I don’t know if I ever told you the story of the iPad Mini. I might have done. It was during the One Ball era. I’m bringing it up now because I saw a Judge Rinder case — someone taking out a mobile phone contract for a friend who then didn’t pay for it, and I got irrationally angry as I watched it. It reminded me that One Ball never paid me for the iPad Mini that I got out on contract for him. In his defence, I was a fucking idiot for doing it.
I’m blogging through my angry five minutes right now … Five and a half years later.
My dating tale [dating fail] should serve as a warning.
In September 2012, I met a boy. He was the wrong boy for me and I knew it. He had too many kids; he lied about them at the beginning too. He had a number of complicated relationships. I can’t remember how many baby mamas I had to contend with — two, perhaps three? And then I developed a crush on his best friend. Awkward.
Five months passed, we were still together. Valentine’s Day came around. I wanted to give him something nice. He was a nice guy. We’d had a few bumps, but they were stupid and naive mistakes, not narcissistic, devious ones. He was just a bit … innocent. Didn’t always think of the repercussions of his actions if you get what I mean?
I worked in the phone biz and, obviously, made great use of all the perks that came with the job — cheap contracts, family & friend discounts, freebies, etc. I figured that I would take advantage of the cheap contract perk, getting an iPad Mini out for One Ball. It would make the PERFECT Valentine’s Day gift. He had been talking, just a few days before, about how much he wanted a Kindle. He was a soldier boy and regularly went away, so something portable and small would be ideal. An iPad Mini would be WAY better than a Kindle and, even better than that, the upfront and monthly costs would be minimal. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I paid less than a tenner upfront for it, with a heavily discounted monthly tariff of £10-£15. He was worth a tenner per month.
Once he’d received the iPad Mini (he was deliriously happy and cried), we were having a cup of tea with my mother when the conversation of what would happen if we were to break up came up. My mother … subtle as always. She made a joke about taking it from him if we split up and he responded with something along the lines of:
“I’d give it back anyway unless we could come up with a way where I’d pay for it. I wouldn’t run off with it!”
Like I said, he was a nice guy.
Four more months pass and we break up. He turned into a little bit of a whiny pain in the ass but, thankfully, went away pretty quickly. I’m not a public break-upper. I like to do all my whining and crying in the solace of my own bedroom, so having someone break down and cry right in front of my house was just a little too much. None of that screaming and shouting in public malarkey for me. Nooooo. EMBARRASSING.
Anyway, after a bit of back-and-forth arguing over everything and nothing, he agreed to give me the money for the iPad each month and we wouldn’t speak to each other again. I hurt him when I broke up with him, so I figured I’d let him have his space to do his thing. I got the first month’s payment. I might even have received the second one too. But that’s where it stopped. I didn’t receive a penny more from that man.
I text him asking if he remembered the iPad money, although, I did say that I would be okay to wait for it if necessary. I knew he was counting the pennies. He had five kids to pay for. He also stopped the soldier boy life and was finding it a little tough on the outside. Plus … it was a little over a tenner; I didn’t exactly miss the money.
His response was furious. He told me that I shouldn’t have been chasing him for the money when I knew his financial situation, and my mother and I should actually chase ANOTHER ex-boyfriend — Big Love — for the flight money he’d never contributed towards even though he said he would.
Cheeky fucker. That’s a deflection and a half.
He wasn’t the only furious one at this point. Bestie was raging. He told me to report the iPad as lost/stolen and get the sim card stopped. I considered it, but I didn’t do that. I didn’t do anything, in fact. I just paid the £10+ every month and never mentioned it again.
Because … I don’t know really. I felt like I maybe didn’t have the right to do anything about it. I got the iPad Mini for him and would have continued to pay for it the entire duration of our relationship. It was just unfortunate that we broke up. We didn’t even talk about what would happen if we were to split. I didn’t even think about it, not until my mother mentioned it. But, see that’s the thing that annoys me a little — HE told my mother that he would give the iPad back or pay for it each month if we broke up. HE said that. Not me. I never even brought it up.
