Dear Sprint,

I’m sorry you had to hear about it like this. After nearly a decade together, maybe you didn’t see it coming. I know it had to be hard – hearing about our breakup from my new provider.

“Provider.” What a strange word to use. “Partner,” “companion,” “associate.” Whatever you want to call it. I’m with Verizon now.

I wanted to tell you myself. I really did. But Verizon said it would be better this way – to contact you directly and switch the number … and cancel our relationship. As I watched Verizon end us via keystrokes, I remembered our years together, the good and bad.

You gave me unlimited texting and minutes and minutes of talk time. When I first met you, that’s what I noticed – the talk time. Some people like eyes. Others like a sense of humor. For me, it’s talk time, and yours kept me coming back for new phones and new contracts.

Then it soured. I would call you, and it didn’t seem like you even cared. I would be on the phone for hours before reaching you, talking to your friends in South America and India, trying to explain why my bill was too high. And then you would finally talk to me, and you were so dismissive. More »

Blockbuster occupies the corner space at the shopping plaza. A friend of mine in Oregon had scoffed, over Skype, “You still have a Blockbuster?” Actually, up until last week, we had two Blockbusters. The other location was only five miles away.

But that one, a victim of a wireless world, is empty, and here stands the last Blockbuster.

“Blockbusters and CD stores,” my friend had said. “I don’t know how they do it.”

Well, I presume this last Blockbuster will get some traffic from its dead sister, a few new customers who refuse to watch movies on-demand, who refuse to download movies from the internet, who refuse to join Netflix. It’s a free-market presumption.

But that’s not what my friend was talking about. His thoughts fit better with free-market ideas. How would a Blockbuster survive into another decade?

In other words, why am I standing in this Blockbuster scanning new releases? “The Amazing Spiderman,” “Lawless,” “The Expendables 2.” In other words, why am I about to rent “Lawless?” Now I’m thinking about renting “Atlas Shrugged” to add a bit of irony, but I’d rather watch “Lawless,” which probably exudes a better sense of free enterprise anyway.

“You still rent movies from Blockbuster?” my friend had said following my Skype confession. More »