10 Reasons To Throw Away Your Cellphone

We realize not everyone can throw away their cellphones, but we approve of this list because it reminds us of a time, long, long ago….

A time when people called you, and if you didn’t pick up, it meant that you were something called “not home.”

Remember “not home”? As in, “Oh, they didn’t pick up. They must not be home.”

We have to stop, we’re getting too nostalgic.

Ten Reasons To Throw Away Your Cellphone [Wired] (Thanks, Chester!)
(Photo:Fast Fords)


Edit Your Comment

  1. ceejeemcbeegee is not here says:

    Isn’t that what the “ignore” button is for?

  2. TechnoDestructo says:

    Try meeting someone who is never on time, who cannot read a map to save their life, and who has no sense of direction in general in a major city without a cell phone.

    Then try it with.

  3. Lula Mae Broadway says:


  4. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Prepaid phones are not horrendously expensive. Keeping your phone turned off or set to vibrate takes care of the other problems.

    One good reason to keep your cell phone: pay phones are starting to disappear because nobody wants to pay the money to maintain them if everyone has cell phones.

  5. bonzombiekitty says:

    They say “GPS is in every box”. Which isn’t true. Many cellphones do not use GPS for location. I work for a company that provides location services for E911 for two major cell phone companies in the US. The primary method for location is something other than GPS and currently the government does not have access to locations except for 911 services.

  6. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Prepaid cell phones are great for low usage people. Cingular offers roll over on their prepaid service. If you don’t use up your minutes before the expiration date, it rolls over into the next cycle. Also, for extremely low usage, you can pre-pay $100 and it won’t expire for a year. That’s a lot cheaper than maintaining a landline phone.

    CumaeanSibyl makes a good point. A lot of payphones are disappearing because it’s not profitable anymore. The remaining pay phones are priced high. One time I saw one that wanted 40 cents for a local call. Another payphone I saw only took credit cards! I’ve also been noticing that call boxes on the side of freeways have been pulled out and replaced with a sign that says something like “call box out of service, please use cell phone for assistance”. Go figure, huh.

  7. drjayphd says:

    “A phone is just another thing that checks email, holds information and schedules events, and which has to be carefully kept in sync with all the other crud in your life that checks email, holds information and schedules events. The difference? This one likely has a 240 pixel-wide screen and a shabby interface spawned from the hellish loins of Windows CE.”

    Wasn’t aware you had to use every feature of something just because it’s there.

  8. Cowboys_fan says:

    As a CSR for a cell company, I once had a girl call me, hitting on me, and it turned out she was drunk(obviously to hit on me :p), driving, and speaking, (setting the alarm on her phone as I explained how{the reason she called}) to me all at the same time. This is another reason to get rid of them. The worst part was I wasn’t ALLOWED to hang up on her. I’m surprised she didn’t get into an accident as we spoke.

  9. arachnophilia says:

    1. my cell phone does not check my email. i don’t use it schedule events. the most advanced thing i use it for an alarm clock. oh yeah, and call people when i need to.

    2. i use one of the ultra-cheap monthly no-contract kinda deal. i can stop paying anytime i want. theoretically. maybe. now that i think about, there might have been an article here about that…

    3. see above.

    4. people don’t call me all that often — that’s how i get away with the cheap plan. and if i’m busy, i put it on ignore. actually, i was FORCED to get a cell phone by my friends who could never find me when they needed to.

    5. it makes calls. i don’t WANT or NEED it to be exciting. i want it to be able to place a phone call when i need to place a phone call.

    6. recharging, ok, got me there. but i’m also recharging my mp3 player’s battery almost every day, and my camera’s battery almost every day.

    7. i don’t like the gps-snooping. though i probably would if i ever need to place a 911 call.

    8. “driving, call you back.”

    9. cellphone. carger. what’s an accessory?

    10. my ringtone sounds like a telephone. my phone before made a single beep.

