Cell Phones On The Cheap

After the prosperous years of the 80s came the real estate bust of the late 80s and early 90s.

Kenny, Coy (of double tailed quarter fame) and I were once again teamed up again doing work together.

The days of mobile phones had given way to pagers and pay phones. Mobile phones were very expensive in the early days. My average phone bill in the 80s was $1,000 – $1,200 per month. That wasn’t for the whole company, that was just me. I stayed on the phone constantly, conducting business and doing a fair share of BS’ing. Those costs just weren’t in the cards in lean times.

It became annoying to constantly be getting paged and finding a pay phone (that would work).

I always would see the phone company guys pull up to a box along the street and clip their phone on to the wires and talk away.

So I was off to a store to buy some nice little princess phones that I could alter and equip with some little alligator clips so we could replicate what telephone company employees did.

This model even replicated real cell phone with a faux rubber antenna.

For a few bucks, I had Kenny, Coy and me ready to go. Where ever we were working we could find a little strip center somewhere so we could simply drive up flip open a box, clip on and start calling. Life got much more easy.

If the store owner came on the line to make a call, we would say we were working on the line, please give us a minute and everything should be fine.

Then I remembered that all wastewater pump stations had telemetry that allow the pumps to auto dial the headquarters if there was a malfunction. Actually those lines seldom if ever were used.
And they were generally stuck away in a out of the way place, so we could just about set up an office there in the front seat of a pickup. I even equipped my setup with a fax machine.

With the cost saving it didn’t take long before we were making enough money to afford the newly developed cell phones which were much cheaper to use. Heck it wasn’t long before I had one from every service provider so I’d be able to call from just about anywhere. The only downside was when a phone rang, I never knew which one of the four to grab up.

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