The Dear Abby Axiom

From a very young age, I was a regular reader of "Dear Abby." Actually, Newsday, the Long Island daily, carried her sister Ann Landers for a long time before Abby arrived on the scene, so I honestly started reading Ann first.

Anyway, I was surrounded by adults in my life who provided plenty of common sense advice, but Abby filled in a lot of things that were unspoken. One thing that stuck with me from all those years ago was this one thing that she'd repeat many times over and over to letters asking Abby's opinion of something that sounded outrageous:

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

This comes to mind because a couple of days ago, I paid the cell phone bill and realized that it was 30 bucks more than usual, so I looked through the itemized detail of all four phones on the account. Mine, Ed's and Chef's all looked the same (Chef had all of 17 minutes usage, all calls to me), but Jane's had some unusual activity.

9.99 for a Daily Astrology Report
9.99 for a Daily News Predictor Quiz (she's not all that interested in news)
and 7.00 for an App Organizer (which iTunes provides free of charge with all i Products)

So, I texted her. She didn't remember the first two and said she bought the app-and I explained that her iTunes does the same thing. A quick call to AT&T and they removed the charges, but told me they weren't going to do it again. "Would you like us to shut off the data plan to that phone?" Yes, I'd love that-but I'll give her one more shot.

Then I thought about it. None of the apps or things she had on the first phone when it took a swim were ported over to the new phone, so she started from scratch. I called her and asked "Did you sign up for free ring tones from anywhere?"

"Yes, from two different sites. Why?"

I explained that anything that says it's free, and asks you to put in your cell phone number will NOT be free. "They're not?" She wanted something different on her phone, she said. I explained that she should buy her ringtones from iTunes or AT&T or ask me to make them for her-anyone touting free stuff for the phone that isn't through the two sites mentioned will charge large sums of money for 'free' items.

She apparently never heard the 'Dear Abby Rule."

From now on, I inspect the bill every month to make sure she doesn't succumb to another too good be true deal.


Those are the problems I'd expect to be dealing with when I give a teenager a new phone, not an adult...

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