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Posted on Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

Dave!We're all doomed.

Forget about the meek inheriting the earth... it's the stupid people who are the real inheritors, and they're suing their way to dominance. Every time I turn around, I'm reading how some dumbass has done something fantastically moronic and then sued somebody to profit from their stupidity. It makes me very sad for future generations, and has me questioning whether the human race deserves to survive.

And it all started with my inbox.

This morning I got an email from somebody who decided to "warn" be about my recent Twitter addiction. If the email had stopped there, it would have been kind of nice, albeit misguided. But it did not stop. By the end of the email, I was taken to task for not warning people that Twitter isn't free as advertised. It would seem that this person signed up for the service, then racked up a massive mobile phone bill because they updated their Twitter using SMS messaging. "TWITTER LIES! IT ISN'T FREE, THEY CHARGE YOU FOR UPDATING!!"

To which I responded "No, Twitter didn't charge you anything. That was your mobile phone company... didn't you read your contract when you got your phone? Don't blame Twitter because you didn't understand how much it costs to send an SMS on your network!"

This seemed almost TOO obvious, so I thought I'd do a Google search to see if anybody else was complaining about it.

And, of course, there were.

But my favorite comment on the situation actually came from Phil Wainewright at ZDNet who says: "Even though Twitter isn't responsible for those costs and makes no money from them, there's still a moral duty to make sure users are fully aware of the charges they could incur." (emphasis mine)

To which I can only say "you've got to be fucking kidding me."

A "moral duty" to hold the hand of people too stupid to know how much it costs to send SMS messages on their own phones? When I got my first phone, the SMS rates were printed right on the rate plan I signed up for. When I switched to iPhone, I was specifically asked if I wanted to upgrade my included 200 free SMS messages to an unlimited SMS plan. Everywhere I look, the messaging charges are clearly posted by the mobile phone companies. Are people choosing to ignore this information, or do they honestly think that Twitter has the ability to magically make all their messaging be free? I sometimes update Twitter over the internet, does that mean that my DSL internet charges are going to become magically free too? Sheesh. Accept that you made a mistake; pay your bill; chalk it up to a lesson learned (hopefully); and move on.

I am sick to death of the constant ass-covering that people and companies have to do to protect themselves from the profoundly stupid. Failing to do so only opens them up to insane lawsuits and unwarranted criticism.

Am I the only one who thinks that the first "moral duty" should be that people have to take responsibility for their own actions?

I sure hope not.

Categories: iPhone + iPadClick To It: Permalink


  1. I wish we could have retroactive abortions for people like that.

    Oh, there is a facebook one, too but that one has more legs.

  2. Michael says:

    Hurray for unlimited texting plans! A year ago, this idea wouldn’t have phased me. Sadly, I think I now have somewhat of a texting addiction, though not as much as when I first got it.

  3. IRV says:

    You’ve hit on my big pet peeve! The dumbing down of the entire race. It is sad to say that most folks these days aspire toward mediocrity. AHHHHHH!

  4. Whit says:

    We live in a country with warning labels on coffee cups. Nothing surprises me.

    The comment sent via SMS messaging.

  5. Göran says:

    That´s why USA is the ultimate country to live in. Even obscenely stupid people can “make it” and become rich! No talent? No problem! Just sue someone!


  6. karla says:

    Seems simple to me…you send an SMS you get charged for it, no matter who it goes to.

    What is so hard to understand?

  7. I think Kentucky Girl is on to something here… retroactive abortions (heh)!

  8. Bec says:

    I have a great lawsuit on the go at the moment where I am suing the electricity companies using wind turbines as they are moving air away from me… and those bastards who are using my sunshine with their solar panels… And I’m totally off topic again. Yep, the mind is gone.

  9. Troy says:

    It’s all about due diligence. I don’t believe that Twitter has a “standard of care” towards the user to ensure they understand that charges may occur when they use the mobile updating version. Though I bet if you dug into their “terms of use” you’d find something about it. The problem is no one reads those things (myself included).

  10. Bre says:

    People aren’t just a little dumb sometimes… sometimes they’re incredibly, over the top, idiotic.

  11. RW says:

    “Moral duty” should be saved for things like standing up to racism and stuff. If your correspondent thinks “moral duty” is a concept that can be applied to a piece of technology that, in reality, is only held by a relatively small percentage of people, and equates it to the same level of priority of a true “moral duty”, that person is an asshole.

  12. NYCWD says:

    Its because of our constant coddling of weaker individuals that we as a race will one day be taken over by the laws of nature… where only the fittest survive.

  13. Hilly says:

    Um….when I signed up for Twitter Mobile, they actually had a little blurb reminding me (and other idiots) that “Twitter doesn’t charge anything for this, but be sure to know what your text plan looks like with your wireless carrier.”

    So uh yeah, even though I agree with you 100.3% that people should take responsibility for their own actions in this case, gah….it’s not as if they weren’t warned! Moral obligation, my ass!

  14. Wayne says:

    I actually thought Twitter did a great job of warning me as I signed up for the account that SMS, um, well, it costs money on many plans, and if you plan on using SMS with Twitter, um, well, there will be charges, but NOT from Twitter.

