Well neighbors Pretty got up bright and early yesterday morning to drive me to the Verizon Help Center because I have been having technical issues with my cell phone for the past week. The Help Center/ Show Room is 15 minutes north of our new casita de Cardinal in West Columbia. Normally I could have made that trip myself but our Dodge Dakota pickup truck has more issues than my cell phone so we are a one-car family this month.
We arrived at 10:08. I know the exact time because the young man who greeted us asked us to have a seat on a small bench in the extremely large, mostly empty show room. He then sent me a text as soon as we sat down. The text said, thank you for waiting…there is one person ahead of you.
When I looked back at the text later, I saw that it had been sent at 10:08.
I found it odd to receive a text from someone who was standing less than 15 feet away from me, but actually the text later proved invaluable in establishing my timeline for the visit.
Pretty and I chatted while we waited, and at 10:28 a.m. I received a second text from the friendly greeter with the encouraging information that someone would be with me momentarily which was good since I had a doctor’s appointment downtown at 11:40 and was beginning to experience a slight nagging notion in the back of my mind that this visit to the Verizon Wireless store had been poorly planned.
The store was now filled with customers who milled around with everyone’s cell phones being dinged with text messages from the same enthusiastic greeter about their place in line for the next available customer service person. No one talked via the antiquated mode of chatting out loud to one another – just text messages.
At any rate, shortly after the second text message I was approached by an attractive middle-aged woman with long flowing blonde hair who asked us to join her at her section of the counter and then said with a pleasant smile, how could she help us today?
I laid my cell phone on the counter in front of her and said I had two problems that I needed help with: (1) I couldn’t receive group text messages and (2) I could no longer send my pictures from my cell phone to my computer. Thank you for helping, I added with an equally pleasant expression on my face.
The woman beamed with good will as she picked up my phone and looked at it. Oh my god were the first words out of her mouth as the smile turned to a frown, and I didn’t think that was a good sign. I heard Pretty give a small groan as she turned away from us to stare at the new cell phone accessories in the show room.
Oh my god, she said again. I’ve never seen this cell phone brand – where did you buy this phone?
At your store, I said.
Really? she said with an expression that translated I don’t believe you for a minute. I’ve never even heard of a phone called an HTC, she continued.
She looked at me now with more than a trace of annoyance and began to punch buttons on my phone, looking back periodically to scroll down her own cell phone which was clearly superior to mine. She squinted her eyes as she said I don’t know how you ever see anything on a phone with a screen this small. She sighed…and turned my phone upside down as if to get a better view.
Oh my god, she kept saying over and over. I felt nauseous. I didn’t like the road we were on for sure. I felt our newly formed relationship of happiness and congeniality was about to be dissolved before it really got going.
After her head shaking went on for several minutes with more oh my gods, she asked me if I had insurance on the phone.
Probably not, I said. This was clearly not the answer she hoped for because her lips formed a tight thin line and her eyes squinted to mere slits with the eyeballs barely visible.
You should always buy insurance she said with a hard tone. It’s the only way you can return this phone and get a new one.
I don’t want a new phone, I said in a louder voice. I want someone to fix this one. I now understood our relationship was in real trouble. We had a failure to communicate – probably because we weren’t using text messages.
Pretty spoke up at this point in the exchange and asked if I was eligible for an upgrade on our plan? The woman scrolled through her superior phone and shook her head. Not until February of 2018.
By now my anxiety level had reached 10 on a scale of 1 to 10.
Time was ticking away; Pretty took control (as she is prone to do) and said we have to go. With that the Help Center woman began to protest and said I’m not finished with you yet to which Pretty replied, oh yes you are and picked up my phone. We could feel her disapproval for us as customers while the smiling greeter wasn’t so happy to see us leave as he was when we arrived an hour earlier. I wondered if I should text him goodbye.
We raced home so that Pretty could drop me off and go on her merry way to her antique empire activities and our housekeeper/best friend Carmen could drive me to the doctor’s appointment which I was close to missing at this moment. Perilously close.
As Fate would have it, Carmen discovered she had locked her keys in the car she left running so that it would be cool when we got in it. Car running. Keys inside. Doors locked. No extra keys with her.
Needless to say, the doctor’s appointment had to be rescheduled for today with a few chuckles from the office manager when she heard the lost keys story. That’s a good one she said. Hilarious I agreed.
AAA came an hour later to unlock Carmen’s car door, and the car miraculously continued to perform flawlessly which was also good because she had to drive me back to the Verizon Wireless store instead of the doctor’s office.
All of my contacts and pictures in my cell phone were gone…as in GONE, baby gone as was any semblance of good will on my part which must have been apparent to the cheerful greeter when I returned for my second visit early yesterday afternoon. The woman with the long blonde hair flew over to personally escort me to the rear of the show room. No text messages necessary.
Two hours later Carmen and I left the store with my antiquated cell phone in hand, my contacts restored, and most of my pictures retrieved. I’m still hoping to find the ones I lost somewhere over the rainbow in my cloud, whatever that is and wherever it may be. Oh my god.
Following the harrowing adventures at the cell phone Help Center, I treated Carmen and myself to chocolate milk shakes at Rush’s. My mood improved immediately as we sat in the front seat of her car and texted each other about how much we loved the delicious milk shakes.
Ding, ding. Yummy.