The new, entirely useless Island Tel calling card

Island Tel Calling Card Pictured here is the Reinvented Inc. corporate calling card from Island Tel. You might be thinking “Hey, why is he putting his calling card on the Internet — won’t somebody steal it and make calls to Belgrade with it?” But you would be wrong to ask this question.

You would be wrong because this is the “new, improved” version of the calling card from Island Tel. This, you see, is the new entirely useless model of the card.

Here is a rough recollection of an actual exchange between me and an Island Tel operator earlier this year:

Operator: Operator, can I help you?
Me: Hello. I’m here in the Charlottetown Mall and I want to call home using my calling card. I just got a new calling card, and I just took it out of my wallet to find that my PIN number isn’t printed on it anymore.
Operator: That’s right, the PIN number isn’t printed on the calling card any longer, as a security measure
Me: Can you tell me what my PIN number is?
Operator: No, I’m sorry. You would have to come into the office for that.
Me: Well, if the PIN number isn’t printed on the calling card, then why do I need a calling card, if all it’s got on it is my telephone number, which I already know?
Operator: That’s a good point.
Which, of course, is why this new calling card is entirely useless.

You might be thinking “why don’t you just stick the calling card in one of those snazzy new card phones, where you don’t need a PIN?” And again, alas, you would be wrong to ask this, because absolutely the only thing that doing this achieves is to have the phone type in your phone number for you, which you might think is a labor-saving help, until you realize that it takes longer for the phone to type in your number that it does to type it in yourself.

I have only to assume that the corporate thinking that led to this decision probably went something like this:

  • People are getting their wallets stolen by nefarious people.
  • These nefarious people are using the calling cards they steal to make lots of calls to Belgrade, because the PIN number is printed right there on the card. This is wrong.
  • It is our job to stamp our wrong.
  • Let’s take our PIN number off the card.
And so it is. The problem with the result is that it renders the calling card entirely useless. It is dead weight in the wallet.

The calling card portion of the Island Tel website tells me that I should have a calling card so that I can …enjoy the convenience. But there is no convenience — there is only inconvenience!

Now, you might be saying, “what about all those calls to Belgrade?” I have a simple solution to this problem: take my telephone number off the card, and put my PIN number back on, all alone.

The result? The nefarious criminals can’t make phone calls because they need my telephone number to do so. I already know my telephone number, so I can make phone calls, with the card serving as a handy reminder of my PIN number.

But what about the smart and nefarious criminals, who look up my phone number in the telephone book? Good point. But I imagine that the sum total of fraud committed by smart and nefarious criminals using calling cards stolen from Prince Edward Islanders could in no way approach the sum total of the frustration experinced by Islanders who pull entirely useless calling cards out of their wallets.

Notes: The use of Belgrade in the examples above is for illustration purposes only, and is not meant to imply that the rate of nefarious calling to Belgrade is any more than to any other place on earth. Advantage Calling Card is a trademark of Stentor Resource Centre Inc., but calling card is not. The inclusion of an image of my own calling card on this page should not be taken as an endorsement of my opinions — about calling cards, Belgrade, or anything else — by Stentor Resource Centre Inc. If you have questions about using your own calling card you can phone 1-800-561-8888.