I’d like to tell you a little story… A semi-tragic love story, if you will, between myself & a little mobile phone service provider named Sprint. It’s a long story, so how about we start up the tunes now, let you settle in, and snuggle up for a, hopefully, good read. Push play and let’s begin our story as…
Baby, Don’t Forget My Number!!! The Story & Mixtape Of The Trials & Tribulations Of Broken Phones & A Broken Heart…
Sprint & I have been in a relationship since I first found out that work offered (at the time) a small little discount for using them. They had a little phone called the LG Rumor that had a little qwerty keyboard that popped out, allowing me to keep contact with all the text-heavy people in my life. Unlimited text & a minimum number minutes was all I needed and for 2 years, life was good.
Little by little, the smartphone market grew, iPhones and Androids became prolific and with the holidays rolling around and my ability to “upgrade” with a re-signing of the contract, I figured it was time to hop on board the bandwagon, get me an app-able device, ramp up my social networkin’, and hop feet first into the mobile dynamoism of 2010. They had this sweet little phone that was relatively new & getting some pretty good reviews called the Palm Pre. I had read how awesome WebOS was but that the hardware felt a little on the cheap. Not enthused with trying out anything else of Sprint’s offerings and certainly not willing to jump to some AT&T or the pricey Verizon (Sprint’s everything plan is really the best deal around), I threw a tiny bit of caution in the wind and got a Pre.
I had my twitters, my face-em’ books, a pretty decent camera, some intertubal browserin’ capabilities, and a few other time-killers to boot. I didn’t (and don’t) need a billion stupid fart apps, the phone worked, it was compact, smooth, & honestly, WebOS is beautiful & clean.
And life was good. I even encouraged Baby to get one the next month!
Unfortunately, after about 3 months, the phone started having problems. First, it would occasionally get hot, randomly and a bit more often than a blue moon, but it wouldn’t cool down (even without using it) until it froze and I needed to remove the battery. A bit of a nuisance, but it was didn’t happen that often, so I persevered.
Then I started getting the “Too Many Cards” warning, even when no cards were running at all. A bit of a pain when all you want to do is open up the phone app to make a call and it says you can’t. A hard re-boot would usually clear it up, but given that it takes about 5 minutes to do that, waiting 5 minutes to call your Baby… not cool. But still, I’m a trooper, I hoped that a WebOS update would take care of this eventually.
Next…. the crackle. Suddenly and randomly, every phone call was filled with static sputtering, a crackling, something was shorting or something? Well, if I opened the keyboard when I made the call, it was fine so okay, as soon as I get a little free time I’ll head into Sprint and see if I can switch out or something. But, as you learn to work with what you got, a few weeks stroll by and I still haven’t bothered to go to Sprint (with our schedule, it’s a bit of a pain to get to it).
Finally and finally, a new issue, the phone start flashing on randomly. I’d sit the phone on my desk and watch it light up again and again. Not for notifications or anything, just randomly. This killed my battery and with us heading out to vacation to Canada, this wouldn’t do! I needed to be available if work or family needed to contact me! So… it was time to make the time and go to Sprint!
* DAY 1: JUNE 19, 2010 *
Lucky me! There’s a “satellite” office not too far from my house! So, Saturday, June 19th when they opened, I was there. I went through the above story and after they examined the phone, they ordered a replacement that was going to be on Tuesday. Hooray!
* DAY 3: JUNE 22, 2010 *
Okay, they close at 6 on weekdays and I work until at least 6 outside of town, so a lunch time run was in order. Ugh, but okay. Need a good phone for the trip, it’s fine. So, Tuesday I run out to the car, fly down the 25 minute drive to the store, get the phone, and after they switch out all the bits and pieces to make it “mine”, they do a test drive and learn that you can’t hear anything when you make a call.
I asked for another one because I can’t very well go out of the country with a phone that you can’t call with, can I? They called a non-satellite store asking if they can give me another phone (you see… after 3 bad phones, you can switch out to a comparable phone BUT they don’t have permission in the satellite stores to do much, like switch out phones, or give you a Pre from the stock or whatever, little known fact), and after some very awkward fighting between the satellite store and the mall store, the satellite store hung up on the mall store handed me the non-functional phone and a fresh pair of headphone thingies (I hate those things), said “I’m sorry” and sent me on my way.
