My Android saved me from an evil office prank

One of the complaints I hear from my iPhone-owning wife whenever she needs to use my Android phone is that it’s “complicated” and “not easy to use.” Avid Android users would dispute that claim, but I suspect many iPhone owners would say the same. Apple’s iOS is famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) for its homogenized interface and simplicity. At some point Apple decided iPhone owners were only capable of selecting a background for their phone and deciding what they want to name the folders their apps are grouped in. Oh, and third party keyboards have now also been given Apple’s blessing. Google’s Android, on the other hand, offers nearly endless customization options. From replacement launchers to home screen widgets and custom app icons, there’s very little that Android users can’t make their own.

It’s these customization options that helped prevent me from being the victim of a cruel office prank. While up from my desk last week, two of my coworkers thought it’d be fun to sign me up for “EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. All they had to do was text “TRUMP” to 88022 in the time it took me to go to the bathroom.

When I exited the bathroom, I saw them crowded around my desk and heard my phone clatter as they excitedly set it back down. I instantly knew something was going down and it probably wasn’t going to be good.

Lucky for me, 88023 isn’t another political campaign.

Before we go any further, let me just say, I know what you’re thinking. “Why doesn’t this idiot have a password on his phone?” Look, I’m well aware I should be using a PIN or pattern lock on my phone. But I don’t, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this. I use my phone dozens of times a day, and don’t want to deal with the hassle. Even the fingerprint reader adds an extraneous step. Maybe pranks like this are my punishment for not using a PIN. Maybe I’m inviting friends to mess with my phone by not having a lock. There’s probably some truth to that. If my phone ever gets stolen, it may come back to bite me in a much bigger way, but for now that’s the risk I’m taking for the sake of convenience.

As I snatch my phone off my desk, I start to figure out what had just happened and I see an error message pop up. After multiple attempts, my coworkers had sent the message, but to the wrong number! They went on to explain that they had been trying all day to make this happen, but had been slowed down because my phone was “confusing” and had been unable to find my messaging app. They’d even gone through the effort of sending me texts to access my messages via the notification. All to no avail. I had been saved by a user interface some would say is complicated. Well, that and someone’s clumsy typing.

The thing I love most about Android is that I can decide how to interact with my phone, how it looks, and yes, whether or not it is password protected. The options are endless. Confusing? Maybe. Worth it? Totally.

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