Monday, September 1, 2008

Verizon store customer (lack of) service

I'm a guy. Shopping is not my thing, unless it's a place specializing in things that go bang. Even Cabela's gets on my nerves pretty quick.

On my short list of places I hate shopping....
  • Any Mall anyplace under heaven (notice 'mall' and 'evil' have the same number of letters?)
  • Any Wal-Mart or K-Mart, anywhere
  • The Verizon cell phone store
Today I had the opportunity to revisit just exactly why I despise the Verizon store and it's customer (lack of) service. I actually think Verizon stores are trying to rival Comcast for the 'most awful service ever' award.

This morning I received a cell call from my bestus buddy in the world. Five moments into the call, my battery died. This after charging all night as I always do. Now, the phone is only six months old, but it is unit number three on this two year contract stint. The other two also died of natural causes without warning. Before, the phones went belly up. This time, the six month old battery is toast.

Ok, it's time to get a new phone again. Since I am eligible for a 'new every two' replacement, I browsed the Verizon web sight to see what is available. This little beastie caught my eye, having the features I want. Most especially the water resistant deal and relatively rugged casing. Maybe, finally, a phone that will survive riding in my pocket instead of requiring a padded lock box.

The Verizon web site shows it as a free phone upgrade for me. Now thats cool!
But, being 'me', I want to hold this thing in my hand before buying it. That means the brick and morter store, forty five minutes away. Having been Verizoned before, I called ahead to make sure (a) they were open today, and (b) they would honor my 'new every two' contract.

Arriving at the store, I found the place empty but for me and six salescritters.
One pointed at a computer kiosk and told me to sign in. I looked around.... yup, only my bony old butt in the store, not exactly a rush of customers. I said "I hope I can fight my way through this crowd!" but I complied and signed in. By the time I was done, all but two of the salescritters had vanished.

After maybe five minutes, one of them calls my name in a bored tone... reading from a computer screen and never looking up. I called from where I was looking at the phones "I'm over here.... the only customer in the store.... here I am!".

Another few minutes pass... and nobody joins me at the phones. Seems I have to go to her at the desk.... verticlehood being too hard to deal with unless a crowbar is involved between her butt and the chair. She asked what I wanted, and I told her. She rechecked all my account data, then asked if I had a phone in mind. I pointed out the one I was interested in, and asked about features. She told me some, although most of what she said bore little resemblance to either the Verizon description, the manufacturers description, or even the actual phone in front of us. I aksed... er...... asked if the phone was free under plan, and then the fun began.

Nope.... she wanted a hundred bucks..... and could not reliably explain why.
The web site was wrong... the account information was wrong.... I looked it up wrong...... everything was wrong except her and the Verizon store. Hmm....... Lets have the manager over, shall we?

Relate the whole story to Mr. Manager child, who begins repeating the 'everything wrong but them' scenario.... so I pointed at the computer on the desk and said "Lets just look it up right now, shall we?". Uh...... NO..... that would not be a good plan........ they are not allowed to do that...... uh..... its the wrong phase of the moon...... uh...... portents are bad for that right now........I have to go weewee....

I walked to a computer they had set up, on the net, already on the Verizon site as a demo of connectivity. I went to my account, found the phone and the upgrade (still free), and called Manager child over.... By now there were other customers in the store. He could not seem to hear or see me (shame when the senses go away in one so young) so I called to him a little louder "Here it is! You were right! The Verizon web site IS $100 cheaper than shopping in this store! Thanks for helping me save money like that! I'll just go home and get it on-line, and save all that money! THANKS FOR POINTING THAT OUT!".

Then I logged out of my account and left, to come home and order my new phone.
Five minutes on-line and its ordered, no charge, and will be here in a few days.

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