Walking out of the place I was dazed, feeling like a deer caught in headlights and bowled over by a truck.
My mind was boggled, my nerves shot, my back aching from standing in one spot for almost two hours.
You might say I was spent – and I do mean spent to the tune of $149.99
I’d rather subject myself to getting my eyebrows waxed – less painful and would take less time — that what I had just endured, my semi-annual visit to the cell phone store. The other day when son was home and middle daughter drove up from the city, they convinced me it was time to bite the bullet and trade in my old, but still working, cellular device.
Agony. That’s what it spelled for me. My grown-up kids taught me to text on my cell really out of necessity because middle daughter will answer a text message much more readily than a phone call. She’s been phone phobic since she was a youngster. Very few parents must plead with their teenager to answer a ringing phone, but that’s how it was with middle daughter. She’s not much of a talker, especially on the phone, but she’ll text away like there’s no tomorrow.
My problem with texting is I am slow in responding back because of the numerical keypad on my old phone. “You need a keyboard on your cell,” my kids assured me since I already know how to type (just not with two thumbs!).
Both son and daughter needed new phones too – son especially since talking to him sounded like we were using two tin cans attached by string. Off we scurried to the mall and the nearest cell phone store, a place I don’t frequent unless husband or children are with me for back-up.
They understand the vernacular way better than I do. I know my kids must secretly laugh their heads off at me, but when the phone guys start spouting the mumbo-jumbo about this capability or that, I am completely bamboozled.
Remember the old Peanuts cartoon specials on TV where Charlie Brown, Lucy and all the other Peanuts gang are listening to an adult? The adult voice sounds garbled and totally incomprehensible like “Wock brok, wak wak, brack wock, wock ….” Yeah, that’s what the cell phone guy sounds like to me. I just can’t wrap my ears around what’s he’s saying.
Then there’s the problem of too many selections. I don’t have a clue which phone to pick. I don’t need my cell to email, surf the web, tweet on twitter, browse on Bing, gallop on Google, or yodel on Yahoo.
I don’t want to play or download music on my cell, use it as a GPS to find an address (that’s what maps are for!) or find a Greek restaurant. I don’t need it to eat my food for me, do my hair, or dress me either. I don’t need a phone with apps; I need a phone that just lets me yap! Maybe I’d be interested in a cell that could clean my house, but as far as I know, that one hasn’t been invented yet.
No fancy stuff meant I had my choice of two basic phones. Naturally the free phone didn’t have a qwerty keyboard, so I had to look them all over again.
Cell phone guy Joe (as nice as he was) started that technology lingo describing this phone and that and I’m staring at his mouth moving but not understanding the words.
My head was literally swimming, but never fear, middle daughter throws out the lifeline! She obviously notices that I am way over my head, sinking fast, and she informs Joe that Mom just needs a phone to make calls and text with a keyboard.
Joe tells me (after he accesses my account on the handy-dandy device attached to his arm) that I had a $100 credit which could be applied to a new phone. Eureka! That part I understood!
He then showed me a “brand new” version that they are “not even supposed to sell yet.” But today is my lucky day because he can sell it to me and because of my $100 credit, I’m basically getting it free. Daughter, who is still on my phone plan, can get her chosen device for $29.99. Sounds good to me and affordable to her. Son, who has his own plan, is eligible for a free upgrade, so finally we are making progress. Hooray, we’ve made decisions – one step closer to the door!
Joe disappears to get our new phones and comes back with a basket full of technology goodies. At this point I’m feeling like Little Red Riding Hood, except the wolf has the basket of goodies and I’m getting hoodwinked. Joe starts pulling out stuff: cell phone covers, protectors, car chargers, something that looked like my digital camera memory cards, cables for this, that, and everything in between.
I’m sure I didn’t make Joe very happy because I turned every single goodie down. Joe, just a thought, maybe if you brought food out in that basket, I would have bought something because by now, it’s dinner time. Daughter gets protector covers and some other thingamabob and says she will pay me for the items, which are loaded onto my bill since it’s my plan. Okay, I’m cool with that I say.
Joe then fiddle-dee-dees around with our old phones and our new ones, which takes forever because my old cell doesn’t want to cooperate – it’s not going down without a fight! “Please don’t abandon me, we can be dinosaurs together!” it calls to me.
Standing at the counter, I fidget; I shift my weight from one leg to the other. My back aches from standing in one spot too long; I’m hungry because it’s now past dinner time; and I’m really tired because my brain and my nerves have been overloaded the last two hours. And did I mention everybody and their brother was in the store getting new phones?!
“All right,” he says, “you’re all ready to go. That will be $149.99. How would you like to pay for that?”
I am speechless. Wait, I’m paying $149.99 for a free phone, a $29.99 phone and $20 worth of gadgets?? My mind turns to mush. I look at Joe dumbfounded; my kids look at me with quizzical faces; Joe smiles at me and then glances quickly to my kids as if to say, “Is she a few French fries short of a happy meal?”
Turns out I must shell out 100 buckeroos for the privilege of buying two new cells, but I’ll get $50 rebates on both of them – here’s your rebate receipt, just fill this out, sign here, cut this out, mail here, and you will receive two $50 debit cards as your rebate. You can use them anywhere!
I’d rather have 100 dollars stay in my checking account than receive rebate debit cards, thank you very much! But the deed is done.
I leave the store with my “free” phone, glad I don’t have to undergo this torture again for another two years. Now if I could just figure out how to unlock my phone, I might actually get to use it!