"If you don't vote, you can't bitch"

Once, many years ago, I was waiting in line at the Post Office on election day. One postal worker asked another if she had voted, and the second responded, “Hell yes, I voted. If you don’t vote, you can’t bitch, and I am not giving up my right to bitch!”

I was thinking about that the other day when trying to decide whether to buy a new iPhone 4 or wait to see what happens with Verizon at some point in the future. I and many of my friends like to bitch about AT&T’s service. Some reviews of the iPhone 4, such as Walt Mossberg’s in the Wall St. Journal, praised the phone but slammed AT&T’s service as its biggest weakness. Even Steve Jobs seemed to acknowledge and validate the criticism of AT&T in his talk at the D8 conference.

If you’re buying an iPhone 4 tomorrow, then, you already know AT&T is almost universally considered the weakest aspect of the phone’s experience. You’re signing up for that. Not only that, since AT&T recently nearly doubled, to $325, its early termination fees for smartphones, including the iPhone, you’re in for a harsh penalty if a Verizon phone comes out next year and you want to switch to it.

So here’s the deal: if you buy that phone right now, you’re giving up your right to bitch about AT&T for the next two years. No, I mean it! Complaints will be returned to sender unread. I may even create my own Twitter client with a built-in filter for #attfail if you keep it up. Quiet down! You know full well the iPhone 4 is for seeing, not talking. (Unless you’re on Wi-Fi.)

I’m undecided about what to do, myself. I’ll probably cave. But if I do, I won’t bitch, and you shouldn’t either. The single strongest message you could send to Apple and AT&T would be to vote with your wallet against AT&T’s crappy service. If you don’t vote, then you’re getting what you paid for.