What Happened to ‘Free’ Phones?

I recently had to replace my ancient phone because Nina

Nina + rooster

Nina + rooster

(that’s her, with her ever-present rooster friend) chewed up my charger, and they don’t seem to be making chargers anymore for my circa-2004 dinosaur:

Brontosaurus

Brontosaurus

I went to the AT&T store to get a new phone and figured I’d sign up for two years of their usual highway robbery in exchange for a free phone.  Hm, it seems the cheapest decent phone I could find was $70 after all the mail-in rebates and bizness.  I asked the sales guy what the deal was, and his brilliant response?  “Plastic has become a lot more expensive lately.”  Um, SERIOUSLY?

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