  10. smallestmills says:

    I hate talking on the phone, and I love having a cellphone. I’ve had a cellphone, no landline, for about 8 years, and I’ve learned self-control. I also lack curiosity. I never answer numbers I don’t recognize (sorry babe about that time you were calling from the hospital), and if I don’t want to talk, like posts above stated, I either hit ignore or let it go to voicemail. It’s always on vibrate, even at home, so no annoying ring tone. It’s a bare-bones T-Mobile free-with-contract phone, and thank God for text messaging, because this means I get to talk even less.

  11. skrom says:

    People should throw away all their cell phones. They are nothing but a noisy nuisance which is why I always carry my cell phone scrambler with me. We didnt need them 30 years ago and we dont need them now.

  12. Leah says:

    What a bunch of whiners in the comments over there. I especially love the people who feel like owning a phone means you’re “tethered” to something.

    I’ve had a cell phone for 8 years now (since I was 17). When I don’t want to talk to people, I don’t answer the phone. I leave it on silent most of the time anyway, and I just tuck it into my backpack if I’m busy and don’t want to be interrupted.

    My phone is great because I can move across the country and still keep my number. My brothers and I call each other to get directions, restaurant reviews, etc while on road trips. It’s helped us all keep in touch much better than we would if we had to pay for long distance.

    I definitely think people get a bit too uppity with cell phones. I’d sooner get rid of my car than my phone.

  13. Cowboys_fan says:

    Dear god I could go on and on. I have a few more favourite reasons to pitch your phone.
    1. Most people are retarded with cells. Here’s a call I’d get at least once/day(sometimes 4 or 5 times)
    Me: Thank you for calling…
    Customer: I am having a problem with (insert common complaint) on my phone.
    Me: I’m sorry to hear your having said problem, I know how that can be frustrating not having use of ____, I’d be delighted to help fix this problem(This is how they actually wanted us to speak!)
    Still Me: Are you on the phone now?
    Customer: No
    Me: (Snicker) Well I want you to turn the phone off and back on
    Customer: “Click”
    Me: Hello? (Snicker)Hello? (Snicker)Hello caller, I cannot hear you…

    Or better yet;
    Customer: Which one is the “Off” button?
    Me: “Click”

    2. People can’t read bills. I can’t tell you how hard it is to explain to some people how we billled a month behind, and what you PIAD last month has nothing to do with your CHARGES for last month as payment was for the month before.

    3. People can buy the dumbest phones. People buy crackberries to be cool, but don’t even use email. People buy sidekicks for the keyboard. Or they get upset b/c their free phone sucks.

    4. Companies charge waaay toooo much for the phone. This is because manufacturers charge them too much. Either way, they aren’t hurting for money. That free phone you just got, its CRAP. Its free for a reason people. I can’t tell you how many times I gave away phones I was not supposed to, because most days I couldn’t in good conscious charge you $100 for a phone that will cause nothing but headaches.

    Ahhh, I needed to get that off my chest :p

  14. Amelie says:

    While everyone is entitled to their opinion, they’re not entitled to “their” facts. For one, I’ve owned the same quality Siemens pre-paid phone from T-Mobil for three years. Hardly crap! I could list some more of his half-truths, but it appears other people have taken this jerk to task. Please stop linking to articles by people who don’t know what they are talking about.

  15. *shrug* the only people who have a problem with limits, as far as I’m aware, are people who grew up without cell phones and say crap like “we didn’t need them 30 years ago, and we don’t now”.

    When I was in college, my mother used to send my dad to my apartment if I didn’t pick up my cell phone after the first three tries. I don’t know anyone else who freaks out like this. Also, I ride the bus a lot, and sometimes I need a phone to check the bus schedules or call a backup ride if the bus has decided not to come on time.

    While I admire the people who can still muddle through without a cell, I don’t know that many people who can manage. Either you’re on call for your work, or you need to be able to let your employer or spouse or group if you’re going to be late to something, or you just need it for emergencies, like when you accidentally drive into the wrong part of town after midnight and don’t know how to get home. Trust me, you do NOT want to be driving around Crenshaw at 3 in the morning. I’m sure my mom didn’t want to get a call then either, but at least I got out.

