Tuesday, 21 June 2005

The Money Machine

Our teenage daughter is continually needing money that at times I feel like a money machine. There to just print out the readies for her every whim. Naturally all her needs are justified and as she is sitting exams I am not going to hassle her to get a part time job. I was thinking that most of her monthly allowance goes on a mobile phone which led me to remember how we managed when we were kids.

I didn't have an allowance or pocket money and somehow got by. When we were out and about and needed to use the public phone we'd have those old coin telephone boxes with the red box. It would be only two pence to make the phone call but we'd usually not even have that. So there was a thing we used to be able to do, or rather I was able to do it as I had a steady hand.

We had dial telephones in those days with a satisfyingly heavy receiver that you'd pick up and it would curl round your face. With the receiver up I could tap out the numbers on the telephone rest. These were the two levers the phone sat on and cut off the call. With a careful and light touch you could tap out the numbers as if it was dialing and then if you managed to count right, it was 8 taps for a number 8 and so forth, and get the touch gentle enough to register but not so much you cut off the phone, then you could get a free call. That was a real whiz, but it would usually take a few attempts to get it right.

Sometimes if I had the money I would rather spend it on some sweets. Cadbury's Cream Eggs had just come out and they used to cost a whopping 8 pence each. I remember because I used to be able to get two and a packet of Trebor mints for 20 pence from the ice-cream van outside the school. The guy who ran that was called Mario, aren't they all, and he always used to make a fuss of us. Now I realise that making a fuss of us made us come and spend with him. Number one lesson in marketing!

Original Comments:

zandperl said...

Oh man, you were a phone phreaker! I bet if you were a teenager now, you'd be a computer hacker. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 1:58:00 AM

Cheryl said...

Did that at home when they put a lock on the dial (remember them?) but didn't know it would work in payphones. I used to reverse the charges!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 7:35:00 AM

Milt Bogs said...

Nine and zero you could just dial. At least you could in Bogsville.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 10:38:00 AM

doris said...

Hi Zandperl, Cheryl and Milt Bogs

I am not proud of some of the things from my past but I was underage and plead that I was a kid. However, it's good to push the boundaries and check the weak points so I guess I would have had the makings of a hacker these days. If only youth and brain cells were on my side!

Yeah - phone locks! I can picture them right now.

And I've remembered a bit better now. There was a 2 or 3 digit code that I also had to press in before the number and I think it was this code the engineers used as a sort of a master key to test the lines when they went round fixing junction boxes. I think!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 5:23:00 PM

Minerva said...

Doris, I am impressed! Please be on my side when the phones go down in Armageddon...

I would like to invite you to join the Best Blogs webring for well-written blogs. Please take a look at http://topblogsring.blogspot.com and click on 'join' at the bottom of the page to put your blog forward...


Tuesday, June 21, 2005 8:55:00 PM

jane said...

I'm suddenly seeing Doris in a new light. On the cover of The Experimenter, in a red phone booth, tap tap tapping out phone numbers....
I would've just settled for twirling in a phone booth & changing into a wonderwoman cape with the looks & body of Lynda Carter :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 9:49:00 PM

Karen said...

What makes them think we are bottomless pits? I'll answer my own question - we spoil them so much they expect it - I'm such a soft touch with them.......

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 10:00:00 PM

Steve said...

Dont worry Doris you are definitely not on your own, I despense cash that often i have had a number keypad fitted to my chest to save time for the kids.

I must also admit to tapping out the number on the trim phone we had when my dad put a lock on it cos the bill was too big.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 11:04:00 PM

doris said...

Minerva - thank you, I am honoured to even be invited.

Jane - LOL and LOL again :-) Didn't you just lurve Wonderwoman's outfit with that tight fitting bodice. :-)

Karen - it's true, we're not as hard on them as we could be. And they don't even realise that.

Steve - I've read your blog! I need say no more :-)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005 10:23:00 PM

Red Mum said...

We did that tapping thing too cos of the phone lock that my parents put on the phone.

In the late 80s and early 90s you could use a remote control for an answering machine to make any call you wanted for free from a phonebox.

It was great at the time until telecom discovered this adn went around changing each payphone one by one. So as soon as you would use a phone, they'd discover it and put this foil over the inside of the receiver to counter it and you'd have to find another phone... Great fun and perfect for me at the time cos I had a boyfriend in the States.

If you get a chance check out my post about my daughter and her phone usage here. http://redmum.blogspot.com/2005/06/becoming-phone-nazi.html

Friday, June 24, 2005 10:17:00 AM

doris said...

I didn't know about that.... but then I had grown out of my phone cracking ways by then. LOL

Thanks for telling me about your story - phew!

Friday, June 24, 2005 8:53:00 PM

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