Friday, March 20, 2015

Goodbye Sam. Hello Maxx! Or: The Second Honeymoon



I haven’t written a lot during my battle with cancer, but this post might make me the visual aid for the ACS’ next conference presentation illustrating the effects of chemo on the brain.


If you’ve read this blog, you know that my smart phone relationships have always been love/hate. It’s time for an upgrade, and the only thing I hate more than technology upgrades is another technology upgrade. I seem to be stuck in a loop.
But, alas, it must be done.

So, last night, I girded up my loins so to speak, and hit the Verizon website to pick out the phone that would work best for me. It was a little difficult to navigate, but after about 3 hours or so, I finally had my cart full and was ready to submit my order. It had been a little like online dating. Sam had been such a good significant other (eventually) and it was hard to let him go and search for a new phone relationship. I was tentative. Did I want the muscle of massive data storage or the softer, gentler version with camera enhancement? Larger or smaller model? What finally hooked me was the eternally sexy “448 hours of battery life”. Seriously girls, who can resist that? Especially when it comes in a sleek and shiny package? Not me!

I hit “SUBMIT” and it took me right back to the billing information page so that it could yell at me in bright red letters: “This address is invalid. Please submit a valid shipping/billing address.”

‘You mean the invalid address you vigilantly use to send me my statement each month? You mean that one?’, I snarked to the screen. ‘The same one you shipped my last phone to?’

Verizon had no response.

I hit “SUBMIT” again. Same result. I hit “SUBMIT”. Again. No change. I stabbed at the “SUBMIT” key over and over again with my angry finger. Yes, I was the poster child for Einstein’s definition of Insanity, but I could not stop myself. I pounded  “SUBMIT” several more times.  Still the order was not complete, the address invalid. I had to find a new methodology.

So, I found the “Chat Now” button.  The chat screen opened, and more red letters appeared informing me that online chat was not open now, but I was welcome to call customer service at the “number listed below.” I knew what that meant. I’d been down that rabbit hole before.

Like a drowning sailor who has fought the waves for about 20 minutes too long, I called the number. I selected option #2 that tells the system I am a person, not a business, and entered my cell phone number. Then I hit option #2 again, telling the system I had a customer service issue. The vapid, automated voice told me I was being transferred to a customer service operator. I heard the phone ring, and then the same vapid, automated voice told me “Thank you for calling.” Aaaaaaand…disconnected the call.

I repeated the process several times with the same result. “Hello Einstein?  I am beyond frustrated! So just get off by back okay?!” 

The stress (from now 4 hours trying to resolve this issue) twitched and spasmed like electric eels back and forth across my lower back, and would not allow me to sit up straight. I wanted to lie down, and have someone massage by back with oils. I wanted chocolate covered strawberries and classical guitar. What I got were raised eyebrows from my dog and my husband. He knows what this cell phone relationship business does to me, and he was, um,... concerned.

I hope he hasn’t picked up a straightjacket on the sly, ready to be pulled out at a moment like this.

I shook my head and shoulders trying to “reset” my brain. I tried some of the breathing techniques I learned in counselling. I didn’t really feel calmer, but I can say I dialed more slowly and carefully. At the automated system’s prompt, I entered my phone number as directed, and immediately got a live person on the phone. I couldn’t believe my ears!

Operator: (Southern drawl and cheerfulness at 8 p.m. in the evening) Hi! It’s a great day to be talking to our valued customers! Who do I have the pleasure of talking to today?

Me: My name is Shirley.

Operator: Hi Shirley, I see you’ve been a great customer of ours for 10 years now, and you have hardly ever needed to call us! We sure appreciate that.

Me: Oh, I call you ALL THE TIME!

Operator: You do? Hmmm. Well, what can I help resolve for you today?

Me: I can’t get your website to accept my shipping/billing address to complete an order.

Operator: Well, I can sure help you with that. Are you adding a new line today?

Me: No, I am updating a line.

Operator: (confused) I’m not sure what you’re asking.

Me: I AM ORDERING A REPLACEMENT PHONE AND UPDATING A CURRENT LINE!

Operator: (still so friendly and patient with her southern charm) Ma’am, we don’t sell cell phones.This is Direct TV.

Me: (turning so many shades of red that I am sure Miss Happy Operator can hear it through the phone line) I’m so sorry. I’ve called the wrong number.

Operator: Well, you have an amazing weekend, okay?

Seriously the best telephone customer service operator I’ve ever talked to. Why can’t SHE work at Verizon?

(No wonder I got to talk to an actual person then.)

I took another deep breath. And heaved the phone across the room!

Then I went and picked it up because I really still needed to talk to Verizon. My back screeched in pain. I felt like I’d been tazered, but I used my shaky fingers to try to reach a Customer Service rep. Imagine my surprise when, a few automated phone system options later, I actually got one. And he was a really nice guy. He said he didn’t know why the website was giving me problems, waved fee after fee, filled my order, saving me around a hundred bucks and everything was good to go.

I don’t know why this last time went so smoothly. But as a sign from the universe that I had a lesson to learn, my cell phone rang with its soft, spiritual rendition of “Hallelujah. Hallelujah.” I giggled a little.

Then I remembered that I actually have to learn a new phone on Monday. We all remember my issues with Sam…

(See link below)

Sam’s gone…took a suicidal nosedive into the toilet after all we’ve been through. *sniff*

But I think I might be ready to meet…Maxx!