  16. arachnophilia says:

    i am surprised that i managed to get on without for so long. then again, i did end up stranded a lot.

  17. rdm7234 says:

    Enough with the luddites already!
    But if you are done with your cell phone, DON’T throw it away! It’s toxic waste.

    You can donate it to all sorts of worthy causes (e.g., victims of domestic abuse, soldiers overseas, etc.). Find a drop-off center here:


    If you STILL feel compelled to throw it out, call your local sanitation district. They will tell you how to dispose of it.

    But if you put it in the trash, you are going to get lithium, nickel, and other toxics in our drinking water.

  18. GeekChicCanuck says:

    I don’t necessarily agree with the article on some of the specific points – but I do agree that a cell phone is not necessary for everyone. I’ve been a sys. admin. for over 10 years – never owned a cell phone and likely never will (unless work pays for the phone and the plan).

    I’m the only person in my unit that doesn’t own one and I am seen as something of an oddity. When I’m the on-call contact, I carry a pager. Otherwise, I see no need to be constantly available. When people ask me why I don’t have a cell phone, my answer is “What makes you think I want you to find me?” Maybe I’m just a closet Luddite.

  19. Lordstrom says:

    The thing is, I don’t give a damn about the actual phone. What I really need is pocket internet so I can check mail and the market instantly, which is more important than ever in this very volatile market.

    I figured out that I would only pay $7.00 a month on the 25c per minute Go plan. However, the 5MB plan would end up costing $130 for me. So that option is out the window.

    My contract is up in November though. I’m going to give some hard thought into whether that instant access is worth $70 or whatever a month.

  20. thedreamingtree says:

    I called Cingular (oh wait, it’s now “The New NSA/AT & T) last night to cancel. I told them that we got the phones mainly so my husband and I could talk to one another for free while he’s on his job. He drives several hundred miles a day, and on the off chance that he can actually get signal, my signal will go off when I am in the house. I told them I am not satisfied with the service. I am halfway through my contract, so all they would let me do is reduce it by $10 a month by reducing my daytime minutes. I will never get another contract phone.

  21. bohemian says:

    I want the ability to turn off voicemail all together. It is like a virtual junk drawer. If you don’t want to answer a call people you don’t want to talk to or don’t know leave you messages. They they consider that as good as talking to you and if you either ignore or don’t check the message it is your fault. Even our house phone has the automatic voice mail that we have never checked or customized.

    Phones will be much more relevant when you can get internet connection via the nearest wifi rather than your cell connection. They also need to make internet access less costly. I would use my phone much more for organization if I had the ability to do so without racking up minutes or having to pay extra for internet services. I’m hoping by the time my contract qualifies for new phones they have one that has an open wifi receiver built in.

  22. gorckat says:

    @TechnoDestructo: Try meeting someone who is never on time, who cannot read a map to save their life, and who has no sense of direction in general in a major city without a cell phone.

    Then try it with.

    In the “not home” days that person was what they called “unemployed” :p

  23. badgeman46 says:

    After I move, I am ditching my phones. You do the math. If you pay a hundred bucks a month for cell service and were to get rid of the phone tomorrow. Now either save or invest that 100 bucks in something that yields just 5 percent a year. In 20 years you will have $41,375!!!!! In 30 years $83,672!!! Just for not wasting your money on an expensive piece of crap that doesnt work.

  24. bonzombiekitty says:

    Also, another note on GPS. Isn’t that a passive thing calculated locally? A GPS device doesn’t go out to the satellites and say “Where am I?”, it goes out to the satellites and say “What time is it?” and then calculates the position based on those times (the time is used to calculate distance which is used for triangulation).

    Unless the calculated location is sent somewhere to be recorded, it cannot be tracked. Which is sorta the E911 thing, you call 911 and for services like Verizon, the location is requested from the phone (I think, we don’t work with verizon) and that’s the only way to get a location from the phone if it’s set to 911 locations only. For the type of location my company does, the locating is more passive.