Angry & frustrated, I hopped in the car to head back to work, plugged the stupid headphone things in the phone to call Baby…. guess what? It wasn’t the earpiece that wasn’t working, the phone was sending any noise down the piped as the headset gave me nothing but silence as well. For the 25 minute drive back to work (keep in mind, I spent a good hour at the Sprint store, so now it’s a 2 hour lunch and me without the ability to call work and tell them what’s going on) I stewed.
I was met with some puzzling “where the hell were you?” looks when I got back, but they quickly backed down when they saw the “don’t mess with me” look on mine.
Great, though I REALLY needed to get back to work, it was instead, time to call Sprint. Called the 1-800 number explain the situation, and they were very helpful, ordering me another Palm Pre to be delivered the next day to my work.
* Day 4, June 23, 2010 *
Next day comes I track the package, and it’s been delivered yet as the day goes by, the mail guy never brings me my package… Huh. So, I make the trek across campus to the mail room, they search their system, telling me “Sorry, no package Aaron… If we see it, we’ll holler at you”.
I start to wonder if they shipped it to my house? I hoped not because 1) leaving packages in the open on my porch is dicey to begin with and 2) if UPS left a notice to pick it up (literally, a 45 minute drive during work hours to the UPS place), I’d be screwed. Fortunately, when I got home where the phone was shipped, it was sitting out on the porch waiting for me (or anyone really) to pick it up.
Called Sprint again, got it activated, and a couple days later, we were in Canada! YAY!
But wait. Something was off… I noticed that when I was on the phone, it sounded like I had bad reception. Well.. maybe I did, maybe I’m just being hyper sensitive? Turns out I wasn’t and as the trip went on, any phone call I got even Baby to me in the same room, was nothing but broken sounds. Sigh. As much as I loved WebOS, and even the design of the Pre, I…. I was done.
* Day 18: July 6, 2010 *
Learning my lesson from dealing with the satellite and with Baby needing a new Pre as well (the keyboard slider was not going back into place properly), we made the stop at Sprint over at Easton Town Center the Tuesday of our return, July 6th. We both turned in our phones and told us to come back in an hour. We did, they agreed the phones were no good, and since it was Baby’s 2nd phone, they ordered her a new one, and for me, I reminded them of what I was told about after 3 bad phones I could exchange it. They agreed and offered me a Palm Pixi or a Samsung Moment:
Now, first of all, the Pixi is not comparable. It has no wi-fi, is bigger, slower, and has a smaller screen. No way. The Moment seemed okay, but it was a brick of a phone! I said, “No, I want a better phone, I would like an Evo or even a Blackberry Bold. I’ll even pay the $50 extra “after rebate” dollars, even though they are both less expensive phones at regular price!
..or even renew my contract for 2 years starting that day to get one. No problem?
“Can’t do that…”
“We just can’t do that, we can give you a Moment or Pixi, or order you another Pre.”
“But I don’t want another Pre, the Pixi is not as good a phone, and I just don’t like the Moment!”
And I was sent on my way with a non-functioning Pre (again).
I called Sprint (again) and the man was very helpful, but unfortunately, even with an early 6 month advance on my next upgrade availability, they could only offer me a bold for $200 AFTER rebate and as for my current Pre? “Well, you can sell it on Craigslist or something and get a few bucks back that way.”
“But the phone doesn’t work.”
I decide I’m done. I want to cancel my contract. They tell me it would be $160 to do that. So…… in summary, my options, after renewing my contract to get into smartphone are:
a) take another Pre and hope the “4th times the charm”
b) put out $200 after rebate for a better phone
c) put out $160 and have no phone at all
d) take a phone I don’t want
I went with c) but, of course, customer representative can’t help me, so he sends me to Accounts where I’m then given a sob story about how the Accounts guy can’t even get “premium customer” or whatever status and he has a Pre and he’s gone through 4 already and his commute is an hour each way and blah blah blah, and I’ll tell you what Mr. Tsuru, I’ll give you a month free if you stay with us, and I do recommend the Moment, it’s a better phone, it really is, I wish I had the Moment!
Frustrated and worn out after I don’t know how many hours of dealing with this shit, I say, “Fine… You win. I’ll take the Moment, okay? I can’t deal with this anymore, I’m either in a crappy phone, out $200, out $160, or in a phone I don’t want? I’ll take the phone I don’t want…”
Great. So, they set me up, all I got to do is go BACK to the Sprint store to pick up the phone tomorrow. They could ship it to my house (apparently not too my work, even though when I got the 2nd replacement Pre they said they could ship it to work), but I didn’t want to risk it. I’ll go to the store.
