Friday, February 24, 2017

You May Get A Charge Outta This

As with most things—needs more bikini!
Two years ago, almost to the date, my old flip phone (a Convoy 3) finally gave up the ghost.  The hinge had been giving out for some weeks, but when I dropped it on the floor, it broke into two, almost equal pieces.  I walked into a Verizon “authorized retailer” and they totally saw me coming.  There was probably a wager on how gullible I would be. 

How gullible, you ask?

All the gullibles.

These guys are not Verizon.  There’s a reason my wife and I have been Verizon customers for 15+ years now.  Sure, there are always bad experiences, and you may have had one of them.  I’m sorry.  That sucks.  Let’s go grab a beer and you tell me all about it.  I’ve had nothing but good customer interactions, and I’ve even been impressed from time to time.

So again, the “retailer” is not Verizon.  They’re more interested in the bottom line than customer experience or repeat sales.  Hint: when you’re there to replace a phone, slam your hand down on the counter, and insist they do nothing but replace the damn phone.

They may give you shocked, hurt looks, and tears may form, but this is war damnit.  War is hell!

I think I see your problem.
Two hours later—and let me repeat that for emphasis—TWO FREAKING HOURS LATER, I walked out with a new, horribly mediocre plan and two phones which I didn’t really want—my Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone and the phone my wife would reject out of hand because her husband is an idiot.

Did I mention this took two hours?

Two hours.

The dealer made bank off my naivete.  The S5 had already been out for about a year and the S6 was about to drop.  Not being a smartphone guy, and not really a tech guy (although I love stuff and gadgets and stuff), I wasn’t really aware, and that much was obvious to the sales dude (who kept calling me “bro”) because of the sign on my forehead that said, “Cheat Me, Please—I Need a Reason to Drink!”

I had a phone that was already outdated, and I’d paid at least full price for it.
That's not going to quite cover your phone,
but can we interest you in our reasonable payment plan?

The thing of the thing is that, despite the crappy service I’d received (and would continue to receive when I tried to return my wife’s phone) and the fleecing—part of which I deserved for being an uninformed consumer—I really liked my S4.

I still like my S4.

Unfortunately, the charging port has decided that after being out for nearly four years, it deserves to retire.  It didn’t just slowly stop working either, such that you could wiggle the cable, stand it at acute angles, or sacrifice goldfish to the tech gods for charging miracles.  It simply refuses to take a charge no matter what cable I use, or how much I play with it.

Insert your own joke here.

Wiser, now, in the ways of the smartphone, I went out to the Verizon site to look at prices and promptly fell out of my chair.  I’ve bought computers that cost less than a new smartphone.  Even the “certified refurbished” S5 was more than my monthly truck payment!

I talked with my friend Jeff (hi Jeff!) who shared his iPhone experience with me.
Wireless charging? What sorcery is this!?

I talked with my friend Rick (screw you, Rick, you bastard!) who mocked me, and suggested that I ride a dinosaur down to the port and take a steamer back in time to French Morocco where I could pick up a telegraph at the old bazaar.

(Thanks Rick, you bastard!)

As I was lamenting the need to shell out a Benjamin, and moaning that the only real problem with the phone was the charging port which would no longer take a charge cord . . . it hit me.  Literally, it jumped up from the screen, and slapped me, twice, about the head and shoulders.

I’ve been looking at wireless charging pads as a potential means to clean up the rat’s nest of charging cords at my house.  Alas, they have yet to invent a one-size-charges-all-devices-especially-seven-different-ones-at-the-same-time pad.

It arrives Saturday.

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