I wasn’t about to mess up my manicure prying off the phone cover. Gentlemen, mock me all you want. Ladies, I know you understand.

******
I took the phone to the Verizon store. The minute I walked in, every patron turned to stare. “Droid. Droid. Droid,” kept emanating from my bag.

“Oof,” said the Verizon employee in a suit standing by the front door. “That’s bad.”

Another employee named James came to help “fix” my phone. Well, actually, he didn’t try to fix it at all. James took the battery out and then put it back in. The phone cried, “Droid. Droid. Droid.” James shook his head.

“Your software crashed,” he said matter-of-factly after spending less than 15 seconds with it. “You need to buy a new phone.” He led me to the product display.

“Wait a sec,” I said. “That’s, like, $250.”

He shook his head. “You should have bought a warranty.”

Extended warranties are the most profitable service that tech retailers sell — which is precisely why I as a consumer know not to buy it. According to SmartMoney, retailers earn a 40 to 80 percent profit on warranties and insurance. Consumer Reports says extended warranties are usually not a wise buy, especially for small items like phones.

“The cost of the premium over a year, for example, would be $50 or $60. Tack on the deductible ($50 – $125), and you’ve paid as much as you would have to buy a new phone,” Consumer Reports wrote about smartphone warranties.

James, apparently, had a different opinion. “You can get an extended warranty on your new phone,” he assured me.

“I’m not buying a new phone. Can’t you look into fixing this?”

He shook his head again. “Nope. But we’ve got some great new phones here … ”

Disgusted, I went home. I may look like a Clueless character with my French nails, but I’m no idiot.

******

My D.I.Y. phone fix took 5 minutes. Well, actually, hunting through tech forums to figure out what to do took about an hour. The fix itself took 5 minutes. It required me to:

  • Pop the battery out.
  • Wait 2 minutes. Put the battery back in.
  • Simultaneously hold the “power” and the “down” volume buttons.
  • Release the “power” and “volume” buttons when a white screen appears.
  • Press the “volume-down” button twice.
  • Press the “power” button once.
  • Ta-da! My phone is fixed.

Weird, I know. But it’s nothing I wouldn’t do for $250 bucks.



Comments

  1. says

    Don’t you just love the internet for fixes like this! I have an iPhone that I bought over 2 years ago. I splurged (with cash of course) on the 32GB and haven’t looked back! I’m in no spot to buy a new phone though, that’s for sure. I’m hoping that a) my phone lasts at least another year or 2. b) if it breaks, there’s an easy fix like yours and c) if there’s no fix, I hope the $50 16GB iPhones are still available! Fingers crossed! Glad you didn’t have to buy a new phone!

  2. says

    Smart plan trying to get more information on the internet. There is nothing like a little knowledge that goes a long way. My wife has had issues with Verizon employees not really knowing what was going on. She has found one that has a clue, but you have to be careful.

    • says

      @cashflowmantra — It’s easy for a business (any business) to earn money when it has a monopoly on the information … thankfully the Internet has now made information ubiquitous! We have Craigslist instead of classifieds; eBay instead of just thrift stores; and so many blogs and forums that any DIY project — whether its DIY managing your money, DIY home repair or DIY landscaping/gardening is totally do-able! My boyfriend has saved me a lot of money byusing the Internet to troubleshoot car problems, and then buying the parts online, and using the Internet to learn how to DIY install.

  3. says

    Yeah, I’m glad you didn’t buy a new phone. I hope they try something more on how to fix your phone than taking advantage the situation by offering a new phone. Well, business as usual! Thanks to the internet and techy forums!

  4. says

    Nice! I did this with my iPod years ago. The warranty had expired and all I had to do was pop it open, disconnect and reconnect the hard drive. It eventually did die, by the internet fix got me a few more years out of it.

  5. says

    This made me laugh out loud – I’m VERY familiar with that little “Droid” voice and hearing it over and over and over would send anyone over the edge.

    Android forums have been some of the best investment of time I’ve ever made when it comes to figuring out the little quirks and frustrating things that happen with my phone!

  6. says

    Wow. Amazing that the little “techie” wouldn’t even attempt to fix it! I’m sure they’re told to push new phones when you haven’t purchased the extended warranty, but still! Great job on fixing your phone!

  7. says

    Nice fix… now you can head back and educated the poor tech. Interesting, don’t you think, that some creator thought, “Hey, I know… press the power button once, the volume twice…” just to fix such a problem.

  8. says

    Phew, glad you were able to fix it for free! The power cord to my laptop fried a WEEK after my warranty expired and sadly I had to bite the bullet on that one, but at least the laptop is still holding up! -Sydney

  9. says

    I would have loved to be a patron in that store when you walked in with a talking droid purse!

    My husband and I were just talking about those extended warranties. He used to sell them in college when he worked for Best Buy. He says the electronics stores make the bulk of their profits on small ticket items that have huge markups, and on the warranties. And often, the warranties don’t cover certain problems, even though they say they do.

    • says

      @Lindy Mint — I can’t imagine how confused the patrons at the store were! “Why does she have a talking purse …?”

      I definitely believe what your husband says — that most of those store make their profits from small-ticket items and warranties! Consumer Reports is pretty adamantly anti-warranty, especially for small items that you can afford to replace out-of-pocket.

  10. says

    Thank you!!!!!!!!

    Its good to be reminded that you can fix pretty much anything if you put in the time. I’d say that $250 for an hour of your time is pretty awesome!

    If I were you, I’d go back to the store, look the clerk in the face, and told him your old phone was fixed… (I’d then make a point of not going to that store again for purchases.) People need to start focusing on their customers again… we are people… not a name and a number.

  11. says

    Yup, I’ve been in your position before. What’s great now is that you can always find someone online that has had the same issue and they’ve written about it on a forum or somewhere online.

    Thank you Internet!!!

    Glad you were able to get it fixed.

  12. says

    I’m curious how old your droid is? It should have at least 1 year warranty from the manufacturer and probably another year from your credit card.

    • says

      @Silme — The one-year warranty is expired (bought it in May 2010). I’m not sure if my credit card offers an extended warranty, though that’s a good idea … thank goodness its fixed!

  13. Sara Hardy says

    Its good to be reminded that you can fix pretty much anything if you put in the time. Great job on fixing your phone! And often, the warranties don’t cover certain problems, even though they say they do.

    • says

      @Sara — Yeah, sometimes a problem seems unsolveable UNTIL you start tackling it, at which point you realize it’s not as bad as you thought! …. Thanks for commenting and visiting my site!

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