Not to sound curmudgeonly, but when I'm halfway through a plate of eggplant lasagna, I'm not up for a phone call about replacement windows or a new mortgage - let alone a sweepstakes entry or a credit-card protection plan.
If I ever began buying into such come-ons as those latter two, I'd end up triggering even more. And I might eventually be conned.
A lot of card-carrying American consumers these days - and too often those are debt-laden credit cards they carry - need to be reminded to tap the brakes on a pitch-rich culture that demands we make all kinds of decisions and changes in a snap.
Today's great deal - or fast new tool for performing some task - seldom needs to be seized. You don't have to answer the call to spend. And the call is often more subtle than a ringing receiver.
Take the growing buzz behind the emerging version of the phone itself - third-generation, or 3G, digital wireless.
The basic idea is that many of the functions of computers and traditional phones will be merged into these tools. Many of us already carry gadgets - including run-of-the-mill cellphones - that are stepping stones to 3G.
In Europe and Asia, where digital networks are more standardized than they are in the US, 3G use is gaining. Are we hopelessly outmoded if we're not on board?
Perhaps not. A recent survey by Greenfield Online, an Internet market research firm, polled a cross section of US Internet users - a fast-lane crowd, in general - and found just 17 percent of those polled own wireless hand-helds. Further, 22 percent of that group view their devices as "an interesting toy they don't use much."
Call back later.
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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society