The plot thickens…
Google has a limit of 25,000 contacts per account. And while I only have 179 contacts in my address book, there is an additional “Other Contacts” address book that GMail uses to store anybody you have ever had a conversation on Gmail with. After being a loyal Gmail user for 10+ years, this had filled up my quota something good.
So now, when my Android phone has a new contact that I added, and syncs with my Google account, it silently drops any new address book entry in favor of the existing 25K junk addresses. Silently, during a background synchronization.
For reasons beyond my ken, 22K of these contacts were for “Ticketmaster Custoemr Support”. There is no way that I have had this many interactions with Ticketmaster in my life, so I think there must be some additional error in Google’s contact storage.
TL;DR: Android suffers terribly from being ties to a Google account. I would buy a better phone today if there was one, and I am more sad than ever about the Microsoft takeover of Nokia.