Blackberry Blues

by | Jun 20, 2008 | Cash Flow, Travel and Dining, Weekly Column

blackberry-8830.jpgI am addicted to my Blackberry. It adds ease, connectivity, mobility, and convenience to my life. I could not accomplish the things I do, travel as much as I do, and be as efficient as I am without it.

So when an employee of the Hyatt Regency Bonaventure in Weston, Florida decided he or she needed my Blackberry worse than I did, it pretty much ruined the better part of my week.

How can I be so sure who stole my Blackberry? When I attend an educational session, I put the Blackberry on the table in front of me. I use it to take notes, give myself to-dos, and communicate by email with my staff. At this session, Ted Klontz and I were the last people to leave the room. As we left, employees were hurrying in to get the room ready for the next session. As we walked down the hallway, I discovered I had left my Blackberry on the table. I returned to find about 20 crew people running all over the room, no tables or chairs remaining, and no one who would admit to seeing my Blackberry, even though less than five minutes had gone by.

The next day I flew home. I haven’t traveled without a cell phone for a long, long time. It wasn’t enjoyable. Apparently, Northwest Airlines is no longer equipped to help people who don’t travel without cell phones. When my connecting flight into Rapid City was delayed, I asked the gate agent if I could use a phone to call my wife. No, they were not allowed to let customers use the phone. Okay, how about a phone card? No, they didn’t issue phone cards anymore. Okay, would you make an announcement and ask if anyone would be willing to let me make a call on their cell phone? No. Okay, where is the nearest pay phone? About half a mile down that concourse. Does it accept credit cards? Yes.

Half a mile later, I learned the phone did not accept credit cards, just coins. I didn’t have any coins. It was past 10:00 PM, so all the shops were closed. I hiked back to ask the gate agent if she could make change for a dollar. Of course she couldn’t.burglar.jpg

Aside from the emotional aggravation and a week of down time, the cost of this misadventure will be about $600. The Blackberry model I have retails for $600. I was able to reduce that to $400 with a phone upgrade credit and a two-year extension to my contract. I spent $200 to have my IT person set up the new phone.

I hadn’t ever thought about insuring my Blackberry. When I purchased the new one, I was given the option of buying insurance for $5.95 per month, or roughly $72 a year, with a $50 deductible.

I checked with my insurance agent about adding the Blackberry to my homeowner’s policy. She told me it would cost $15 a year with no deductible, but she recommended insuring through Verizon instead, since a couple of claims would probably increase my homeowner’s policy by far more than $72.

Since you must sign on for the Verizon insurance within 15 days of purchase, I went ahead with it, knowing I can cancel at any time. I typically keep a phone for three years. At $72 a year, I would spend $216 in premiums, plus another $50 if I lose it, for a grand total of $256—which would probably buy me a new phone. In order to make this insurance a good deal, the sooner someone steals my new Blackberry, the better.

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