Virgin Mobile USA Support Tips

In light of the truly sucktastic service we’ve gotten from Virgin Mobile USA this week, I felt I should write a post in the hopes that it might help others who use VMU but can’t get things to work. Most of this post has to do with iPhones in particular, since that is what we have experience with, but I’m sure a lot of it will help with any device you have using the Virgin (which uses the Sprint network) service. This post is about USA service only. BTW, Sprint is dying and it will take VM with it. I wouldn’t advise spending a lot of dough on a phone with either of them. It’s a shame, we’ve used VMU for over a decade. I’ll miss them, shitty customer service and all. :(

Basic Virgin Mobile FAQ:

– Virgin Mobile shares bandwidth on the Sprint network in the US. This used to be a good thing, now, not so much. Sprint is dying. America is the land of the oligopoly and eventually there’ll be just AT&T for phone and satellite TV, but for now there is Verizon (CDMA network) and AT&T (GSM network). VM uses the CDMA network. That means the phone must be CDMA. You cannot use a CDMA phone on a GSM network or vice versa. Here is an article about bringing a phone to Verizon, FYI.

– NO, VMU will NOT be getting [insert iPhone model] back in stock. Every VSU employee will tell you “Yes! It’ll be any day now!”, which is a lie. The front page of their site is a lie. The fact is that VMU buys their iPhone stock and then it sells out. Their inventory is finite. Just buy a phone off of eBay. Which is generally not a problem, just make sure it’s a VMU phone with a clean ESN. If it’s a 5 series, you’ll need to also buy a new card for it (it is a UICC card, which is just a newer generation SIM card).

– YES, a used iPhone 5 and up WILL require a new UICC card. Do not listen to the VMU employees that tell you otherwise. NO you do NOT need a card for a 4 series phone. Actually these require NO CARD in the slot. All iPhones require a card from series 5 onward. You can buy these on ebay, too. They are labeled Sprint, T Mobile, Boost and VM.

– VMU has really horrible support. Which is probably why you’re here. It will not get better, so it’s something you must make peace with. Hopefully something in here will help you.

– Don’t even bother with trying to use the website to swap phones. Just suck it up and call.

– The Twitter people (@VMUcare) suck just as much as the phone people. Don’t bother.

– If you have a “support” person who clearly does not understand what you are calling about, just say goodbye and call back. You may have to do this many times. Be prepared to spend a LOT of time on the phone. You simply have to persevere and keep cycling through support people until you find one that has a clue. No way around it.

There is a glitch in the VMU system that will render your iPhone 4 series unable to send/receive calls when you update the OS. Virgin support is apparently unaware of this and cannot help you. But I can. Simply call ##873283# and your phone service will be restored. I am not sure if this applies to 5 series (or 6 series) iPhones. I’ll update this when Nick updates his 5c. **He did have to call this number to turn on phone service on the 5c after he got the card working. This seems to have been worked out with iOS 10+. I’ve not had to use the # since iOS 10 on my 5c OR my new 5s.**

How to buy a new iPhone and get it activated with VMU:

– Go go eBay and look for phones specifically labeled Virgin Mobile. Make sure they have a clean ESN – which means they are not stolen and/or bricked.

– If you are buying a 4 series iPhone, you’ll need to REMOVE the SIM/UICC card that might still be in it. My phone had been used with TMobile, apparently, there was a card in the slot. I know this because when I called to activate the phone, it kept giving me an “incompatible SIM card” error. Of course the “support” person in Philippines did not know what this meant. I am a nerd, so I knew to pop out the card, but the “support” dude kept telling me I had to take the phone to Apple. Yeah, NO. 4 series iPhones do NOT need any card in the slot to work with VMU. Ignore whatever else you’re told, just pop out the old card and then call VMU to activate. You can google how to remove a SIM card, it’s a snap.

– If you are buying a 5 series phone, you’ll need to buy a NEW SIM/UICC card for it. They sell those on eBay, too. Once you get your new phone and the card, this is where the fun begins. And by fun, I mean soul sucking hell. :( You’ll have to call VMU to get the phone and its card activated. The problem is that most of the “support” people don’t know how to do this. They will attempt to activate the phone w/out activating the card, which, of course will not work. It took my husband FOUR DAYS to find a support person who could understand this issue and activate the UICC. Once the card was paired with the phone’s id#, all was well – BUT you’ll probably have to call the super secret number (##873283#) to get phone service working (no longer w/ iOS 10). **I got a good support guy who got my 5c working in minutes. That is rare!**

Those are the biggest issues with iPhones and VMU. They won’t get any better. My advice is to go with another provider if you’re just setting up cell phone service (TMobile, maybe?). As I said at the top, Sprint is dying and with it, Virgin Mobile USA. We assume another provider will buy up the bandwidth and service (Verizon most likely) but the heyday of good VMU service is gone. We’ll stick with VMU until it dies. I, personally, love my $30/mo unlimited text/talk and 1gb data. It works for me and I can deal with spotty support. I don’t need a lot of hand holding.

