Friday, May 13, 2011

A day in the life: My phone minute salesmen

I think it was the summer of 2008 -- right before The Bailout -- that I decided to start cutting back on my monthly recurring expenses. First thing to go was cable TV. I went cold turkey and cancelled TV completely. Sometime soon after, I reverted from the common $45/mo lots-of-minutes plan, circa 2010, to a less expensive I-got-my-cell-phone-for-an-emergency plan, circa 1995. But even that plan was around $25/mo. And after not having gotten a new phone since 2002, I finally needed a new phone and made the switch to a prepaid plan.

Switching to the prepaid plan made total sense to me. Not only did I get a new phone, but I was able to further reduce -- and better control -- my expenses. PLUS it made the switch to Haiti much easier. The only way I can call home -- my parents still don't use Skype -- is by buying prepaid minutes. And it really couldn't be much easier here.

There are "phone minute salesmen" seemingly everywhere in Haiti. They not only sell minutes, they also charge cell phone batteries. Fortunately for me, I'm in a situation where I normally don't need to pay to get my phone charged. Although it's not uncommon for me to have no electricity at my place, the office consistently has electricity (often using a generator and car batteries). And the cell phone salesmen may provide other services. I'm not sure. But I do know that they are ubiquitous. They were a particular smock and you can even flag them down while they driving around.

Using a phone in Haiti is easy-peasy.

Here's are some pix of my cell phone crew:

And here are some pictures of "the office." It's not something you'd see in Cheshire, but I figure it's not all that different from any street vendor you'd see in NYC:
Tim White

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