I’ll Have the Ecru.

So, I’m in the T-Mobile store on Valencia and 17th just down the street from my apartment and I’m talking to the salesperson about getting a new phone. My old crappy Motorola was getting zero reception in the new pad and I thought it was high time to get me one of them fancy phones that plays, like, Usher songs or whatever…and works in my apartment. The guy informs me that often cell phones don’t work in older San Francisco homes because of lead paint and/or chicken wire. I just nod my head and said “ah, that must be it.” I then purchase this rather large Nokia 6600 that takes pretty pictures (for blogging, obviously), and go on my merry way.

My new phone works better in my apartment than my old one, but if I’m not in the front room with the bay window or in the back near the porch, I don’t get reception at all. And that got me thinking about lead paint and chicken wire. Well, lead paint, anyway.

According to Cole Hardware (which, if you didn’t already know, is the urban alternative to Home Despot, offers a “frequent shopper” card and reminds me of the hardware store in the small town where I grew up) 93% of San Francisco housing units built before 1978 contain lead-based paint. So that’s, what, nearly all the housing units in the city? I’m not especially worried, since I have no plans to do any “dry abrasive blasting,” but it was a bit of an eye-opener.

So was the notion that “your child might eat sweet-tasting lead-based chips.” Bust out the salsa. These lead-based chips are flippin’ sweet.

7 Comments so far

  1. Brian Lam (unregistered) on November 9th, 2004 @ 10:52 am

    I live in the same hood, and have the same problem with T-Mobile. There is just bad reception in the Valencia and 20th area. I did move to a nokia 6600 phone, too, and things got better (although this cellie has a bodonkadonk)

    Cole hardware is great — I wish there was one in the hood. I usually head over to the hardware store on 24th, a few blocks from church. For missionites, its one of the only things lacking in the area (that and good, cheap thai food — none of that fake-osha or yamo crap)

  2. Joann Landers (unregistered) on November 10th, 2004 @ 8:19 am

    I wish you luck. I have a sprint phone; I have so much fun taking pictures with it. I am in an apartment in San Jose, but the paint must be ok here.

  3. Steve (unregistered) on November 10th, 2004 @ 6:11 pm

    You don’t have a lead paint or chicken wire problem, (that is one tall tale from the T-Mobile salesperson) you have a T-Mobile problem. A new phone may help, but as you discovered, was not the answer. All I can say is don’t do Cingular, T-Mobile uses their towers. Verizon or Sprint is the answer.

  4. b (unregistered) on November 10th, 2004 @ 6:38 pm

    verizon and sprint do generally have better coverage. but ymmv in certain city neighborhoods.

    a tri- (or quad-) band phone from at&t (very soon to be part of cingular) might also work well. since they are also gsm (but gsm 850 + gsm 1900), you’ll be able to use all those super cool un-crippled phones that sprint and verizon won’t let you have.

    i think at&t has a 30 day return policy. pick up a sony-ericsson T637 (said to have the best radio) and check out your coverage.

  5. b (unregistered) on November 10th, 2004 @ 6:40 pm

    oh.. and if the s-e T637 works well.. spend the $20 bucks to buy a terminator dongle so you can unlock/unbrand/upgrade the phone. at&t’s takeover of the right soft button for mMode is criminal.

  6. Bronwyn (unregistered) on November 11th, 2004 @ 9:26 am

    Well, too bad for me, then, because I kicked AT&T to the curb a year ago because I didn’t get reception in my house in Los Angeles. T-Mobile worked great for me there. Anyway, the new phone meant a new contract, so I guess I’ll just have to see how that goes.

  7. warholsdiaries (unregistered) on November 11th, 2005 @ 2:19 pm

    I have T Mobile, and just learned they bought a bunch of Cingular towers. Or borrow them. So, I have the new Sidekick II – FANTASTIC!!! The reception is great. So, since they have new towers the reception should improve.

    I had the V3. All I have to say is it’s overpriced and not worth it.

    And jesus h christ about the lead paint. that’s bad!

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