Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A plague of CricKets

CricKet store on Capitol Drive.

CricKet descended on Milwaukee, apropos of nothing, in November of 2008 with 46 stores. The green (H&R Block green, which preys on a similar clientele) signs seemed to sprout simultaneously all over certain parts of town, generally the parts with Get it Now stores and check cashing places, with corner stores that sell nothing but soda, booze, candy, and Andy Capp Hot Fries. It's sad. "Launching service in southern Wisconsin is our first step toward building a significant Cricket footprint in the upper Midwest, which will ultimately include coverage stretching from Milwaukee to Chicago, a market that is scheduled to launch in the first half of next year," said Doug Hutcheson, president and chief executive officer of Leap Wireless International Inc., CricKet's parent company, at the time of CricKet's descent into our fair city. CricKet service has been previously launched in several other cities, particularly Kentucky and Texas. CricKet plans range from $30 to $60 per month and include terrible service, unlimited anytime minutes, unlimited U.S. long distance, unlimited text and picture messaging, unlimited text to Mexico (is this "Mexting?"), unlimited Mobile Web, unlimited directory assistance (do you need this if you have unlimited Mobile Web? Do you need it at all?), and nationwide roaming minutes with no signed contracts or credit checks. Not to mention lousy reception and an incredible hassle to connect with anyone still backwards enough to be using a land line. Now, if you know me or my husband IRL, you know that we work with clients in CricKet's prey demographic- people that may have few options, people at risk for getting their phone and lights turned off, people that leave a voice mail in the morning and two hours later the message I get on callback states specifically that "The CricKet subscriber you are trying to reach" didn't pay the phone bill this month. They don't need unlimited anytime minutes or mobile web; they need to be able to reach the clinic when the baby is sick. They need reliable service they can depend on and afford.

Please enjoy my obsessive CricKet photography.
CricKet on Center Street in Riverwest.

CricKet on King Drive.

CricKet on South 27th Street, in the same shopping plaza that houses the Value Village.

CricKet in Racine. At the moment I took this shot, Charlotte said, "We have Cricket in Racine too." So that's how I remembered it. This one's in Kenosha.
CricKet also had a booth at 7 Mile Fair this weekend. I contemplated sneaking a photo, but the risk seemed to outweigh the benefit.


mikemiller34 said...

T-Mobile pay-as-you-go, baby! I've been happy with their service, but didn't realize *how* happy until I compared prepaid plans with my parents. (I have good credit, but don't use the cell phone enough to justify anything more expensive.)

Charlotte said...

Funny that you did this! (That store in Racine - it's really in Kenosha.) But we have one in Racine somewhere, I know we do.

The River Otter said...

Whoops! Maybe the chauffeur wasn't clear about our exact location ;)

The River Otter said...

Mike, that's your German frugality at work, right?

Erik Helm said...

Good for you for calling them out. Predatory corporations like these need public outcry to prevent their crimes against the poor or unsuspecting. Good Job R.O.!

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