  25. Munkeyhatecleen says:

    I was too young for the glory days of pagers & beepers, but I’d love to have one now instead of my cellphone. A pager just screams “You’ll get ahold of me when I feel like it” :)

  26. @skrom: That’s illegal but whatever. I’ll be the person playing around with ringtones at full volume when my phone suddenly stops working.

    I could go one about the list but that’s been covered already.

  27. Recury says:

    The absolute best reason to not have a cellphone is so you can feel superior to people who have them.

  28. bbbici says:

    1. My service plan is no more expensive than a land line.
    2. I have enough willpower (and call display) to not answer every call.
    3. I have a phone on me in case of emergencies, car accidents, etc.
    4. It replaces a watch and daytimer.
    5. It uses about 1/10th the material of a land phone.
    6. Text messaging is very convenient for communicating from noisy locations.

  29. ellmar says:

    I use a vintage (circa 1998) cell phone with an obsolete plan (that Verizon doesn’t seem to know it no longer offers) obtained from a company I no longer work for, that (through the magic of corporate mergers) no longer even exists. Monthly cost – approximately $2.30. The psychological “cost” of the ribbing I take from friends about my outdated technology is outweighed by the infinite satisfaction of having a cell phone that is cheap and truly for my convenience only. Shhh. . . don’t tell Verizon.

  30. Limecrete says:

    It makes you perpetually available.

    Bull. Practice with me, now…

    “Hey, I called you yesterday — why didn’t you answer?”

    Maybe I was away from my phone. Maybe I was in the bathroom. Maybe I
    was at a movie. Maybe I was having sex. Maybe I was trying to work my
    way through a crowded bar with a plate of fried calamari in one hand
    and a pint of Strongbow in the other. Maybe I was up to my wrists in
    motor oil. Maybe I was in a work meeting. Maybe I was talking to a
    sales clerk. Maybe I didn’t feel like talking to you. People with
    sensitive friends may want to leave that last one off.

    You really don’t have to be a slave to your phone, and by giving up the
    landline, cell phones are very affordable. In fact, the only almost
    decent point they made is about becoming a public annoyance. And
    obnoxious people will find a way to be obnoxious, phone or not.

  31. Matthew says:

    I’m with technodestructo. I had one last contrarian friend who never tired of smugly telling me why he didn’t need a cell phone. “Holding out against buying one hasn’t inconvenienced me in the least!”

    Here’s my advice to the self-satisfied cell-less: Be ten minutes early to all appointments. Because when a holdout is running late, it’s not the holdout who suffers. It’s his friends who don’t have any way to reach him to tell him “the restaurant is full, so we’re going someplace else.” Instead of just ringing him up to say where they’re gonna be, have to wait on the cold and snowy sidewalk until he finally arrives.

    See, your phone is both for your convenience and mine. (That friend has one now.)

  32. aka Cat says:

    @skrom: My work beeper goes off to warn me that I’m out of range of the network. Yes, that can be very annoying, and that’s why I usually leave it on vibrate. But in your honor, I think I’ll change it to an audible alert when I’m out in public.

  33. bambino says:

    @Cowboys_fan: If you don’t mind, what cell company do you work for? I’m asking because I might need your advice.

  34. SaraAB87 says:

    I hope that people who have a cell phone, a baby in a stroller and a 2 year old running 200ft in front of them while they are talking on the cell phone and trying to push the stroller realize what we think of them….. STUPID! Sure you have the expensive piece of eye candy we all know as a cell phone that makes you look rich and important in your mind but that doesn’t make you look any less stupid to the members of the general public.

  35. Mike Panic says:

    I didn’t even see this here this morning, but I wrote an article based on the original Wired story, Top ten reasons you need your cell phone as sort of an answer to the Wired article. I didn’t agree with most of the reasons they gave.

  36. forever_knight says:

    @Cowboys_fan: don’t blame consumers for not being able to read these bills. they are intentionally confusing and misleading. some line items are labeled as “taxes” despite being corporate taxes that the company is passing along to consumers. check out [www.newnetworks.com] for a clear example of a confusing bill from a telco.

