I Failed, But You Can Save Money and Skip These 10 Troubles

Woman holding a cell phone palms her forehead as she stands in front of a display of cell phones.

Well, 8 of them, anyway

My anguish was real, but Jenna laughed.

“You’re doing all this just to avoid paying an extra $33 a month?”

Jenna marched in place as we waited for the cars to pass in the predawn darkness before jaywalking across 8th Avenue. Her words marched into my head.

“You’re doing all this just to avoid paying an extra $33 a month.”

It was no longer a question.

At what real expense?

That was the question.

I had been detailing my torment in purchasing a new phone, as we wove our way through the health club’s parking lot to our usual walking route.

If I had purchased a phone from my cell phone provider, I would have had to upgrade to an unlimited data plan.

Together, my husband and I barely use 1 GB of data.

#1-2 – Time and effort

So I compared phones and prices. Purchased an unlocked one online and moved all my data myself.

Why not do this to avoid paying nearly $400 more a year for something I didn’t need in addition? And get a better price on a phone?

All went as I planned.

Except that my new phone was dead the day after I loaded all my data.

#3 – Frustration

It refused resuscitation.

Trust me, I tried.

I plugged it into the charger.

Fifteen minutes later it was at 2 percent.

Hmmm. That seemed slow. S-l-o-w.

A few minutes later, I check it again.

It was back to 0 percent. And hot.

What to do? I mean, besides unplug it.

#4 – Fear

This phone — which I couldn’t charge — still had all my contacts and conversations, apps and passwords. Even my banking information.

I couldn’t remove my data. But maybe someone else could.

I reached out to the seller with my concern before starting the return process. He said he would wipe it with a magnet when in his possession and had me send all the identification numbers on the phone and box.


It would take 3 weeks or more for the phone to reach him, he said.

Who would encounter my phone in the meantime?

That was what was on my mind when I told Jenna my cell phone saga.

#5-6 – Aggravation and anger

I hadn’t considered the anguish returning the phone might present.

Despite Amazon’s “next business day” return confirmation, UPS didn’t pick up the package three days in a row.

I had to have a chat with Amazon.

And make a call to UPS.

Which made it clear the pickup wouldn’t happen without my intervention.

So I had Amazon send me the label so I could hand the UPS driver the package myself (as he tried to slip out of my office building without visiting the mail room).

He glanced at the box but did not scan it or provide any confidence — at all — that he would handle my package with care.


He tossed it onto his cart with miscellaneous stuff — a big canvas bag (and was that trash?!) — and exited.

#7-8 – Worry and self-blame

And my worrying and kicking myself began.

Oh, why hadn’t I taken it to a UPS Store and gotten a receipt?

I imagined all the ways I might “prove” I’d sent the phone. Our receptionist was aware of the exchange. We did have security cameras.

But would the building keep the video long enough for me to prove my case?

#9-10 – Tears and self-deprecation

I tried to put this out of my mind, but when I got home, Steve asked about the phone. Of all times! I told him about the mangled package pickup.

“Did you get a receipt?”

I almost cried.

“No! I’m so stupid. I’ve been worrying ever since.”

Maybe I did shed a tear then, but mostly I got busy preparing dinner.

#7 again – Worry and more worry

On the outside.

Inside I was loading the worry train.

By the time I was loading the dishwasher, I was in full-blown sob mode, begging God to give me confirmation that UPS had acknowledged receiving the package.


Steve sweetly tucked me into bed, kissed away my tears (well, I may have imagined that), and calmed my fears.

At least in regard to displeasing him. I could still be out $600+.

“It will all work out,” he said. “Don’t worry about the phone.”

Sweet sleep

I closed my eyes.

Reopened them to look at the “Give it to God and go to sleep” sign on my dresser.

Said, “it’s yours, Father.”

And I did sleep.

I awakened to an Amazon chart indicating the package was on its way. (Because, of course, I looked.)

I will receive my refund when the phone arrives at the warehouse.


The moral of the story

“Thank you, Jesus!” was all I could say.

“Silly Sara — on so many levels,” was all I could think of myself.

And wonder when I will so trust God in situations that I will “Be anxious for nothing,” when I’ve already let my requests be known to God in prayer and (tearful) supplication (Philippians 4:6-7).

When will I rest in God’s peace — which the Bible admits blows my mind — and allow it to guard my heart and mind?

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7, NKJV

Such wasted time and emotional energy trying to save a few bucks.

Of course, I might have invested just time and effort and made a significant savings had the phone not failed.

But catch this

I also could have invested just time and effort even though the phone failed.

And maybe frustration was inevitable. Along with more time and effort.

But all that emotional energy?

That fear, aggravation, anger, worry, self-blame, tears, self-deprecation, and more worry?


God’s peace? Needed.

What now?

And I’m right back where I started.

Shopping for a new phone.

And, yes, Jenna, I’m still trying to avoid paying $33 extra a month.

Jesus, help.

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