Two Friends Plus 217,000 Text Messages Equals $26,000 Bill

Essentially, his phone was inoperable. His wife, Julie, found it funny at first, but quickly got frustrated.

"She wasn't able to call me on this phone at all," Andes said. "It would go straight to voicemail if she tried to call."

Klinger, who has AT&T and didn't get billed extra, was always looking for an electrical outlet.

"Wherever you go, you make sure you have your charger with you," Klinger said.

They also had to ignore legitimate texts from friends and family.

"I'm sure other texts came in," Klinger said. "It just got to the point where you would let the inbox fill up and then delete."

"For the first week or two, yes, I checked every one of them because I was worried I was missing something important. And then after a while, I just got to a point where I just cleared the inbox, they are going to keep on coming," Andes said. "I had warned my friends and family I wasn't going to be using my phone for a month."

There was one other life adjustment: Both men had to set their text-message notifications to silent.

If he hadn't made the switch, the barrage of messages "would have be really, really irritating," Klinger said.

So did their thumbs hurt?

"It wasn't that bad," Andes said. "A lot of people ask that question, but no."

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