Do not get into a contract with any provider. Just buy the phone that will work with one of the two networks and then shop providers. Like I mentioned, there are only two networks in the US and AT&T (GSM) is dominant. Their non-contract division is called Cricket. Even tho I detest AT&T, I think Cricket is the best choice for non-contract. If you have a Virgin/Sprint phone and want to switch, your only choice is Verizon – which may or may not take your phone. TMobile is still around and they offer good deals. I’ve no idea how they are service and support-wise.

Cell phone service is as screwed up as broadband and TV in the US. It won’t get any better. Just try to find the best deal you can and don’t be afraid to change if you’re not happy. I think too many people in the US are afraid to change their providers. In addition, make sure to support efforts to break up and/or regulate our broadband, TV and cell services. The reason American services are so bad is due to the government being paid off by monopolies and oligopolies that collude to keep prices high and service low. You must speak out about this to your US House Reps and Senators. American cell service sucks because we let it suck. Remember: we are a third world country when it comes to broadband/TV/Phone services.

Good luck with your cell phone service! I hope something here may have helped.

Asian Chicken and Chickpea Stew

This recipe started off as more of a Moroccan type stew, but somehow ended up with an Asian taste profile – but with chickpeas! It is light, low fat, low carb and very tasty! This is a small recipe that makes about 5 cups. Double if you want plenty to share or freeze.

Asian Chicken and Chickpea Stew

4 boneless/skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1″ chunks
1 medium onion, diced
1 small or 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
1 leek, sliced (white and center tender parts only)
1 small pkg of creminis, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
.5 tsp dry mustard
.5 tsp ginger
.5 tsp coriander
.5 tsp smoked paprika
2 Tbl soy sauce
1 Tbl fish sauce
2 Tbl mirin
1 Tbl tomato paste
juice of one lemon
1 can chickpeas, drained
2 cups chicken stock
juice of one lime
.25 cup chopped parsley
Cooked Rice for serving

Cut up chicken and season with S/P. Sauté veg in evoo until soft. Add chicken and spices, cook over med hi for about 5 minutes. Add sauces and tom paste; cook for another 5 mins. Add chickpeas and stock, bring to simmer for about 10 minutes. Add juice of lemon and half the parsley and cook another 10-15 minutes at low simmer. Check for seasoning. Serve with lime juice and parsley garnish. Optional but recommended: serve over a quarter cup of rice.

Calorie counts based on 1.25 cup serving with rice (courtesy
Calories: 388
Fats: 12 grams
Carbs: 23 grams
Fiber: 2.5 grams
Protein: 24 grams

Hello 2016

Since I did a “Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me” post last year, I thought I’d do a variation on that theme this year. But this time it’s more of my philosophies than stuff you don’t know. Truths that are actually contrary to how I may seem on the surface. And some new developments. In no particular order:

– I can apparently get tattooed without passing out these days! Hallefuckingluyah! I’ve gotten two tats with no wooziness or passing out. Let’s hope that continues.

– Despite my catty demeanor online, I am actually pretty nice in person. I’ve reined in my snark quite a bit in my old age. I do nice things for people all the time – it just doesn’t get the press that snark does.

– I am still the passive aggressive note writing NINJA OF ALL TIME, however. ;)

– Despite my bitching about my family, I really do wish the best for them. Other than the niece from hell. She can rot.

– Despite my disappointment in our new UK host Zweeko, I like the guy that runs it. He bugs me when he laughs off site outages, but he puts up with my bitching well. A plus.

– I can actually pass up flaying people online (esp Facebook) pretty regularly. It’s still WAY tempting, but it serves no purpose on FB, where the idiocy of all mankind resides and everyone looks for fights. I even passed up the chance to call out someone who was amazed that people on FB would unfriend over small things – when SHE did the EXACT same thing to ME. I did make a comment about it “happening all the time” but she didn’t catch that I was referring to her. THAT MADE MY DAY.

– My struggle with depression continues. Meh.

– My struggle with weight continues. Meh.

– I still love my job and wish I had more clients. (ATTN: restaurants or other small businesses!)

– I’m having a lot of trouble getting back into doing creative, crafty things. It’s the depression, I’m sure.

– I’m wishy washy about taking in Shasti Kat. While I’m happy to have her inside when it’s cold, I just don’t want another damn cat. BAH. Trying to keep her mostly outdoor.

– Lack of blogging is directly related to depression. Sorry about that.

