COLUMN: When it comes to value, we each make the call

COLUMN: When it comes to value, we each make the call

Response to column on landline cancellation came as bit of a surprise

It’s a bit of running joke around here (admittedly, not an overly funny one) that the stories, decisions, quotes, etc. that we spend the most time agonizing over – worrying about how will they will be received, whether there are any legal ramifications we’re unaware of, if it’s appropriate for publication in a free-distribution paper – will generally amount to a whole lot of nothing. Not a word of response from anyone – figurative crickets chirping.

Then there are the stories, decisions, quotes, etc. that don’t raise a moment’s concern – items seemingly so benign they barely merit a second thought (you see where I’m going with this).

Yes, these are the ones that, on occasion, blow up in our face.

Of course there are many shades in between. We know right out of the gate, that certain stories will upset people or make them laugh, or elicit a flurry of letters to the editor offering countering opinions. It’s all part and parcel of this business.

One recent minor – and entirely unforeseen – blast came a few weeks ago, after I wrote what I believed was a pretty innocuous column about canceling my landline phone service.

It had come to a point where I was getting no use out of it and therefore found no personal value in it and couldn’t see a point in paying for the service.

For me.

That’s what I wrote, at least.

What some readers apparently gleaned from it, however, was a call for an immediate end to landline phone service for one and all.

Ironically, I received only one phone call about the issue. The rest of the responses came as emails – expressing various levels of disappointment.

One writer simultaneously condemned it as damaging and dismissed it as vapid.

Fair enough.

Another wrote a letter to the editor, which we happily published.

The caller, however, was deeply concerned that by expressing the idea that landlines were no longer useful, I was going to have a detrimental effect on the level of phone service offered. He was worried about his personal safety if he were to lose his phone, and that made me feel terrible.

So allow me to go the record, here and now, to state – emphatically – that I do not, nor do I ever expect (or desire) to wield that sort of influence.

Whether it’s a matter of personal safety, long-distance connections, pure nostalgia, whatever the reason, there are clearly still plenty of folks out there who value their landlines and have no intention of giving them up – as an informal poll on our website bore out.

I would certainly never advocate for anything that might put people’s safety in jeopardy or potentially sever personal connections. But as long as people are willing to pay for their landlines, the various companies involved will, I expect, continue to offer the service.

Then why bother writing about it?

Well, because it’s a societal trend – a sign of the times we’re living in that more people are choosing to go wireless.

Don’t believe me? Just try to find a public phone booth these days.

In fact, I was the last person in my immediate family – including my mother, who will be 79 this year – to maintain a landline.

Interestingly, it was an issue of personal safety that prompted her to switch to a smartphone. Her decision stemmed from a news story about a man who’d had a stroke and was unable to get help for several days.

Even if we’re not having long conversations every day, a quick text back and forth each night lets me know that she’s home and safe. If ever I don’t hear from her, I will know to check in and make sure she’s OK – regardless of whether I happen to be at home.

For me, there is plenty of value in that.

Brenda Anderson is the editor of the Peace Arch News.

Just Posted

A proposed 29-storey highrise development in North Delta’s Townline neighbourhood is headed to a public hearing on June 8, 2021. (Penmat Mana JV (Delta) Ltd./City of Delta report image)
North Delta highrise proposal headed to public hearing

Council voted 4-3 Monday (May 10) to move the 29-storey project forward

Bucketheads – A Star Wars Story is being filmed near the 19000-block of 16 Avenue in South Surrey. (Mychaylo Prystupa photos)
Star Wars fan film ‘Bucketheads,’ shot in South Surrey, makes its debut

Volunteer initiative features new LED screen technology

Surrey RCMP detachment. (Contributed file photo)
RCMP investigating report of shots fired in South Surrey

Police say they have not yet found evidence to confirm incident

Darlene Bennett, right, speaking about her murdered husband Paul at a press conference in 2018. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Widow of Surrey murder victim seeking referendum vote on policing transition

Darlene Bennett files application with Elections BC seeking binding referendum vote

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

The Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program welcomed a new chick in April 2021 after it was artificially incubated for 32 days while still in its egg, hand raised for a week and then returned to owl foster parents Sedin and Amore. Chick B is now settling in at the family nest, which the public can view live online. (Jasmine McCulligh/Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Baby owl welcomed at Langley’s Northern Spotted Owl breeding site

Facility has launched an Adopt-a-Chick fundraiser to help with expenses

Heavily armed police officers responded to a call on 203rd Street near Fraser Highway. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Update: Police swarm Langley dollar store after man with a gun reported

Weapon turned out to be an Airsoft pistol, RCMP said

Most Read