In my second week in Toronto, I wanted a new landline phone (to go with my new landline). Over the next few days, I’ll explain to my European and Asian readers some dysfunctional aspects to the Canadian telephone value system.

Things like:

(1) People think nothing of paying high monthly fees on 3-year mobile / cellphone contracts with no get out clause, as long as the phone is “free”.

(2) People don’t like receiving phone calls on their mobiles, because every received call counts as part of your allocated minutes, or for pay-as-you-go customers, is effectively a collect call.

(3) Older people don’t text a lot, partly due to the fact that inter-carrier texting is only a recent phenomenen, and e-mailing is preferred.

In the meantime, I’ll tell you about my new landline phone.  In the UK, I had this phone:

It was a beautiful $160 phone, made in Germany, with amazing call quality it felt heavy and important, like it would last 20 years. With such good Siemens memories, I insisted on buying Siemens here in Canada.

I went to the official Bell Canada store, asked for their top-of-the-line Siemens model and bought this:

I was a little surprised at the price – only $40! But it was a Siemens, so I had faith. Once our line was ready, I plugged it in. It sounded just a tiny bit better than a tin can phone I use with my son occasionally. Realizing you get what you pay for when you pay $40 for a cordless phone, I took it back to a Bell store on College St.

I asked the clerk why they have no good Siemens phones for sale, and only the cheaper ones available. He gave me an honest, new world – old world answer: “Canadians don’t expensive things, because they don’t really care how long things last. As long as they work, it’s fine. Here’s a story about my grandmother… she died last week”

Taken aback, I sympathized.. “I’m so sorry”

“No it’s ok, we were expecting her to pass away for a while now. We’re Italian, and she was old. I loved her, and I was always impressed with her stuff. We were going through her things last week, and she had a lamp from 1950 that still worked. Her phone was one of those Contempra models from the 1970’s, and she only got that because my dad told her she needed touchtone. Think about that, she had one lamp in her living room from 1950, and one phone in her kitchen from 1970. And they were better than any lamp or phone we ever had in our house.”

“Can I blog about you?” I asked

“No problem.. go to and get yourself a nice phone. You’ll never regret it.

So I got this one:

I love it, and I hope to write about the fact I still use it in 20 years.

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