– I just read the Wilson sisters’ Kicking and Dreaming memoir. It was an excellent read.

– One last thing: I’m old. I know lots of shit simply because I’ve been on this planet a long time. I’ve NO patience with Millennials/Hipsters and their bullshit attitude. I’m proud to say that I gave a smackdown to a youngster the other day on FB and managed to do it with just the right amount of Get Off My Lawn. This hipster implied that I simply didn’t get it because I didn’t have “diverse” friends like SHE does. She doesn’t even know me!! I called her out. The child apologized for implying that I was not aware of “diversity” because I’m over 30. It’s shit like this that makes EVERYONE hate a hipster. Authentic MY ASS. How about holier-than-thou asshats? That’s more like it. GET OFF MY LAWN.


Anyway, that’s it for this random list of nothing. It’s an election year, I’m sure I’ll cook up some political posts for y’all as it goes on. :)

You Will Be Serfs! UPDATED!

This was written right before we walked away from Maplehurst and got this beautiful house in Tucker in June 2014. We are happy as clams and have not one single regret about deciding to rent. And we will NEVER buy again. FUCK THAT. Thanks to not buying, we now have investments, a fat savings account and NO DEBT. Buying a house will make you house poor. It’s totally not worth it to me. I’m always amazed when I STILL hear that old saw “renting is throwing away your money.” Really? Well, since we bailed on a $75k underwater house that would NEVER be worth what we paid, we are in the best financial shape of our lives! Seems to me that renting has SAVED us money, not “thrown it away.” But whatever, you suckers want to be indentured to the banks, y’all go right ahead and buy. Ain’t my circus.  – Angela April 2 2016. 

Yesterday we watched some financial revenge porn in the form of the movie Assault on Wall Street. It was FABULOUS. All the asshole brokers got what they deserved – and I don’t mean more money. Then we watched Office Space to round out our day of Fuck This Shit.

We did not get the house we coveted (THANK THE GODS!!) due to various mortgage lender jackassery.

On top of that aggravation, the mortgage guy, Murray, is all about reminding us about how hard it is out there for a pimp of the mortgage industry and how the investors suffered. I held my tongue, but I’m telling you, it was hard not to tell him to fuck right on off. WHY anyone would feel the least bit bad about an industry that broke the United States’ economy, then took trillions MORE of our money and never lost a penny is beyond me. Actually, the banks and mortgage industries are just fine and dandy, thanks for asking. They have shown record profits since the bailouts (read: extortion money).

Speaking of the bailouts and what’s happened since, here’s some reading for you:
We’re almost break even on the bailout. Sept 2013
Why Fannie and Freddie remain a big threat. Aug 2013
Wall Street bonuses to top 2009. Aug 2013

I love how most people in the mortgage industry own at least one rental property. That goes for Realtors®, too. I also love how they can look you in the eye and with a straight face, tell you how hard it’s been for them. RIGHT.

Really, motherfuckers? I fail to see how buying up property for pennies on the dollar to rent back to the people who were fucked in the ass and tossed out on the street by bad and/or underwater loans is “hard”. ??

It is my assertion that the main goal of the mortgage industry is to reduce Americans to being serfs. It is practically impossible to get a loan now (despite all the Obama bullshit about “Making Homes Affordable” with HARP*) and if you manage it, you’ll be saddled with a $200/mo fee (called “insurance” by FHA) for the life of the 30 year loan. That comes to $72,000 of additional fees that go straight to the FHA coffers. In the past, PMI (private mortgage insurance) was only until you gained some equity or refinanced – NO MORE. Now it’s forever on FHA loans. [*HARP is still going on. If you are stupid enough to TAKE an offer of extending your mortgage for another 10 years, you deserve what you get. That is TEN YEARS more interest and mortgage insurance that goes DIRECTLY to the banks and insurance companies. Anyone who takes a HARP refinance on an underwater home is a fucking moron. -A 2016]

And yes, you’ll have an FHA loan unless you have pristine credit and 20% to put down. And don’t think that your parents can help with that down payment. NOPE. You can’t use any gifts for down payments. If you do get a gift, then it must sit in the bank for six months and you have to get written proof of where that money came from. Cash is frowned upon in this brave new world. It is frightening the threats you’ll hear if you have cash. We know, we were threatened because we wanted to use our rainy day cash money for a down payment. You would’ve thought we asked if we could use dead babies.  INSANE.

When real estate crashed, the rich white people and corporations moved in to buy up every available foreclosure as “investment property”. What that means is that most of the good deals that might have been had by first time buyers were snapped up and turned into rental property. This reduced inventory of homes and made it harder to find a home for sale on the low end. It’s now mostly high end homes that a first time owner cannot afford. Now, add that to the near impossibility of getting a home loan in the first place and you are a society of serfs. People who own very little and pay rent to our rich overlords.

