I bought a new cell phone today. I actually had this day on my calendar because I have been waiting for my renewal date to come around. See I changed from AT&T to Alltel about 3 years ago. When I left AT&T it was because of bad customer service and the fact that every time I made a call, I would inevitably be cut off half way thru my call. It was very funny to me that AT&T (aka At&t, at&t, and Cingular) had commercials out talking about how they had the least dropped calls of any carrier and almost EVERY call I made would be dropped.
Anyway, I finally had enough and decided that Alltel offered me My Circle, which sounded like the best thing EVER. So I called AT&T, paid off my contract early (I still don’t know how they get away with charging us to leave because their service is inferior) and went to my local Alltel store. I walked out with a cool phone, a new number and a renewed sense of being. OK, maybe the last one is a bit of a stretch, but I did honestly feel like going to an AT&T store and walking in a telling them “look bitches, I’m with Alltel now and the rest of you thinking about signing up with AT&T should go there to”. But I didn’t.
All was well until about 11 months later when my phone started taking on a life of it’s own. It would just turn itsself off for no reason. Then the screen started going black when I wasn’t using the phone. I would slide the cover open and closed and it would light up again. Then I would slide the cover open and closed a few dozen times and it would light up again. Then it finally wouldn’t light up at all.
Now you can imagine the frustration, no, that’s not right, the FEAR that would come over you when you realize that you have no way of calling anyone because you don’t remember anyone’s phone numbers. All my contacts are IN MY PHONE. I never wrote them down anywhere else. What am I going to do? Well what I did was drop by the Alltel store near my home and tell the guy “dammit man, stop standing the smiling and do something! Save my phone!”
Well he told me he couldn’t save it because I didn’t buy the insurance on it. Why would I buy insurance on something that didn’t cost me anything to get in the first place? Well now I know why. I was informed that Alltel would require me to purchase a new phone at full retail value (where they come up with that number is beyond me) or I could upgrade to a Blackberry or another smartphone and pay the discounted price. Well I had always wanted a Blackberry but would never pay the high price so this seemed like a match made in heaven. I paid the $300 discounted price (yeah right) and left the store with a stride that told the “common folk” that I was a man to be reckoned with.
I was a serious businessman now. I had a blackberry. That meant when I pulled my smartphone out at restaurants and business meetings, people would shake in their boots. They would know that they could never match my business savvy and they would be forced to back down at once and give in to my demands, no matter how strange. LOL.
Well what Alltel failed to tell me was that with this blackberry and the $300 price tag and the $100 a month charge for the SmartChoice plan was the fact that you CANNOT ever change your plan until your 2 year contract runs out. Even though Alltel has “change your plan whenever you want without signing a new contract” posters all over their stores. They even have a brochure that states this fact. But it doesn’t say “EXCEPT YOU BLACKBERRY PEOPLE”. So after I grew tired of my stupid old Blackberry and wanted a regular phone again I called customer service and told them my dilemma. They said “no problem, just pop in and pick out a new phone”. So I did. Then my new phone wouldn’t let me send picture messages and my bill was twice what it used to be.
After a discussion with my new “friend” at the Alltel store I find out that I can’t “step down” in plans and can’t buy a new smartphone without purchasing it at regular price. Whatever. So I finally wait. and wait. and wait.
Until TODAY. The day when my two year contract ends and I can go get a new phone. So I did. I was there when they opened the doors and told them exactly what phone I wanted, what plan I wanted and told them to snap to it. So I get my new phone and start looking at it’s features. Text messaging, check. Picture messaging, check. Voice commands, WAIT! You mean I can simply tell it who to dial like I can in my car? Sync is great by the way but that’s another post.
So I press the voice command button and it states “please say your command”. I tell it “call voicemail”. It says “did you say call 0 0 8 5 4 2?” Memories of the Aveda salon run thru my mind and I say “no”. It again tells me to say my command and I again repeat “Call voicemail”. It this time states “did you say call headquarters?” “ummm, NO”
“I’m sorry, I cannot understand your command, please be sure to speak in clearly and in English”. I give up. I will never use this feature again. And now my Blackberry isn’t looking so bad. At least it never insulted me.