17 Mar 2007

My New Phone

So, I finally got a new phone last weekend. I had my Treo for almost exactly 2 years now (actually, it had been Jessica's and I stole it when the campaign stuff had started up). Well, the Treo finally died. It was either when I accidentally threw it across the asphalt from a height of about 5 feet when getting out of my car, or it was later when the cat dumped water all over it and it sat in the water all night. Hard to say what caused it really. It was on it's last little digital legs anyhow, as the ‘p' and ‘m' buttons no longer worked, which made for some pretty difficult typing from time to time. It's amazing how often you actually need the letter ‘p' in a sentance. So, we went down to the verizon shop to see if I had any insurance on the little guy. Turns out I did not, plus I still had two months left on my contract so I'd have to buy a phone at full retail. So, I reasoned out loud that it perhaps made more economical sense to just ride out my contract for a couple months and cancel and meanwhile go sign up at the Cingular booth 20 feet away and get a big ol' discount. The verizon guy thought maybe we could work something out. Hmm. So, I ended up getting a new phone there. It's a Moto w315, which looks something like the PEBL, but with a little antenna. I think it's my favorite phone ever. The thing about this phone that I love is that it's simple. No camera, no video, no games, no bluetooth, no fancy ringtones (i think), etc. It makes calls, txt msg, contact list - that's it. After the monstrosity that was the Treo, it's fantastic change of pace. It's cute and light, the battery lasts forever, and it does exactly what I need it to do and absolutely nothing else. A good first step to simplfying your life, huh?
The other thing I learned from this experience is that I hate buying phones. I made a mental connection that I'm sure most people made long ago, which is that it fits within the class of experiences that buying a car does. The salespeople are on commission, there is a set of things that they know that you don't and there is a great amount of latitude in what can be taken and given in a transaction. I hate this kind of sale. While buying this phone, halfway through the transaction the salesperson told me that “my manager just told me” that there would have to be a $20 “early upgrade” fee - which I'm 50% sure was made up on the spot, but I didn't have the strength or mental stamina to stay in that store a minute longer to argue about it. I asked my wife if she thought we should get the undercoating or not. The bottom line is that I fundamentally cannot stand being lied to or decieved and that is what buying a phone or a car is all about. “We can't do this”, “Oh, you want text messages? That's another $20/month”, “Yeah, it CAN get video, but you have to get the unlimited data plan”, etc, etc. Since I've never been a sales rep there, I don't know what the bottom line really is and I hate fighting for it. For the same usage, any phone can essentially cost between $30 and $90 per month, depending on how exactly it is that they screw you. Right after I got the phone, my friend pointed me at this at the Consumerist: 8 Confessions of a former Verizon sales rep If you have to buy or re-up your cell phone, please give this a read - maybe if everyone knows their stupid lies and tricks, they'll move to a fair sales model and my blood pressure won't have to rise every year or two for no good reason.

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