If They Call It A Smart Phone, Why Is The Process of Getting One So Dumb?

Yesterday I went down to Hoboken, to the Verizon store, to see about a new cell phone. Every 2 years or so the battery starts giving out and it was that time again. I had been getting emails and direct mail pieces for a while saying I was due for an upgrade and they were offering a discount of course. Let’s not even talk about the complete waste of over-advertising and the waste of paper to someone who is already a client. So I’m browsing around the store, and after being in there a few minutes, I now realize I must sign in using their little kiosk. This should be displayed right when you walk in.

I’ve seen friends with their “smart phones” the Blackberry and the Droid. The Blackberry was adequate and since I don’t really text, I really just needed a phone and the internet. The way they posted the pricing and the way they start selling you “your deal” is ridiculous. I’m looking at the Blackberry Curve and it says right there, $29.99, but it’s not. I look at the Droid, it says $199.99 but it’s not. They tell you the “Curve” is actually $129.99, but you’re going to get a rebate of $50, so it’s really $79.99. But wait, we’ve recalculated just for you, and now you’re going to pay $100 up front, but you’ll get a rebate of $100, so really the phone will be $0.

Okay, we start the process. There are no chairs for any of the customers to sit in, so I, like others, have to stand there for quite a while until they get everything going, and start transferring the phone’s assorted data. After we get all of it ready and transferred, we start a mini tutorial on how the phone works, and we realize the phone is defective, right out of the box! So, we have to start all over again with another phone. (It’s at this point I asked for a chair!)

Two hours plus and I’ve finally got a phone to take home. All I can think at this point is I’m so glad I only have to do this every few years. What does this say about their presentation, their wheeling and dealing, and the miss-marked products? In most stores isn’t the marked price what you pay?  Why try to trick us? Aren’t we customers that deserve respect for our loyalty?

But here’s my real gripe. I know why they do this rebate BS, because they’re just hoping maybe 10% or more won’t bother to cut the box and mail it in. But in this tough economy who wouldn’t want $100 back? Why can’t they just say, okay here’s your new phone and it’ll cost you “0.” If it’s going to cost me “0” anyway?

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