The new cellphone…..Volume 1. A long short story by me.
I swear this is true. Before I got out of the car, I thought, “You should take a pencil and paper. You know you will be writing about this.”
My cell phone is broken. The face is shattered so I know it’s going to be more expensive to get it fixed than it would be to buy a new phone. I go to Staples because there is a Verizon store inside and I’ve had pretty good luck with one of the geeksters in there. I go in and, of course, there is no employee in the Verizon area of the store. I go to ask the child at the cash register if there is a Verizon employee around. She holds up one finger, clicks a magic pendant that she is wearing around her neck and says ” Wayne, could you come to the Verizon area, please?” She then stares into space for about 90 seconds. I was going to see how long this would go on but she outlasted me. “Are you listening to something?” I ask. “No, I’m waiting for a response.” She then sees another Staples employee and says “Earl, could you help this customer with Verizon questions?” “I’m not on tech today” says Earl. “Where’s Wayne?” says cashier. “Wayne’s on break.” I say to the child “Ummm….never mind.” She looks at me questioningly. “Bad vibes. Thanks anyway.”
So I drive about 5 miles to a real Verizon store and it’s like they are giving stuff away. I walk in and an employee with a computer notebook asks me for my phone number. Before I give it up I ask if all of these people are in line ahead of me. She tells me yes but says that almost everyone is in a group of 2, 3, maybe 4 people and that it won’t be long. I need a phone so I give her my phone number. She types it into her notebook and asks me if my name is Robert like she just pulled off a 100 to 1 longshot. I thought about saying “No, my name is Sam” but I really wasn’t in a mood to fool around. I tell her “Yes” and she tells me to look around and someone will be with me shortly. So I look around at about 40 cell phones that all have different features and options and prices. It’s been longer than 2 years so I’m thinking I should be able to get a new phone pretty cheap if I re-up with Verizon for 2 more years. It’s ok with me. I have not had any real complaints with my phone or their service.
After about 20 minutes, a guy comes up to me, tells me his name is Steve and asks if he can help me. I show him my phone and tell him it’s broken. He agrees since the phone won’t, you know, do anything. He tells me what I already know. It’s too expensive to fix it and I didn’t buy insurance so he can’t just send it out for replacement. He says it’s been over 2 years so I am entitled to a free upgrade if I re-up. He shows me that the newest and greatest phones in the world are available but I have to pay, like, $200, if I want one of those. A phone that’s very similar to mine, though, will only be about $50. Now we are getting somewhere. The bad news is that they probably won’t be able to transfer the data from my old phone because the screen has to work for them to type in the settings on my phone when they connect it to the machine that does the transferring of data. We speak geek-speak for awhile until I can’t take it anymore and I give in. I’ll take the $50 phone, re-up and we’ll be able to put the memory chip from my old phone into my new phone. There’s a 50% chance that the data that I want from my old phone, which is, like, pictures, “to-do” lists, contacts, etc. will be on my new phone. OK. Fine. That’s what we’ll do. Steve goes to get the phone and he is gone a long time which always means trouble. Here he comes. “We don’t have any phones of that model and we won’t be getting any more. ” I nod my head. Somehow, I knew this was coming. He tells me the good news is that I can order it from Verizon Online and it will be free. He also shows me how to take the memory chip out of my old phone and put it in the new one. “OK. That’s what I’ll do. Thanks a lot.”
I go home and watch a VERY painful Philadelphia Eagles football loss. This is just a side story. The Eagles scored a touchdown on a blocked punt return, a full punt return and an interception. In the history of the NFL, teams that did that had 71 wins and 1 loss. Well, it’s 71-2 now.
After the game, I go onto Verizonwireless.com. It takes 25 minutes to get logged in because I don’t know my password and I have to jump through 12 hoops to get a new one. I finally get logged in and there’s a bunch of phones but none like the one that the guy in the store told me that I could get for free. There’s plenty of the $200 – $250 phones. I see the button that says “Chat with a live customer representative.” I do it. By the way, do you know the reason that the button is there? Sure you do ! It’s because no one can ever get anywhere on a web site. I get a chat session going with “Hannah” who I assume is really Sabritha in India. This doesn’t mean anything. It’s just that I was an IT guy and I know how things work. She was very helpful. She told me that the guy in the store lied to me but she could get me the phone for $50. Cool. “Let’s do it.” “OK,” she says, “just tell me your billing password.”
“Umm, billing password?”
“Yes, it’s usually 4 or 5 characters.”
I give her a guess but it’s wrong. After 2 more guesses, I tell her I guess I just don’t know it. She tells me that she can’t order it for me then but if I just add it to my cart it will be shipped out right away. OK, fine. Wait a minute.
“If I can add it to my cart, does that mean it should be available if I go to a different Verizon store?”
OK. “Thanks. I’ll go to a different Verizon store tomorrow.”
“OK, sir.” Is there anything else I can help with?”
“No, thank you. You’ve been very helpful. Bye.”
After the chat session ended, just for giggles, I searched on the website for the model we were discussing for $50. Yep. There it is …… for $50……”Out of stock.”
I’ll be going to a different Verizon store tomorrow and maybe I’ll be going to an A.T.& T. store, too. I can hardly wait. I would gladly pay someone to do this for me but Verizon, I think, gets a kick out of torturing me personally because they won’t talk to anyone else about my account.
I wonder why the days go by so fast and yet nothing seems to get done.