I also didn’t mention the money after his furious deflection text because he never actually asked for the iPad, did he? I just kinda threw it at him. Here, have this. It’s yours. I’ll pay for it while we’re together, but the second we break up, you’re on your own. You will need to find £10 out of your already overstretched budget to pay for something you didn’t even ask for …
Was it even MORALLY right to ask him to pay for it? I don’t know.
There are a few more reasons — it was only £10 (ish) each month. Was I really going to badger him every month for just £10? It hardly seemed worth it. It was actually much easier just to let him go off and have his strop, slag me off to a bunch of his friends who I didn’t know and couldn’t care less about, and fade away into the sunset.
He NEVER went over his data or cost me any extra. He didn’t even have that much data to start with, so I’m actually quite impressed that he never went over. He could have done too, just to screw me over on the bill. He might have taken the contract sim out, replacing it with a PAYG one that he paid for himself. Either that or he used the thing on wifi only. (Or he sold it.) I’m GRATEFUL that he didn’t fuck me over … He sure was angry enough.
It was MY decision to break up. He didn’t want to break up. He was clearly very broken (for a while at least) about it. I felt so guilty. Not guilty enough to stay single for long, despite telling him that I didn’t have time for a relationship … I’m pretty sure I met Jock on Plenty of Fish the very night I broke up with One Ball. It wasn’t intentional. I actually went to delete the dating app and, well, you all know how the rest of that story goes. A direct (but slow) ride straight to Heartbreak City!
** If you don’t, you’ll find it here > Jock [The Whole Chapter]
There just seemed to be more reasons NOT to ask him for the money back than there were reasons to keep badgering him for it. In the end, I paid for the entire thing. £10 per month, 20 months. £200. Plus the tenner it cost me to get the thing in the first place. So, £210. Maybe a bit more. If I had outright bought him stuff for Valentine’s Day, rather than getting the contract out, I probably would have spent somewhere in the region of £100-£200, depending on how generous I was feeling. (I was a bit of an indulgent twat back then.) In the grand scheme of things, it just didn’t seem that important.
Here’s what COULD have gone wrong:
He could have wracked up masses of extra data, costing me a fucking fortune each month.
He could have continued to be a pest, badgering me and crying outside my door when I got home from work.
He could have used that iPad Mini as an excuse to see me or communicate with me regularly. There are a hundred or more scenarios that we could go into. Brown Eyes once used a pair of black jeans to get me to communicate with him again. He told me that they were still at his house but I was wearing them at that exact moment …
In Conclusion …
If you get a contract phone out for a partner, friend, relative, ANYONE, you are committing, legally and on paper, to TRUST that person for the entire length of the contract. Implicitly. In this case, 24 months.
What happens if you break up or fall out?
What happens if they lose their job and can’t afford to pay you for it? (If they were paying for it to begin with.)
What happens if they rack up huge bills in YOUR name that you then can’t afford to pay for? Do you know what effect that will have on your credit score?
What happens if the contract is for more than just £10 a month … like, £40, £50, more money per month? That’s money YOU will then be liable for. Again, if you can’t afford to pay that, YOUR credit score will be affected.
What happens if you NEVER want to see or speak to that person again? If you cut all contact, you run the risk of never being paid. If they’re an asshole, they will use the item or the bill as a reason to keep communicating with you. If that’s an ex, you’ll never be given the opportunity to move on. They won’t let you.
What happens if NONE of the bad stuff happens and everything works out just as it’s meant to? Does anyone even have a story like this that ends well? I’d love to hear about it. You know what to do … Stories, comments, typing, below — you get it.
Anyway, my final words to you are this: be smart when looking at LONG-TERM gifts for a loved one. Everything can change in the blink of an eye and before you know it, you’re a couple of hundred quid down too … or worse. I actually have worse tales to tell.
Oh, and what would YOU have done?
Think about that contract phone or tablet, hun.