What the mortgage industry and its rich white owners aimed to do is push America back to the early 1900s, when the rich were rich and the rest of us were serfs who paid them rent. They were successful in that aim. Home ownership is at an all time low. The economy is stagnant and not looking very promising. There is little job creation.

Fortune: What happens if nothing changes at Fannie and Freddie?
“Without the discipline of a private market, we are in danger of creating another speculative housing bubble, which would again result in massive losses and economic hardship when it bursts.” – Hank Paulson, Fortune magazine, Aug 28, 2013. [linked above]

The 1% have won, my friends. Most Americans have been beaten back to early 20th century standards and no one is doing a thing about it. Rich white men and large corporations have seized the biggest indicator of individual wealth: real estate. Owning a home is the epitome of the American Dream. Thanks to these rich people, who continually get richer, the rest of us are little more than indentured servants. Serfs.

[Take a look at the building industry right now – especially here in Atlanta. All you see are apartments and McMansions being built. NOTHING in between. Moderate housing, like our neighborhood, is on the market for a couple of weeks and the seller gets what they ask. It is insane. There is little available for first time buyers. So people rent.  I don’t see why anyone would want to buy right now, the market for buying kinda sucks unless you have a fat down payment.  -A 2016]

It’s infuriating and demeaning to be reduced to a society with little personal wealth for 99% of its citizens. It’s sickening to see the 1% cheerfully declare the rest of us its serfs. It’s in the background of every pompous, rich landlord’s assurances that it’s OK to rent, listen for it: “You WILL BE Serfs! And you will like it!” “Oligobble our balls!” Which is also pertinent to the Comcast takeover of Time Warner this week. OLIGOBBLE. You’ll take what we give you.

We are bitter and resentful of the way we were treated by these rich fucks in the mortgage industry. We are sick to death of hearing how hard it is for the poor beleaguered banks, investors and corporations.

If you, too, need some revenge porn to lessen your bitterness and resentment, DO rent Assault on Wall Street. It is the story of desperation that SO MANY Americans deal with (it hits on healthcare, housing and investing), but the hero gets to give it back to the fuckers that so deeply deserve it. It won’t change anything, but it’ll damn sure make you feel a bit better.

Ok, back to your regularly scheduled serfdom.

Trinidadian Chicken Stew

This warm and inviting stew has a nice balance of sweet, savoury and umami. It is easy to make and it can be made in a crockpot – SEE NOTES.


Trinidadian Chicken Stew

What makes this stew unique is sautéeing the chicken with brown sugar. It has a sweet flavour, yet the lime and fish sauce give it excellent umami.
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Caribbean, Trinidad
Keyword chicken, southern caribbean cuisine, trinidad stew
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author misangela


  • 4 Chicken thighs, boneless/skinless, cut into 1.5" dice
  • 1 Tbl olive oil
  • 2 Tbl brown sugar
  • 1 Tbl molasses to help the brown sugar cook better
  • 2 Tbl butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small white onion, diced about 2/3 cup
  • 1 Tbl ginger paste or 1" of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp thyme fresh or dry
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flake
  • 2 Tbl ketchup
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup potatoes, 1/2" dice
  • 1 small can coconut cream sometimes called milk, NOT water
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup chicken stock +/- to your preference
  • 1 Tbl fish sauce optional, but I like the umami it gives to the dish
  • S/P to taste
  • 1 lime, zest and juice you can serve wedges as garnish
  • scallions, thinly sliced on bias garnish
  • fresh cilantro, rough chop garnish


  • Season the chicken with S/P after you dice it up.
  • In a heavy pot or dutch oven, cook the butter, brown sugar, molasses and oil over med hi heat until the sugar dissolves into a syrup. Then add chicken and sauté until nicely browned.
  • Add garlic, onion, ginger, thyme, pepper flakes, ketchup, lime zest, fish sauce, carrots and potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is softened. If it starts to stick or get too brown, add a little stock.
  • Once the onions are soft, add tomatoes, coconut cream and as much stock as you like. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about half an hour, until the potatoes and carrots are cooked through.
  • When done, take off the heat and add the lime juice. Adjust S/P.
  • Serve with scallions and cilantro on top and a lime wedge.


You can serve this with rice if you want it to be a heartier meal. 
Tostones (fried ripe plantains) would be great with this as well. 
To make in a crockpot: simply sauté the chicken in the syrup (first five ingredients), then add all the rest (except lime juice and garnish) to a crockpot and cook on HI for 4-5 hrs until the potatoes and carrots are done. Add lime juice at the end to avoid bitterness.