It's not easy to get an AOL account in 2015
I’m not one of the 2.1 million Americans who still pays for AOL to give them a dial-up connection to the Internet. The majority of these folks either live in rural areas without easy broadband access (I live in Denver), or are probably just too old to know how much better things can be. Working with the latter theory, I figured my neighbors, who are significantly older than I am (I'm in my 30s, and they are... not), would have one. No dice. But then my other neighbor came through!
So, I signed up for AOL... with the desktop software I downloaded on a broadband connection. How the hell do people on dial-up do this if they don't have Internet yet?
In exchange for my credit card info, I was granted a free month's trial (free trials are still very much a thing, except now that free CD with 10,000 free hours is outdated. The irony!). I got a local access number and plugged in my slick 56.6K USB modem. I was on my way to getting that sweet, sweet Internet from 1995.
Except the modem (which cost $50 at Best Buy) didn't work the first few times I tried it. So I called tech support, and the rep helped me out. “How many people call to get their modem fixed?” I asked for good measure. "A lot of people," he said.