I knew I should not have gone to the Verizon store. I have no right being there at any time. The bright faced sales people and technicians have no time for bunglers and new users of their latest marvels. I could not stop myself from, at least taking a look at these new phones- droids, smart phones, etc.
My wife, Carol, had recently switched from our regular dumb phones to an Iphone and seemed to be having a ball. She plays games with our grandchildren and friends and is able to get her email and the latest news instantaneously. I became intrigued. What I did not know, is that she has spent days on the phone getting all of these wonders aligned with her ability to push tiny little letters and numbers.
As I approached the young man behind the counter, I knew that was predestined to buy one of these contraptions (whose name, I still don’t know after a week). The young man patiently explained what the various phones were and what their functionality was. It was all pretty glorious at the outset.
The first stumbling block is that we have a private server. We have been with this company since its inception in 1997. It has served us well and we know all of the people who own the place and even their children. Our email reflects our private provider and we have had no troubles with email or the internet that the company has not fixed in a jiffy.
When the young man tried to program in the server information, he was stumped. I tried to explain the usernames and passwords and he kind of looked at me as if I was speaking another language. We really did not get my email set up and I thought that I would be able to go it by calling Verizon. No such luck. All technicians had no success.
I watched carefully when the young man programmed my voice mail. Just press the voice mail icon and hold down the one and add the last four digits of your phone number. It worked in the store and did not work at home or anyplace else. After another phone call to Verizon, I finally got someone who knew what I was talking about and he walked my through it.
When I went back to the Verizon store for the third time, I was a bit more testy. After all, I had begun this computer stuff, online teaching and various other avant garde things at the beginning. I would not let this small rectangular do dad buffalo me. I was now determined to make all of the things work despite my fat fingers and lack of patience.
I waited at the desk while some other people bought specialized plasma tv’s that they could use as screens for their phone calls. I watched in horror as a 17 year old girl pretended to be about five while smooching her dad into getting her the newest phone model because she had smashed two other phones, “by accident.” The technician’s manner was always calm. All problems would be taken care of in time, just sign these small lettered documents.
Then it came my turn. I proffered my phone and said, “My email is not working and you also gave me some bum information about voicemail.” He did not show any emotion. He asked me for every conceivable piece of information about emails and passwords. I gave him everything that I had. After about 20 minutes, he admitted that he did not have a clue what was wrong. I told him that I had purchased the phone for the very simple reason that I wanted to have email and internet on my phone for my activities. I learned from lobbyists that the way to get instant info was to have an android or blackberry or smart phone.
I got no satisfaction. I went home in a funk and glared at the small rectangle hoping that it would disappear and I would have nothing more to do with it. I struggled with throwing it out the window and wasting the 79 bucks that I had spent on my “free” phone.
At 11:30 that night, I realized that I had one more out, my server company. I left a message on their answering service and appeared there the next morning. Ryan took my phone and said that it would not take him longer than a minute to fix it, and he did. I even found out what was wrong. He then showed me some other things that I could do and I was out of there in 15 minutes.
You know, don’t you, that there is no more getting a service manual with these things and that you either print it off the web or order it (same with my car). I guess they don’t think anyone over 21 will be using these phones.


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