I’ve been learning the hard way

So you know I said last week I’d finally got to the end of a long and frustrating saga? Grab a cuppa and let me tell you the story…

It all started with me deciding it was time for me to join the 21st century and get a smartphone. Trouble is, I’m really terrible at researching what’s available and figuring out what would be best for me – I love learning how to use a new gadget but am hopeless at reading up on the different ones, analysing the data and coming to conclusions about which one I should buy. My husband is brilliant at that – thorough and methodical research is totally his thing, but my brain seems to lack that module.

So what’s a girl to do? I went into a shop and asked for advice…

Yes, I know… a bit naive, you’re thinking… but this is a chain that used to be really good at that. I’d bought mobile phones from them in the past and they’d been really helpful in pointing me to the right one.

So, painful lesson learned: Carphone Warehouse staff are nice, and they try to be helpful, but they’re not as expert as I used to think they are.

And one specific thing some of them don’t seem to know, which is apparently why they sold me the wrong phone: if you want to install lots of apps, you need your phone to have enough internal memory – adding an SD card doesn’t help. This is what I found out only after a lot of googling and asking friends’ advice and tearing my hair out and, yes, buying an SD card…

The story went on for three months, and it included times when I seriously cried – yes, I know this is #firstworldproblems but when you’ve written two letters to the company and finally at long last it looks like you’re getting to the end of the story but then, at home with you new phone (the second one) you find that the guy in the shop sold you a phone with 8GB memory even though you’d both agreed that 16GB is the minimum that would work for you… I absolutely did cry. I also felt very much like yelling at that guy, so with hindsight I’m glad it was after 5.30 so I couldn’t talk to him straight away.

(Why am I glad I didn’t get to yell at him straight away? Because here’s the thing: thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus I’ve had all my sins forgiven by God – everything I’ve ever thought and said and done! So really, there’s no room for me to stay angry with this guy, there’s no excuse for me to not forgive him. So, guy-in-the-shop whom I shan’t name publicly because I’m not into embarrassing people – if you’re reading this, know that I’ve forgiven you. Because God has forgiven me.)

Anyway, the long and painful saga ended with me getting a beautiful shiny Huawei P8 Lite, which comes with 16GB, and does everything I wanted a smartphone to be able to do. I’ve been happily installing more and more apps and there’s no sign of the dreaded “insufficient memory” notice that the first phone (Huawei Y3) kept giving me. And now that it’s over, I find myself surprisingly thankful for the long and frustrating saga. Yes, thankful! Let me tell you why.

When I first walked into that shop back in August and looked around, I found myself surrounded by the shiny – beautiful gadgets, so very tempting, and how do I choose? If I’d been offered the P8 Lite there and then – which is what should have happened, if the guys who dealt with me had given me the expert advice I’d hoped for – I’d have gone home with a perfectly good phone, but I wouldn’t have known that it’s definitely the right one for me. And I would probably have had moments of doubt and of maybe even guilt for spending so much when maybe, just maybe, a cheaper phone would have done the job… Because, you see, I feel responsible and answerable to God for how I use the resources he’s given me, so spending more on a phone that will work better for me is something I feel fine about, but spending more on a phone just because it’s more cool and shiny is not something I’d feel ok about.

And this is where I see God’s loving, fatherly provision for me in this whole long story – as a good and loving father, he gives me not what I would like but what I really need: he gave me the opportunity to learn the hard way the lessons I needed to learn, so now I can really enjoy this new phone, knowing that it really is the right one for me and that a cheaper phone wouldn’t do the job.

And also – that second phone that I was sold by mistake, that was only 8GB instead of 16GB? the stage of this story when I really was at the end of my tether? That was his provision too! I got that phone on a Friday afternoon, and because I couldn’t get hold of them on the phone the next day (because Carphone Warehouse have this rather interesting approach, where you try phoning them when the store is busy and you get put on hold for five minutes and then get a recorded message telling you that (1) your call is important to them so (2) please call back later… I have yet to see how those two parts work together – if my call is important to you then surely you should give me the option to leave a message and ask you to call me back???) (also: turns out it’s a premium number so you pay an arm and a leg for the privilege of not getting to talk to them) – anyway, where was I? oh yes, because I couldn’t get hold of them on the phone, I was stuck with this second phone for the whole weekend – the guy in the shop had already opened the packaging and put my SIM card in and transferred my apps and data, so it was no longer an unused phone anyway, so I used it. And this was my chance to spend a few days with a Samsung J3 and to realise that I’m not at all thrilled with Samsung and that I really like the way Huawei design phones.

You don’t get that when you’re just trying a phone out in the shop.

So I’m here now to say thank you to my Father in heaven for that very long and painful journey. Thank you, God, that you know what’s good for me and you love me enough to provide me with what I really need and not with what I want.

Carphone Warehouse, on the other hand, have lost me as a customer.

p.s. the photo at the top is my artsy way of marking the happy ending – from right to left: my old Nokia, which served as my mobile phone from November 2007 till August 2016; my first smartphone (Huawei Y3), which I named Alexander I (Alexander because of the word smart in smartphone, and smart alec, and Alec being short for Alexander; and the first because he was my first smartphone); and Alexander III, my beautiful and shiny Huawei P8 Lite. (The Samsung J3 went back to the store. I had him only for a few days, and named him Alexander the One and a Halfst, because I couldn’t see him as Alexander II – he was only temporary.) (Yes, I name things. Doesn’t everyone?…)

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