October 21, 2005
Why I currently don't have a cell phone.
I have run out of options in terms of getting a new cell phone. If anyone can offer me assistance, I'm all ears.
About two months ago, I lost my cell phone. I didn’t have insurance, which I saw as a rip-off because I’d pay $5/month for it, then $30 for the refurbished phone they send you when you lose yours, which brand new costs about $50.
My first try at getting a cell phone was through ebay. I need to have a phone with internet and so decided to get the crackberry as it seemed functional, easy to use and the right size for someone who has a habit of losing phones. I’ve bought things on ebay many times previously and this was my first bad ebay experience. They took two weeks to ship it, and when it arrived, it was broken and wouldn’t hold a charge. I sent it back for a refund.
My second try was the Nextel store, one of only two in Manhattan, near my house. I came into the store and said ‘I’ve lost my phone and I’d like to buy another one, please.’ ‘Sure’, said the salesgirl, ‘what would you like?’ ‘A blackberry’, I said. ‘Oh, we’re sold out of that’. ‘Ok, how about this phone with internet?’ ‘No, we’re sold out of that one too.’ ‘So, which do you have?’ ‘We have this one’, she said pointing to a bulky analog phone that had cobwebs blocking it from my reach. ‘Uh, no thanks’.
They told me they’d have blackberries in a couple of days. I stopped in every day, but no blackberries had arrived. I came by yesterday and was told that they would be getting them in today. Except, of course, I’ve heard that one before. The cost of the blackberry that they don’t have is $199.
Nextel had recently merged with Sprint so I went to a Sprint store to see about getting one of their phones. ‘No,’ they said. Basically, the merger has concluded in no change to the company beyond the way they answer their phones ‘Sprint with Nextel, how may I help you?’ If I wanted to get a Sprint phone, I’d have to switch over to Sprint, get a credit check, and move my cell phone number. It sounded like it would take more time than the 20 minutes I had.
My mom suggested I call a Nextel store in Brooklyn and see if they have the blackberry in stock. I called and it rang and rang and no one answered. They must be really busy, I reasoned.
When we got to the store, it was about 100 square feet and totally empty. A girl was doing a crossword puzzle and seemed kind of put out that she had to fuss with finding me a phone. They did have blackberries in stock—only $480! ‘But why is it so much cheaper in Manhattan?’ I asked. ‘They probably don’t know that you already have a contract.’ This worried me. I had told them I lost my phone but we never discussed my contract. ‘Ok, what about if I extend my contract?’ ‘No,’ she said. ‘Your contract doesn’t expire until March and we can’t extend it until January.
I gave a last ditch effort to PC Richard&Son in Brooklyn. They didn’t have a blackberry but they had a really fancy, internet ready phone with camera that ran $229. ‘I’ll take it’, I said, my patience nearly spent. ‘Oh, well, because you have a contract, it’ll be an extra $75.’ ‘I don’t care, I’ll take it.’ The man pulled out the paperwork and said ‘oh and Nextel will want you to extend your contract for one or two more years at an additional cost of $80.’
Did this man just tell me I’m going to pay a ‘not a new contract’ surcharge of $75 AND a ‘new contract’ surcharge of $80?!?
My mom saw the look in my eye and slowly walked me out of the store. ‘Just hang on to my phone for another day or two until you find someone to sell you a phone.’
Seriously, if I didn’t have the most amazing, calming, wonderful mom ever, there would be a lot of really unhappy cell phone sales people in both Brooklyn and Manhattan.
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