I think Jitterbug (the cell phone and operator service aimed at the elderly) should expand and offer navigational services.

The Jitterbug

For those who haven’t heard the wonderful news, Jitterbug provides simple phones and live operator services and caters to the elderly. The biggest feature seems to be the ability to call the operator and have them operate the phone.

Jitterbug phones have large displays and keypads, as well as loud speakers. The services comes with what can only be described as “old-school” operators, who can add contacts to customers’ address books, add appointments to your calendar, and even take dictation of a text message.

Why, Back in My Day …

Jitterbug’s success undoubtedly comes mainly from the operator service, which reminds an older generation of simpler times. Once upon a time, you could “ring Jenny the Switchboard Operator” to have her connect calls for you. You might even get to know Jenny and have a brief chat with her before she connected you to “Klondike 529.”

Still Relevant

The Jitterbug goes beyond this, though. Now that wonderful young lady Jenny can take dictation for you and send it as a text. Never before has it been so easy to send, “Happy Birthday, Grandson, LOLZ” to your grandson via a communications channel he actually uses!

New Feature

I propose a new feature: Navigational Services. Wouldn’t it be the bees knees if Jenny could give you directions like all those new-fangled iTelephones and Robot Phones? And how!

Let’s listen in on Ethel as she calls Jenny for directions on her Jitterbug.

Ethel [ takes twenty or so seconds to open the phone and press zero because she’s always looking for the hand crank ]

Jenny: “Operator speaking.”

Ethel: “Jenny? Ethel here, how are you?”

Jenny: “Why, I’m just wonderful, Ethel! How’s your grandson? Did he enjoy the pegboard you got him for his birthday?”

Ethel: “Oh, he loves it! Thanks for asking? How’s Fred?”

… [ 5 or 10 minutes go by in this way ] …

Ethel: “Say Jenny, I’m looking for that new Buttons! Buttons! Buttons! store the girls have been talking about. Would you know where that is?”

Jenny [ chuckling knowingly ]: “I wondered when you’d get around to looking into that place. I can give you directions.”

Ethel: “Oh, that would be wonderful!”

Jenny: “Certainly. You go out to the old Harker place and take a left past where the old fruit stand used to be.”

Ethel: “The one old Farmer Harker’s grandson ran before he retired?”

Jenny: “That very one. Follow that into town. Then, at the corner of Elm and Second – where you used to buy a whole bag of penny whistles for a nickel – and head toward the old soda parlor where you met Jeb Jenkins and slapped him for looking at your ankles when your slip rode up a bit.”

Ethel: “Mmm hmm.”

Jenny: “After that, you’ll turn right at the corner where you and Mabel used to wait for the trolly. Turn left into the parking lot of that newfangled mall that used to be Old Man Savage’s mill.”

Ethel: “Oh! I met my late husband, Mr. Carmichael there for our first date!”

… [ and so on ] …

Now I’m sure you can see the benefits. Following the success of deploying such a feature, Jitterbug could expand their operator services and offer Internet surfing. Why get one of those confusing computers when you could have Jenny take care of all of that stuff?

I think we would all be wise to invest in Jitterbug. They’re going places … slowly … with their blinker on …

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