Monday, August 16, 2010

Not so SIMple

I needed to buy a SIM card for a cell phone. I went to the Virgin Mobile shop close to our house, where there were hundreds of SIM cards available. The only problem was, the shop clerks wouldn't let me buy one. They said I could only buy a SIM card if I purchased a cell phone contract, but if I wanted pre-paid cell minutes, I had to buy a SIM card at Checkers. That made no sense to me, but there are still many things in this country that make no sense to me, so...

I went to Checkers. They told me to go to CNA. CNA told me to go to Jet. Jet told me to go to Ackerman's. Ackerman's told me to go to Edgars. Edgars told me to go to Click's. Click's told me to go to Musica.

In the end, I went to every shop in the entire shopping mall that sold SIM cards, and the only shop that had them (Virgin Mobile) wouldn't sell one to me.

I ended up driving to Pick N Pay and found a SIM card there for 95 cents. I took it home - tired, grumpy, yet satisfied - and was about to put it in my cell phone when I read the following:
South African law requires you to register cell phones. In order to activate your SIM card, please provide proof of residence, ID, and take it to your local Virgin Mobile shop, who will kindly assist you (this is the part where I screamed).
Yesterday I felt like we had come so far. Today I see how far we still have to go.

2 comments:

Carrie said...

Just out of curiosity...why not use Vodacom? We had a SA card and a Lesotho card - both worked well and no need to register, etc. But outside of that - your story made me laugh as I have been there - oh so been there! Hahaha!

Annie said...

Our other accounts are with Virgin Mobile, and we needed to keep them the same. And actually, it's a new law that ALL cell phones - regardless of network provider - must be registered through RICA.