A few weeks ago I visited my local Sprint store to reconnect my supa-dupa cellphone. I'd been cut off because I exceeded my $250 monthly maximum. Curious, since you'd think they'd be happy to get more money from me. Cessation of service means drastically fewer calls (read: zero) and thus no more income from yours truly. Most importantly, I rely on my phone for that last minute audition or booking call, when there's only a brief window in which to accept the appointment. Losing my service means losing money. So why can't they just bill me for the amount and keep the service going? My friendly service agent John couldn't answer. He'd need to soon, to quell the tsunami of rage building within me. There was more...
"Why can't my phone send SMS's?"
"That phone isn't SMS enabled, Sir," he replied with a smile.
"Really? I've been using cellphones in Africa for 10 years and ALL my phones could send SMS. Are you telling me that in the USA in 2004 you're selling cellphones that take pictures but can't even send an SMS?!"
"Well we could upgrade you and you could have a new phone for just $50," he offered.
"And how much would it be for a new customer, John?"
"Hmmm. Now, I can take my number to any other service provider, right?"
"So give me one good reason I should stay with Sprint"
"Come on, John, you HAVE to be able to give me ONE reason to stay with you guys."
Another smile. Then there was a moment. THE moment. One of those moments. You know- where you have the option of beating someone to a bubbling red mess their mother would blissfully feed the dog before she recognised it as her spawn, or of simply walking away.
I walked away. And then returned today to vomit on Asha who, although cute, was unable to tell me why my phone had been cut off again, when my online account reflected that I hadn't exceeded anything. Looking on her "system" (a loose term) she informed me that I had gone over my minutes AND the $250 maximum.
ME: Then why does your website say I haven't? What use is that?
HER: Well, the site is only updated when your bill goes out.
ME: Well, what good is the service then? It's redundant!
HER: We don't charge you for it. It's a free service.
ME: And you SHOULDN'T charge me for a service where I'm going to PAY MY BILL ANYWAY!
HER: I don't design the website, Sir.
Yeah, and I'm not a hitman, but I can presently see a dozen ways to mutilate you with the stationery items lying within arm's reach.
ME: And I'm due an upgrade. Apparently I get $150 rebate on selected phones.
HER: It's $150 rebate on all phones, Sir.
ME: But the website says it's only on selected phones.
HER: No, it's all phones. Do you know for a fact you're due for an upgrade?
ME: Well, that's what your website says, but hey- seeing as the web doesn't tell the truth and you do, I guess YOU would know.
I paid my bill and left. But as I held the pen to sign my credit card receipt, I did have a moment. That moment. The moment where I saw her eyeballs skewered on a blue plastic Bic. Ah, Asha... Fond memories...