Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Cellphone irritations

I've been in a multi-month wrangle with Verizon Wireless. I needed a new phone because I fried the last one's battery and blackened its display trying to make calls from Vermont (Tip for cellphone health: When your phone burns your ear, hang up!) last summer. It still works but gasps for a recharge almost immediately, reinforcing my phone phobia.

Cellphone coverage is bad here. Neighbors routinely return several phones before they find one that works. Good luck, though, going in and asking for "the one the Cutler family got." Models are rotated so frequently, it will no doubt be long gone.

I went to the kiosk at Circuit City about five times. The first four times there were other customers, and since each customer takes more than half an hour, I couldn't stay.

The fifth time I went in, I managed to secure an idle salesboy. The model he recommended was similar to the one I bought for Melina last year for $29.99 - this new one (which looked just like the old one) was twice the price. "Why is it twice the price now?" "I don't know -- it's awfully old by now."

Glancing warily at the expensive ones with space-age features: "Well, which other model has good reception?" "None of them."

I asked why the Verizon website doesn't give information on reception. The guy looked at me pityingly and said they can't admit some phones have better reception, it would offend the other vendors!

He looked at my old phone, which was considered humble and lacking in bells-and-whistles even when I got it three or four years ago, and said, "Actually the one you have already has the best reception of all."

I gave up. But this past Monday, with Zed's moral support, I made a sixth trip.

At this moment they are offering a recommendable "tri-mode" which I got and which seems to be working.

However, it has a 146-page owner's manual (six chapters) and requires multiple combinations of button-presses to function in any of its modes. This manual makes me tired and irritable.

Blame my flu for this febrile, bourgeois whining. I hope to be back to more worthy subjects soon.

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At 7:35 PM, Anonymous L said...

Good luck to you! My own cell phone story is too painful for me to recount. Short version is over 10 trips into the store, and countless hours on the phone recounting the same problems to different support personel. AT&T Wireless/Cingular is my personal nemisis.


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