This is what happens when you are a father of girls, especially as they grow into teenagers and then young women…
So its April 2010 and the youngest daughter (17 at that time) starts nagging for her birthday present, her birthday is another month away yet but thats quite good going, she normally nags for her birthday present just after Christmas, this year she wants a Blackberry mobile phone, just like mine.
Mine is provided with the job, gratis, free, I don’t pay for it, its a way of ensuring that my employer has me by the balls 24/7/52 (literally) and so I have no idea how much it would cost to subscribe to a Blackberry handset but eventually with a lot of shopping around we find a deal at Carphone Warehouse for £22 a month on a two year contract with a free handset, with a catch.
The catch is that she is not yet 18 years old and cannot therefore order it, she is 18 years old in less than four weeks time but she cannot wait that long, she has to have the Blackberry BEFORE her birthday and I am the father of girls and so it is my duty to make it so, thats what fathers of girls do.
And so like a fool I order it in my name, I sign the two year contract, I pay the first months rental but let us make this clear here – she has to pay the rental after that, I’m not completely stupid see, I know how these strange teenage creatures work and I’m not letting myself in for two years worth of excess charges for the 1000+ texts that she sends every day to her friends, sometimes to friends that are sitting on the seat next to her, texts that say things like “huh?” or “lol”, oh no, she is liable for all charges after the first payment and I tell her at least forty times as I am clicking “Order” and she agrees.
And she is good to her word, for the next fourteen months she pays the bill every month when it comes in and all is well in the world.
And then in June I come home from a trip to a far distant and foreign land (Birmingham) to find youngest daughter out at work and an empty mobile phone box and new contract on the settee where she abandoned it before dashing out with her new toy.
The wife of these past 28 years explains that the now 19 year old youngest daughter has just signed a new contract for a new mobile phone that very afternoon, a new fangled fancy-dan iphone look-alikey that was an object of desire, she signed a contract, they gave her the phone, all is well in her world.
“What about the Blackberry contract ?” I ask
“She’s cancelled it I think” replies the wife of 28 years
“How has she managed that ?” I ask and am greeted with shrugged shoulders.
Next morning I sit the youngest daughter down and get the story.
She signed for a much more expensive service, plus insurance, on a two year contract, I tell her that I’m not interested in what she has signed for, she’s 19 years old now, its her money she’s earning and spending and if she doesn’t want my opinion on contracts anymore then fine – but what about the Blackberry contract ?
She tells me that the saleswoman in the mobile phone shop told her that all I have to do is ring our Blackberry provider and cancel the bolt-on bits of the contract which will bring the outstanding payments down to very little indeed, notice how I have to do that, at least she acknowledged that the contract was in my name.
I explain that there are no bolt-ons to cancel, we are on the minimum contract and she, sorry I, am bound to keep paying £22 a month until next April for a service that she is now not using, “Oh” is all she says.
After a long lecture from me I finally offer her a solution of sorts, give me the bloody Blackberry and I will use it for my own personal phone, I don’t need one (I have the company phone remember), but I’ll do it just to dig her out of a hole.
Then she tells me that she doesn’t have the Blackberry any more, she traded it in for £50 because she doesn’t need it, she’s got this new fangled fancy-dan phone now, remember ?
How annoying is that then ?
And still I cannot get annoyed with her for she has that lost puppy look, the one that all youngest daughters use on their fathers, the one that they use to twist us around their little fingers time and again for the rest of our lives.
She has the SIM card, I stick it in an old Blackberry that we had kept in a drawer for god knows how many years, its the original Blackberry phone and I make her buy a new battery for it, its bomb-proof, its the one that got left in a field in the pouring rain for four hours during our first coast to coast bike ride and it still worked when we retraced our footsteps and found it again, this handset will never die and now I have to pay for it until April 2012 just so I can receive text messages every day from Sports Direct trying to sell me their schizzle – and telephone calls from a brand new fancy-dan phone when the youngest daughter wants a lift back from somewhere at stupid o’clock in the morning.