Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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The word "How?" springs to mind at this point.

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FREE cell phone service

Sell your soul for free talk time!
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Ok.. Ok, you really don't have to sell your soul (my apologies if I've offended anyone) I thought of this years ago...

You go to your local cell phone dealer and sign up for service, and also fill out a market research questionaire. The contents of the questionaire is then put into a database that also monitors what part of town you are in. If you didn't already know... your cell phone company already "tracks" you across town (within a few blocks) as long as your phone is on. So when you pass by a <cringe> Starbucks and the computer recognizes that you said you like coffee (from the questionaire), it pages you with an "e-coupon" to go in and get a discounted beverage... Now the cool part... each merchant puts a value (in minutes) for redemption of the coupon...so not only do you get a discount at the merchant, you get... say... 3 minutes extra talk time added at the end of the month to your account. Test drive a car... get 30 minutes talk time... buy a pizza... 5 minutes.... you get the idea....

This seems like it would pay for itself as most retailers (especially food service) want a steady stream of customers... and as an added bonus, get valuble market research reports at the end of the month. Merchants could also activate and stop promotions in a matter of minutes... lets say its 3:30pm and Starbucks has only 2 people sipping away. The manager could pick up the phone and activate a 1 hour promotion for " buy one- get one free + 3 minutes talk time" for everyone in their cell and all adjacent cells (or what ever the merchant chooses). The consumer within the specified cells would get the "e-coupon" with an hour expiration on it also directing them to the correct location. They would then simply go to the Starbucks, show them the phome, get the discount, and also recieve a special code you enter directly into the phone. The phone then automatically calls the database to credit the consumers account.

If you get tired of a particular merchant bugging you every day on your comute home.. you could have a "don't bug me anymore" button. (Per Susen) But don't forget...

Refinements are endless... you could give as much info in the market research questionaire as you like... remember it's all voluntary. The more you tell, the more offers you get, the more talk time you get. The consumer would still sign up for cell service and buy minutes... but if they participated in the program their earned minutes could supercede purchsed minutes.

andrewkorbel, Apr 10 2001

PhoneHog http://www.halfbake...ea/www.phonehog.com
Same thing, pretty much, and just about as annoying. [Eugene, Oct 04 2004]

[link]






       OK....I don't have a cell phone as I still think CBs are an important way to communicate. However, this isn't bad....... the survey would have to be pretty specific and people may complain about all the "spam" sent to their phone...and I am sure there are other logistical nightmares that I haven't noticed yet. Still, ::::applause:::: for not being that bad of an idea for a newbie.
Susen, Apr 10 2001
  

       This is a reasonable idea. I use less than one hour per month on my cell phone, though.
gd, Apr 10 2001
  

       A simpler way to confirm the transaction than getting a code from the retailer: The offer says "2-for-1 and 3 free minutes. Press 1 to accept. Press 9 if you do not want to receive offers from this merchant." When you press 1, the phone company sends your name (or a name you designate to the phone co. for such use) to the merchant's computer screen (by updating a database to which the merchant has password-protected web access?). When you buy the coffee(s), you give the merchant your "name" and he clicks a box next to your name on his computer screen.
beauxeault, Apr 10 2001
  

       This would need position tracking down to the ~10m level, which I thought was not possible for cellphones. But who cares - in a few years every mobile phone will have a GPS chip and Mr Korbel's time will have come (Korbel's time will come; Korbels' times, they will come; Korbels' times, they would have come; etc., etc.)
hippo, Apr 10 2001
  

       Kind of a neat idea, although I'd like it for the phones to definately NOT ring to deliver the message. Having 50 phones ring every time you pass a Starbucks would probably justify widespread homicide...   

       I wouldn't want one, but it's still kind of a nifty idea.
StarChaser, Apr 11 2001
  

       I am so very against cell phones, but this idea actually makes sense
AfroAssault, Apr 12 2001
  

       You wouldn't even need cash, just charge it to your cell phone account. you can buy sodas from vending machines through cell phones already, just call the machine, it charges your account and spits out a can.
tmc, May 14 2001
  

       the link doesn't work, but then you get phonehog pop-ups, so I guess it sort of works...
Eugene, Oct 22 2003
  
      
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