    I use AIM to update it, or maybe the web, but mainly I use Twitterberry on my blackberry, and since it doens’t use SMS but rather HTTP (and I have an unlimited data plan), I do my twittering for free.

    “Money for nothing and my tweets for free…”

    “I want my… I want my… I want my blackberreeeeeeee”

  15. sizzle says:

    “moral duty” – snort! as if.

  16. Amen, my brother. Preach it! As someone who is constantly having to add more stupid shit to the disclaimers at the end of her lovely marketing pieces, I feel this one deeply.

    What happened to the days when the stupid people would end up dying from an infection because they sliced their hand with a doorknob? Poor Darwin. His theory of evolution will be discredited if we keep coddling these morons.

  17. Naomi says:

    It’s NEVER their fault. Faultless, stupid people.

    Retro-abortion sounds like a good idea. I’ve always been fond of “mandatory euthanasia”.

  18. delmer says:

    I had never used SMS until this summer. The first time I sent a message — as stupid as I was about how the whole thing worked — I was pretty sure it was going to cost something.

  19. Miss Ann Thrope says:

    And don’t forget to thaw that frozen pizza before you eat it! Never take a bath with a toaster on the side of the tub. Lysol is not for human consumption.

    Oh and coffee is hot.

    Just trying to be helpful, ya know.

    I really think that people who are stupid enough to blame twitter for their phone bills should have their phones taken away….or killed…whichever.

  20. Anonymous says:

    i was just having a discussion yesterday about how it seems like far too many stupid people have attained wealth, position, honors, or the like.

  21. Rick says:

    Sounds like somebody(s) could use Rick Leonard’s Patented Panty De-Buncher. It’s my moral duty to point this out.

  22. Paul says:

    Too many victims in this world. Isn’t it always someone elses fault? I say line all the whiney bastards up and shoot them.

  23. Baak says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that the first “moral duty” should be that people have to take responsibility for their own actions?

    Well said! 🙂

  24. annie says:

    Oh, that’s hilarious. Yep, people are dumb.

    Or how about this – I made a lady a web page and I thought I had explained the whole “hosting” process to her. Maybe not enough detail (now I have it written into the contract, the contract keeps getting longer and longer) but when I was done, she was SO ticked off that it wasn’t going to be on the internet forever-until-the-end-of-time, I guess. Completely ticked off that she would have to pay someone $5 or $10 bucks a month to have her website on the internet, after ALL the money she paid me. Her business website, mind you. Where she advertised her rates of $60 dollars an hour.

  25. ChillyWilly says:

    “I am sick to death of the constant ass-covering that people and companies have to do to protect themselves from the profoundly stupid.”

    Right on the money.

    And why would someone sue for being charged extra? Can’t they just get on the phone with customer service and see if they can simply get a credit. While a credit is still unwarranted for stupid people, it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than involving lawyers and legal matters.

  26. sandra says:

    There are days when I don’t like people very much.

  27. Troy says:

    Something that has made me laugh – if you are in the supermarket or a place that sells bags of charcoal check them out. There is a picture of a van or truck with a bar-b-q set up in it and a big X through it meaning “Don’t do this”.

    You know the reason it’s there. Some idiot did it!

  28. Avitable says:

    But why did Twitter take my kidney, too?

  29. blanetalk says:

    Oh my gosh! I expect this kind of clap trap from the sub-average joe, but to hear that kind of comment from Phil Wainewright of ZDNet is astonishing!

    Look, I work for one of the major cell phone service providers in the United States. In the last year every cellular carrier has changed their non-plan per message sms rate at least once. And each company offers several options for messaging packages, and most offer some kind of plan that includes unlimited messaging for a flat rate. So it would be impossible for Twitter to advise customers about the exact rates of the different carriers.

    The problem with these ignorant uproars is that they make the assumption that someone who will not read and understand the pricing structure of the text messaging plan attached to their cellular service will somehow read and understand a vague general disclaimer from another service provider that they should read and understand the pricing structure of the text messaging plan attached to their cellular service before using the product!

    And I was going to mention that I just signed up for twitter, and when I went through the process I read the disclaimer “Twitter doesn’t charge anything for this, but be sure to know what your text plan looks like with your wireless carrier.”, but HILLY already mentioned it.

    I wish the US would adopt the British model of tort reform … if someone brings forth a frivolous lawsuit, they should have to pay some kind of financial penalty. That should weed out some of the slothful idiots. I’m also leaning toward supporting the use of a professional jury in these cases.

  30. Belinda says:

    Right, I don’t even use Twitter from my phone, but even I have seen the statement on Twitter’s page about setting up your mobile device that plainly states that while Twitter is free, you’re still responsible for any charges from your mobile service provider. DUH.

    Nobody ever emails me to warn me away from things. I’m touched that you are so well-cared-for!

  31. Lisa says:

    Holy freakin’ banana bread! You’ve got to be kidding me.

    If you aren’t smart enough to understand your mobile phone plan then you don’t deserve to have a mobile phone. Responsible people know what they pay for every month. Irresponsible people throw their money away in ignorance and deserve to be charged out the ass for using Twitter on their mobile phones with no care to SMS charges.

    And I thought the Hannah Montana law suit was frivolous.

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