* Day 19, July 7, 2010 *
I start reading up on the Android phone, and yeah, the phone seems big, but it’s got some decent reviews and people seem to like Android. I start to get excited about the phone, my only complaint about WebOS was the lack of camera apps and Android has a bunch, all will be fine. Life gave me some stupid lemons, I’m getting some vodka and making some Hard Lemonade dammit!! WOOT! I had a few minutes that morning so I call the 1-800 again, juuuuust to make sure when I get to Sprint they’ll have the phone all ready to go. I even schedule an appointment for 11:45am, I can’t do another 2 hour Sprint adventure.
I show up to the Sprint store, again taking my lunch break to get this saga over with, and say, “I’m here for my Samsung Moment please!”. I hand the guy my slip from the day before. The man laughs, “heh heh heh… they told you what? No, no… We have to order you a Moment, the best we can do is tomorrow.”
“Why? They said you had them and I can pick one up. You don’t have any in stock?”
“We do, but we can’t give you one of those as that’s from our inventory, we need to order you one.”
“Uh, why not just order one and replace the one in stock with it after you give me mine today?”
“Can’t do that… Sorry.”
“Okay, fine. When can it be here?”
“Tomorrow, after 5.”
Okay, this is okay, just breathe, one more day and this shit will be over. Baby & I will just come back, she can pick up her new phone, I can pick up mine, after work. Check done, right? One more day, T, you can do it.
INTERESTING NOTE: When they pulled my name up on their system, a pop-up came up warning the customer rep that there were 4 open tickets on me. Not that this had any bearing on making things easier. Maybe that’s why it was harder?
* Day 20, July 8, 2010 *
We get out of work relatively on time, get to the Sprint store by 7pm, Baby gets her new phone and guess what? Yep, they don’t have mine. They didn’t even order it. I’m pissed.
“We can have it here by Monday.”
“Monday??? Okay, this is ridiculous, really, just give me one from your stock, don’t you agree this is getting just silly?”
“Sorry, I can’t give one from stock, we can only order one.”
“Buy why? Just give me a Moment and let this be done already! Can’t you help me out? This is a 3 week thing now, can’t your manager help me out here?”
She goes back to tell the manager what’s going on, he comes out, looks me square in the face, “Sorry sir, we are going to have to order you one, best we can do is Monday.”
“Really? You can’t give me one from your stock?”
And here’s my favourite part, he tells me that he ALREADY DID SWITCHED OUT FROM INVENTORY THAT VERY MORNING to a woman with the same problem & — this is my favourite part — now he doesn’t have ANY MORE MOMENTS IN STOCK!? He says it with the straightest face possible, staring me right in the eyes, no blinking, no looking away, lots of concentration… a bit creepy actually. Even though the 1-800 Sprint, the dude before, and even the woman that was helping me before the manager came out either said or implied they did have phones, they are now out of stock. Oh my.
I laughed. It was comical at this point. We walk out with me shaking my head. That night, of course, I went around to Verizon & AT&T & whatever, getting ready to bail on Sprint. Just the act of internet window shopping cooled me off and I just relaxed, I was not going to let some stupid gadget take away from my precious weekend! And yeah, I went on to have a great weekend, still carrying around a non-functioning phone.
* Day 24, July 12, 2010 *
The weekend was wonderful. I tried to forget the past 24 days of annoyance that had passed and get excited — but not TOO excited, I mean, after all.. — about getting this Samsung Moment. We show up at the store, looks to be a pretty different staff than the ones from the week before. Nice, some fresh faces. Some guy pulls out the phone, turns it on, activates it, and we leave. Done.
All-in-all, 24 days, 4 phones, 6 visits to a Sprint store, about 6 or so phone calls to 1-800 Sprint people, somewhere between 8 – 10 hours “dealing with this”, and I was able to go home with a late-model Android phone. Now THERE’S some customer satisfaction, I’ll tell you!
So… what do I think of the Samsung Moment? It’s fine. It’s heavy, thick, but it’s pretty quick & I do love the camera apps (I’ve been going nutty with them on my Tumblr). I’m eligible for another upgrade come December, who knows what I’ll do then. But for now, as long as this phone works, I’m sitting tight, because the lesson here is…
You fight the big companies, the ones you are dependent on for something, like internet, electricity, or communication, and you will lose. Just bend over & take it like the prisoner you are… I just hope Baby’s 3rd Pre hangs in there!
* FIN *
P.S. This post is also the letter I sent to Sprint. Albeit, without the mixtape portion… If there is any updates, I’ll be sure to let you know! Cheers!