College student Ruth Harnett figured she had run out of chances, after fumbling her Apple iPhone this year constantly but doing no harm.
Then, she dropped her iPhone while walking her roommates beagle last week, shattering the glass face on a downtown Columbia street. I drop it almost every day, but this was major, Harnett said.
It seems that South Carolinians have a bit of an iPhone handling problem.
The Palmetto State is the nations fifth-clumsiest with iPhones, according to a report this month by Californias SquareTrade, which sells extended warranties for electronics.
About 1-in-4 South Carolinians who buy a warranty from the company are expected to submit a claim over the next two years. The national norm is 1-in-5 based on recent data, SquareTrade chief marketing officer Ty Shay said.
Recent SquareTrade claims in South Carolina included a police officer who dropped an iPhone in a cup while serving an arrest warrant, a woman who doused her iPhone after spilling coffee in her purse, a shopper whose iPhone slid out of her purse into a Wal-Mart toilet and a driver whose iPhone was crunched by an automated power seat after falling out of a jacket pocket.
But random acts of klutziness are not the only reasons that South Carolinians earned a prominent spot on the list.
Half of the top six states with the highest percentages of claims are in the South. Mississippi is first, while Georgia is sixth.
The regions pleasant climate puts people outside more frequently, Shay said.
More of a chance for the phone to slip out of your hand, said Shay, whose company charges $99 for a two-year iPhone warranty that covers all mishaps .
In the Midlands, iPhone users are known for dropping their phones in the regions lakes and rivers as well as the ocean during weekend beach trips, the operators of Columbia-based SmartPhone Medic said.
On Mondays, we get a lot of water, said Robby Reaser, the companys chief technical officer.
SmartPhone Medic also sees a lot of cracked glass from iPhone owners who have dropped their gadgets after removing their protective cases to show them off.
Kids also are culprits in smartphone mishaps as is overconfidence in the protection offered by cases that dont hold up when people fling their iPhones around. Replacing the glass front of an iPhone costs $139.
The case makes them feel like Superman, said Reaser, who founded the three-year-old company with Demetril ONeal and Cubby Culbertson. Its not always that way.
While not a klutzy move, exposing the iPhone to the steam from a shower is not good for its circuitry, Reaser said.
Even a little moisture, say from dabs of water and sweat or constant exposure to the regions humidity, can take a toll on speakers, and microphone and earphone connectors. SmartPhone Medic will do tuneups starting at $39.
Business is good enough for SmartPhone Medic to open a store at the Village at Sandhill in June and another location on Killian Road in October.
In a new partnership with Moes Southwest Grill founder Martin Sprock and marketing executive Chuck Morrison, SmartPhone Medic plans to enter Charlotte early next year. It also is looking for expansion opportunities nationwide.
Perhaps a location will open in Kentucky, where Harnett is heading to school.
Im looking to get a better case, she said after her dog-walk drop. And I will try to be more careful.