Sunday, 17 November 2013

Myth Busted - Rice bowl intensive care is in fact an urban legend

I often see posts on Facebook and Twitter about people dropping their phones in the toilet. 
Really? Now why and how does someone drop their phone into the toilet? 

Hmmm, last Monday I found out. It happened fast and quite unexpectedly. I was changing the toilet roll and the phone fell out of my pocket in to the clean (yes very clean) toilet bowl. I fished it out in seconds. Then total panic set in.

Jumped up and down, waving the phone in the air (in manner of winning dance Pudsey did on BGT but with a lot of swearing thrown in).
I knew (don't ask me how) that I  needed to dry the phone and fast. Got the hair dryer and blasted hot air on the phone for 20 minutes, (almost suffering third degree burns in the process), tried turning it on and off.
My IPhone had flat lined. 

I googled ‘I dropped my iPhone in the toilet’. Incredibly, I got 1,940,000 results in 0.22 seconds…obviously this is not an uncommon occurrence.
Top 2 things NOT to do when you drop your phone in the toilet:
1. Do not blast phone with a hot dryer – well, I did that
2. Do not then phone on and off –and I did that as well

The articles on Google went on to say that I should put the phone in a bowl of rice and let it dry out for 24 hours. A rice intensive care bowl? Believe me, when in situations like this I realised that you tend to hold on to any hope (regardless of how ridiculous) offered. I filled a bowl with Uncle Ben’s rice (nowhere did it say what kind of rice, but perhaps Absorbio Rice would have been a better choice). I laid my IPhone in the bowl making sure it was completely covered with rice and placed it close to the radiator.

In the meantime I had to let people know that I had no phone and thank heavens for Facebook.  I was able to let everyone know (instantly) that I will not have a phone for the prescribed 24 hours. I also got lots of advice on how to revive the phone: put it in the airing cupboard, lay it in the Australian sun, get an upgrade (not helpful); keep it in the rice bowl for 3 days/10 days/30 days.

I called Vodafone to see what insurance and warranty I had; just in case the rice did not work (my plan B). Apparently my warranty had just run out (love how that always happens) and I did not have insurance. Also I was not due for an upgrade for another 3 months. This was turning into a major disaster. Then I remembered that I did have insurance with my bank. I pay £6.80 a month that insures all electronics (including phones). Sorted!

So I called Barclay's Bank and what followed was a very bizarre customer experience. They confirmed that yes I did have insurance, but the phone was not insured,
         Why not? 
         You did not tell us to insure it.
         Yes, I did. When I signed up. I told you I had an IPhone 
         You were supposed to call the number that was on the welcome letter we gave you
         So what items do I have insured? 
         You have no items insured
         What have I been paying for the last 2 years? 
         To insure your electronic items against loss, water damage
         But my phone is not included? 
         No, because you did not register it with us.
         So I am paying £6.80 a month (and have been for over 2 years) but there are no items insured
         and no one in your organisation sees anything wrong with that?

Keep peeking at the phone, looking for signs of life. 21 hours later (yes I know it should have been 24 but what difference is 2 hours going to make, at this point) I took the phone out of the rice bowl. And turned it on.
The camera light (which I had never seen before) came on and then when off. I waited for something to happen but the screen remained dark. I turned it on and off manically, hoping for signs of life, however small. There were none.

Put it back in the rice intensive care bowl. Perhaps it did need 2 more hours or 3 days in there.  I was getting desperate and I did miss my phone. I felt so electronically detached from the world. But it was sweet of friends and family to ask (via FB , email and the landline) ‘how’s the phone doing?’ Sadly, there was not much to report; it was lying lifeless in a bowl of rice.  

Day 3…quick prayer to the phone gods as I got the phone out of the bowl, gently wiped off the rice and turned it on. Nothing happened. Nothing. How can that be? I followed all the rules. Repeated the manic turning on and off of phone and as before nothing happened. The screen stayed dark. 

On to plan C, I called a phone repair guy who advertised (all over Tunbridge Wells) that he could fix water damaged phones. I took the phone in and he quickly dismantled the phone (which was frightening to watch actually, so many little bits and pieces). Water poured out of it. It seemed like the phone had absorbed more than its body weigh in water.

But the phone repair man was optimistic that he could get it working again especially since I had brought the phone in within 72 hours of dropping it in the water; well, a 65% chance actually.
Good odds.


The next day he called and said something about LCD, that I should have brought the phone in immediately and not waited 3 days.

Bottom line my phone fell into the remaining 25%,  flat lined, and nothing was ever going to bring it back.

1 comment:

  1. That's a certified bummer. I guess the most we can take from all of this is to simply be more careful with our phones next time. Phones and water are simply an unhealthy combination no matter what and electronics doesn't really play well with water at all. I hope that’s the last time that happened to any of your phones

    Cordia Remsen @ RBSMN