  37. stringcheese says:

    Bohemian, you can actually turn off (or back on) voicemail if you want. All you have to do is call and ask them.

  38. acambras says:


    Apart from really expensive and/or hyped phones, do people really see simply having a cell phone as a status symbol anymore?

    It used to be that only really *important* people carried cell phones, because it was critical for them to be reachable at all times (brain surgeons, for example). Now almost everyone has them, even 10-year-olds. A lot of people even have them as their only phone (no land line). So I don’t think many people view merely having a cell phone as a symbol of wealth.

  39. Cowboys_fan says:

    I used to work for t-mobile, not anymore

  40. rhombopteryx says:

    you say “currently the government does not have access to locations except for 911 services.”
    It looks like quite a few lawsuits, federal judges, and the DoJ disagree with you there. Every modern cell phone IS a location tracking device, and the DoJ’s legal position is that they can just call up the carriers and ask for info on your location, no probable cause necessary. Understandably, some people don’t like that. Some courts have rejected the DoJ’s position, but others have said ‘Rubber stamped, no warrant needed.’

  41. bonzombiekitty says:

    @rhombopteryx: From your article, that’s cell site data. Essentially, the government is asking what cellphone tower a cellphone was using at a given time. That will give a very rough area, but it is not the type of locations I’m talking about. Using cell site data, you can get a radius of location several miles wide. You can barely get the right 911 dispatch center with cell site data.

    E911 mandates that cellphones be located if 911 calls are placed within, IIRC, 500 feet 95% of the time (I don’t feel like looking up the actual mandate). And cell phone companies are having a tough time meeting that and not for lack of technology. Heck, I use Verizon and had to call 911 twice, they had me located so far off they forwarded me to the wrong 911 call center both times.

  42. bonzombiekitty says:

    To add some more: Calculating an accurate location of a cellphone is not an easy task. It’s expensive, and depending on the technology used and your location, not necessarily that accurate. A GPS location enabled phone works great in less densely populated areas, but will not work indoors and functions poorly in dense areas. UTDOA locations works inside and in densely populated areas very well, but do not work very well in rural areas since it’s dependent on the number of available cell sites.

    The cell phone providers my company deals with do not keep a repository of locations. The only time locations are generated and stored is when a phone dials 911 or when we test the system. The networks are currently not set up to just choose a phone and track its location either in real time or in a repository. This is both a limit of money and current technology (the location system can’t handle it yet). I’d explain more, but I don’t want to risk company confidentiality.

  43. floofy says:

    Why isn’t anyone bashing all the other unnecessary ‘rip offs’ in life? Landlines, cars,(don’t even get me started on leases) cable tv (which for basic cable is more expensive than my cell phone), internet, etc.
    I also find it funny how so many people say they never use their phones, or use them for emergencies but see hoardes of people at a stoplight on them. Guess they’ve never heard of bluetooth.

  44. a_m_m_b says:

    @rdm7234: i agree.

    I own my cell. I control my cell. It neither owns nor controls me.

    That said I refuse to share it with the non-VIPs of my life. Those may have my bare bones landline which gets checked once or twice a month. Keeps the spammers off my cell & gives me a back up if the cell towers have issues.

  45. nakedinlb says:

    my cell phone is for MY convienece. not for my family, not for my friends, for me. when someone asks why they couldn’t get a hold of me, i said i was “out” and had my phone off. they always look puzzled and amazed. i then tell them, once again, my phone is for me!!!!

    i also didn’t have a microwave oven for 10 years. my parents couldn’t handle it any more and bought me a small one for christmas. i still only use it pop popcorn. (remember things called stoves and ovens that actually make real food?!?)

  46. peggynature says:

    I just don’t like phones very much. Half the time, I don’t answer my home phone when it rings. I’ve never owned a cell phone (and I’m in my 20s.) I even used to have a job SELLING cell phones and plans, but I was never tempted to own one.

