Pretty but useless

I’ve had this phone hanging on the wall in my kitchen for the 4.5 years I’ve lived in my house because I like the looks of it, but it’s never worked a day in its life.


I replaced the old-fashioned jack, but it still didn’t work. If I picked up the handset, I’d get a dial tone, but when I hung up, none of the other phones in the house would work until I unplugged this one. I figured the jack was faulty, so I unplugged the line and left the phone hanging there, pretty but useless. Calling the phone company and scheduling a repair was a hassle I just didn’t want to bother with, so I didn’t. For more than four years. But it’s nagged at me nearly every single day.

Today was the day to fix it, though. The repairman came out this morning (right when he said he would, amazingly enough) and put the jack through the diagnostic paces, which it passed perfectly. He determined that there is some sort of short or other malfunction in the phone itself. Imagine my dismay … with one quick trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond, I could have solved this problem years ago.


Having non-working appliances in the home is bad feng shui, and I am strongly opposed to it on principle. I want everything I own to be both beautiful and useful. Obviously, I’m going to replace this phone, but I’m leery of getting the same one again with potentially the same problem.

Even with my cell phone and cordless handsets in the house, I still want a good old-fashioned land line that will work in a power outage. I wish I could find a good quality phone for that purpose that offers classic styling, solid construction, and a few modern features such as ringer volume adjustment. Today’s wall phones, of which very few are even made, are all cheap plastic Chinese-made stuff, unlike the solid bricks of metal-and-Bakelite phones we had as kids.


This looks just like the one we had in our house back in the day.

I guess, like everything else, telephones are now just considered disposable goods so they’re not designed or built to last. Pretty, though, and useful for a while, but not going to be around for the long haul.

That’s a shame. I’ll disconnect my land line the day they tear down all the telephone poles and wires and all the other physical equipment that actually carries the signal from house to house, but not a minute sooner. I hope I never see that day!



3 thoughts on “Pretty but useless

    • I justify the expense because my cell reception is so unreliable IN MY HOUSE. I get five bars everywhere else in town, but one bar or less under my own roof. Plus, the sound quality is always better on the land line, which is especially important when I’m talking to my folks, and the land line NEVER drops a call. So there are advantages. 😉

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