Monday, November 07, 2005

Heard about my new sidekick II?

This tale is a long time coming. I need to write it now lest I forget all the funny little details. Darling K trod on his old phone and mashed it into oblivion. I thought it would be so easy to acquire a phone to replace the old one and have a spare for the kids. Ha Ha! My expectations were based on past experience with ATT. I managed to get a replacement the last time this happened for the grand old cost of $20. (What a deal that was with hindsight)

I had half an hour to spare one morning in my busy insane schedule and popped into Cingular on Steven's Creek in Cupertino to get a replacement. I can hear all those voices out there saying... "er... not so fast lady... the times they are a changin' " Well thanks for that.

The scenario went like this:
me: I need a replacement phone for this one.
sales creature: ah.. no can do. We don't sell those anymore. (Monty Python's Cheese Shop skit comes to mind)
me: OK, what is the story?
sales creature: We can sell you two new phones on the new *gsm* system and it will cost you $40 plus tax plus $69.99 per month.
me: I need one phone and I pay $59.99 per month. Why should I pay an extra $10 per month for ever for what I get for $59.99?
sales creature: (silence)
me: Do I look gullible, stupid or mad? Just give me a new phone and I'll be off. (The boys cower in the back of the shop..)
sales creature: Your contract entitles you to two new phones and the new plan.
me: I don't have a contract do I?
sales creature: (silence)
me: Can I have a phone please?
sales creature: I don't have one I can sell you
me: You are trying to pull a fast one. No phones in this phone shop.... please!
sales creature: Call this number they will get you a second hand one.
me: oh really...

20 mins later down the road in Cupertino

me: I need a phone to replace this one
new intelligent person: I can get you one but it will cost $80
me: $80 for second hand and imminently obselete.. I don't think so!
pause for thought...

I remembered the abandoned Sidekick II hanging about at home (for no good reason) and pondered the possibilities.. wonderful new gadget for same price as the old two phone system ... mmmm?
For those of you who know me old is good... oh yes really!

Anyway, in no time at all it was all discussed and figured out that I would take my old number with me to T-Mobile, ho ho. I promised I would return the next day with the new phone and set it up, which I duly did.

The process was a pain in the butt, time consuming and immensely irritating. The person helping me was charming. What a voyage of discovery it became. My phone had been "previously owned" It had a record and was encrypted with someone else's information and bleedin' passwords. The minutes in the shop ticked by while I was on the phone to customer service trying to sort it out. I had to be somewhere else and was late..... and I completely missed the point of the whole mobile phone concept.. hard to believe I know.

Anyway, I have spent my entire life supporting the notion " why have a dog and bark yourself" I am so techno unsavvy for the "naughties" I should be shot. Hey, I wasn't so bad in the 90's but ... well that's another story. However, not everyone on the planet has Kevin Marks for back up and in my case back rub to boot and re-boot!

I dropped the kids at Math Club and waited in the car on the phone with customer service reps at T-Mobile for 45 minutes. The young man in technical blah had to talk me, of all people, through how to revamp this machine. Oh my oh my. I didn't even know the first thing about the machine... what button did what etc.

Anyway, never one to give up, I persevered, conscious all the time that my old phone's battery was about to fade on tweeking the new machine into being friendly to me. It went so well I was fluffed up with pride and then he said after 90 minutes "and with a pin press this this and that and that together simultaneously and pow you're done. I said "about this pin .. where is it exactly?"

Well, after being on the phone for an hour and a half, this was not going to be the hurdle which brought me down! ... oh no!
I calmly removed my expensive Italian stampato gold earring and inserted the prong into the hole.. in the nick of time. I haven't felt such a sense of true accomplishment since I gave birth to my first child.

And yes I was fully connected and on the internet WHAHOO!

.... and then came the saga of dumping Cingular...

Part II

I noticed my previous phone had not been disconnected. I was told my service would be terminated with the transfer of my old number. What a load of bollocks.

I phoned customer service at Cingular and they said they'd send me a final bill which would include the whole month for which I wouldn't be using the phone or needing it. Then ensued the fight... " Your contract states...." "er ... there is no contract"

We agreed on a fair and final bill. They sent it and they also sent a letter saying they would convert our two phone plan to a one phone plan if they didn't hear from us before November 6th. Needless to say they did hear from me and Katrina assures me that I will not be billed for this month. I'll let you know if she fulfils her promise to ring me on November 21st to cancel outstanding charges.

In the meantime T-Mobile's coverage with my Sidekick is patchy to say the least... but when it works, well it rocks!


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