    I find that some younger people who’ve always carried a cell phone seem to be incapable of pre-planning anything (as in, “I’ll meet you at the restaurant at 5pm on Tuesday” and then showing up at the restaurant, at 5pm, on Tuesday) because they are so accustomed to calling to change the time at the last minute, calling again to find out *where* exactly the place is (rather than looking it up beforehand), calling again when they get lost…etc. etc. Maybe I just know frustratingly flaky people, but it makes me wonder sometimes if the art of planning is becoming more of a lost art.

    I’ve never found it to be a huge problem, if there is some scheduling mishap, to find a pay phone or leave a message for someone at a place. Whether you do or don’t carry a cell phone, sometimes shit happens and plans get snarled. Often times, just having the patience to wait somewhere for ten minutes for someone to show up solves the problem. I’d personally rather leave a note or wait the ten minutes than pay $30-50 a month for a phone.

    I had a friend who was consistently late meeting me, or at the wrong place, lost, etc., and I decided to make it my habit to wait for her 15 minutes, and if she didn’t show up, just to leave. Well, apparently that cured her, because it only happened once, and ever since, she’s always showed up at the right place at the right time. If she could constantly reach me by cell phone, who knows for how many years that might’ve dragged on.

    I don’t think I am inherently better than people who do have cell phones, I just prefer it this way. I can see how they are handy in emergencies, and for that reason, I am glad that many people carry them.

  47. SaraAB87 says:

    We have one cellphone and its shared among 2-3 people without any difficulties. It is a free tmobile phone on a 19.99 a month plan that is mainly used for emergencies. Its turned off 90% of the time and used only when we want it to. The number has not been given out to anyone or has been given out to maybe 5 people in total. Since we are using minutes for the incoming calls as well we choose who we want to have the number and who we do not want to have the number. It has most definitly not controlled our family in any way but it has made it easier to get help because I have had to call 911 on the phone before. It has voicemail which is really nice because if you get a call when its off it just goes right to the voicemail. The cell phone does not have to control you, you control its usage.

    Cell phones are necessary for emergency use but I just think that too many people are becoming too obsessed with them. A cell phone is a symbol of importance to people, as in I am more important than the person without the cell phone and I have the right to use this phone wherever I want to even in a hospital where there are about 50 “no cellphone” signs in this area simply because I own the cell phone. People just don’t listen, if people listened and acted responsibly with their phones (not using them when driving with a carload of kids, not using them while they drive period, listening to signs that say no cell phone use) then I wouldn’t have such a problem with everyone having one.

  48. skrom says:


    We arent bashing those other things because they arent an annoyance to us like listening to other people’s phones trying and those damn nextel beeps. Which is the reason I carry my cell phone scrambler with me everywhere I go. And to those of you who are equally offended by morons taking their phone everywhere disrupting your movies, dinner, grocery shopping, clothing shopping, etc.. You can get one for less than $200 online and they are small enough to carry in your pocket

  49. luckyjim says:

    This guy’s problems with needing to charge his phone everyday could be solved if he wasn’t using his “WiFi, BlueTooth, WWAN and whatever else” all the time. If you only turn wireless features on when you’re using them, most phones today have pretty good charge times. My motorola l6 lasts for almost a week. Granted, I don;t use it for calls that often. But you should expect to recharge your phone often if you talk on it a few hours each day, just as I expect to have to charge my laptop often since I use it alot.
    Also: “Short of paying-as-you-go with a Wal-Mart crapdybar, you’re in it for a good $1,000, and about $2,000 or so with a smartphone.” Uh.. Not really. Long of the Tracfone (is that a saying) and short of a Blackberry are alot of regular phones. Found mine for under a 100 bucks after shipping off of eBay. Also, if you don’t feel like spending the money, don’t get the internet/ ringtones/ games. I don’t, and just use my phone for what it was meant for- talking to people, plus some texts and the occasional picture.
    Speaking of ringtones, if you have a bluetooth enabled phone and computer, you should never pay for ringtones again. Record the song/ sound you want using a computer program (like the free Audacity, and send the file over bt.