June 21, 2004

New Cell Phone…Oy!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:50 pm

I stopped by the Verizon Wireless store today, because my cell phone was not charging. Over the past several weeks, it had become a “jiggle-the-wire” kind of thing, which always spells trouble, and always suggests either a phone problem or a charger problem. Jiggling wasn’t working any more. It was, therefore. time. In my heart of hearts, I knew that I would end up being gang raped by Verizon folks with a new phone, but there was still hope, no?

When I explained my problem to the young lady behind the counter, she directed me to the “Technical Support Desk.” Fortunately, I had beaten the crowds, and the technical support fellow took care of me right away. He plugged my charger into an outlet and my phone into the charger, and then pushed a bunch of buttons.

“There is something wrong with the charging port,” he said. “What is your cell phone number?” I gave it to him, and he clickety-clacked away on his terminal. “What are the last four digits of your social security number?” I gave him that information as well, wondering whether there are people out there masquerading as cell phone owners and pulling the “Broken Charging Port Scam” and wondering exactly how that would work.

He looked at his screen for a moment, and then looked up and said, “You have a one hundred dollar credit” (apparently from renewing my last contract, or some such thing), and he said, “I suggest that you get a new phone. It’s not worth getting this one fixed.”

“How much would it cost to fix this one,” I asked with the naiveté of a ten year old.

“Fifty-three dollars, plus tax,” was the answer.

“OK, I’ll look,” I said, knowing that my fate had been sealed.

I went back to the sales folks, wondering whether Technical Service Guy had already shot them an instant message, or otherwise sent them the secret signal indicating that he had sent another sorry ass their way.

Then, I was confronted with a dizzying array of cell phones. Here’s the thing. Who really does any advance shopping for a cell phone? I certainly do not. To me, cell phones are somewhat akin to shoelaces. I only think about them when they break and I need to replace them. I knew right away that I needed help.

The very gracious sales lady answered the call. After I explained that I didn’t need text this or that, I didn’t want to take pictures with the thing, and “no,” I won’t be needing the one with the electric asswipes, she showed me a few “basic phones.” I wanted one that made and received phone calls and that stored some phone numbers.

Five minutes later, I had selected a tiny model (small is good, because I wear it while walking in the mornings) with a screen in brilliant color and numbers on the display that I will be able to read after a couple cocktails. It seemed just about right. I thought I was finished.

“Would you like the accessory pack, sir? Your credit does not apply to the rebate or to accessories.” I figure she must practice saying that real fast, because, before I could say, “Rebate? Accessory pack? What’s in the accessory pack?” she said, “Leather case, car charger and a headset.” She was definitely good, because I lamely shook my head and said, “sure.”

I am now the proud owner of a little, tiny, living-color cell phone, an “accessory pack,” and an instruction manual, only slightly less thick than the local phone directory.

So, I will spend the balance of this evening, and God knows how much time tomorrow, wading through the manual trying to figure out how to make and receive phone calls and change the ringer so that it sounds more like a farookin’ phone than a Mr. Softee truck.

Oh, yeah. If I say this as fast as the lady did, maybe it will make sense. I actually paid nothing for the phone (after I do all the shit necessary to get my rebate), and I only paid $50.00 for the “accessory pack,” which I figure is really worth about ten bucks.

It’s still better than getting the old one fixed for $53…… I think.

Humor me.

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