Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I'm not an early adopter but I've always wanted to be. I like my technology simple. Easy to use. I believe it should improve life, not serve as a puzzle to figure out. Those reasons alone are enough to like Apple products. Major street-cred is an added bonus.

Naturally I greatly anticipated the chance to pre-order the new iphone this afternoon. This was my chance to be one of the first of my friends to have one. I would be the kid on the first day back from Christmas break with the bicycle or Sega Genesis. My ship had come in.

But after a conversation with an AT&T rep revealed that I was still under a contract and therefore not eligible for the promotional price, my plans began to crumble. I finally got through to another rep late this evening to sort through my options. My plan? It was quite simple. I was going to tell AT&T how dumb they were.

You're with me, right? What kind of company favors new customers over loyal ones who have used their service for nearly 7 years? I was going to explain to them that this hurt their business. Why would I pay double for a phone that someone with another carrier could get at the promotional price? In the end, all I wanted was to give them more of my money. That seemed fair enough.

There was so much static when the rep picked up the phone that I could barely hear him. It sounded like I was talking to Charlie Brown's teacher. The poor reception frustrated him too. At one point he asked if I had another phone he could call me on. Like a hotel phone, he said. No, I replied, this AT&T phone is my only phone. We hung up. He called back. The line was clear.

I honestly didn't know how the conversation would go. I have been somewhat notorious for being hard on customer service people. Once, for a week, I made it my goal to annoy as many people who worked for Delta as possible. Once I yelled at a 16 year old movie theater employee because a projector broke. I am a terrible person.

It's not that I am a jerk but I value customer service. Okay, maybe I am a little bit of a jerk.

This time around, I made it my goal to talk cordially. I wouldn't insult him. I would lay out my complaint calmly, logically, and look for answers that helped both sides. This would be my new hobby.

He was surprisingly helpful and understood my concern. He agreed with me on all of my points. He checked with his supervisor, one of my favorite techniques, without my asking. We hung up politely. I was satisfied with his assistance.

The answer was no. I didn't get the phone. My contract isn't up until October. It looks like I'll wait until then. But I can wait. It is just a phone. Can I really get worked up over video chat when 1/6th of the planet doesn't have clean drinking water? This was a line I used tonight, mostly as a sympathy play, but upon reflection it is 100% true.

So, I'll wait. I can be patient. My mind can be sharper than my emotions. After all, I got a good head start tonight.

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