Cell Phone Saga

April 23, 2007

A few years ago I drove myself to a wedding in Illinois. Alone. Did I say I was by myself? The drive was pretty uneventful. I had some pretty good directions. They were even written in reverse so I could get back home. Fully satisfied that I managed to get there in one piece and on time, the wedding and party after were great.

On the way home, not too far out of the gate, I came upon a road block and detour. Being relatively certain that the end result would bring me back to a location on my list of directions, I moved along past the flashing lights and policemen. Soon it was late, dark, and I was so lost. So much for directions. To make a long story short, what should have taken me a little over an hour turned into almost three, and Willi made me buy a cell phone.


You wouldn’t call me a cell phone afficionado by any means. In fact you probably wouldn’t even call me at all. Nobody does, except Willi. That’s because I’ve not been a very good cell phone user. And part of the reason is because nobody calls me. Are you seeing a pattern here? I could turn the ringer off for days and the only one who might notice is Willi.

Another reason is because I drive a stick. I haven’t quite figured out how to shift, steer, and hold the phone all at the same time. If I get a call in the car, I pull over. Go ahead and laugh. I can take it. Although once I get on the interstate things become much simpler, I will never be a talk and drive person.

Since January I’ve been back and forth to Indy four or five times a month. Being away from home has helped me and my cell phone become friends. I’m thinking I can do this cell phone thing.


This week I got an offer in the mail to upgrade my clunky old rubber coated, green screen, hard to read phone. For just $59.99 I can have the same phone Willi has; a slick new rubber coated, color screen, easy to read phone. After a $40.00 mail in rebate. What’s not to like? This would be a good thing for an up and coming cell phone user.


So Sunday afternoon we hopped in the truck and headed over to the Sprint/Nextel store. This was after checking their hours online. After all, it was our last chance to save. They were closed.

We hopped back in the truck and headed over to the mall, where there were not one, but two Sprint/Nextel kiosks. The first, naturally, was closed. Joy of joys, the second was open; complete with two, count them, two young men aiming to please. That was until I pulled out my handy dandy mailer advertising a Nextel phone which they, of course, do not carry. After all, they are the Sprint side of Sprint/Nextel. Are you confused yet?

On our way out we stopped at Radio Shack, also a Sprint/Nextel retail location, only to be told that neither of the phones on the offer were available in the United States at this time. Interesting.

We hopped back in the truck and headed home, where I managed to find one more Sprint/Nextel store online. This time we called first. The lady on the phone indicated that they were open, they were nearby, and they did carry Nextel phones. Just to be safe, I asked if they had the Motorola Buzz ic502, because you know my offer ends soon. When she told me they were sold out and did not know when they would be back in stock, I replied that I only had until 4/30/07! She suggested I might want to call the number on the card to order over the phone. Which I did…


“Thank you for calling Sprint. Our office is currently closed.” *click*

I should preface the end of this story by telling you that I am one of those shoppers that will put something in my cart, or carry it around the store, just long enough to talk myself out of it and then put it back on the shelf. Not only that, if something or someone in the store manages to irritate me I’ll put it back on the shelf just to make a point. And I won’t go back. That being said…

Dear Nearest Sprint or Nextel Retailer,

I appreciate the offer for a slick new rubber coated, color screen, easy to read phone for just $59.99. After a $40.00 mail in rebate. Realizing that my offer ends soon, I made a sincere attempt to upgrade now. Because my efforts were thwarted at each of six points of contact, I have decided I really do not need a Motorola Buzz ic502 after all. In fact, my daughter has asked me to join her Cingular Friends and Family plan for a mere $10.00 a month with a free phone to boot. How cool is that?

Best of luck in your future endeavors,



16 Responses to “Cell Phone Saga”

  1. milkandhoney Says:

    So did you pick out your new Cingular-plan phone yet?

  2. milkandhoney Says:

    And, you should also tell Nextel/Sprint, “Nice attempt at a co-brand logo.”

    ‘…Powerful symbol for the new Sprint as a forward-moving, energetic and dynamic brand…’ my ass. Pfft.

  3. Cazzie Says:

    Onya Willi…you sure learned them a lesson, LOL.

  4. Susan Says:

    Well…you certainly tried!

    Apparently you were meant to go with cingular and the other company(s) were just trying to help you along with that!

  5. I love it! Way to give them “what for”, Gawilli!!! I would have been so angry and frustrated by the end of all that!!!

  6. her indoors Says:

    you tell em! glad you not a phone and drive person its illegal over here you need to have handsfree, what is the law over there is it the same?

  7. Betty Says:

    Hilarious! Good for you! I hope you actually sent them that letter.

  8. Tink Says:

    I HATE cell phone companies. Period. I have the nice new sleek phone you were trying to buy. I’m glad you didn’t waste your time. It seems each new upgrade is worse than the previous. I’ve had it three months and the screen is split.

  9. Michelle Says:

    I’m appalled at how poorly that went for you. (Happy that it all worked out though). I like your letter to them.

    Don’t feel bad that you don’t drive and talk. IT’S DANGEROUS! Evidence has shown it’s as bad as, if not worse than, driving drunk.

    I always pull over ’cause, knowing my luck, it’ll be the day I’m driving and yakking that I’ll have an accident and the insurance company will be able to prove my bad behaviours. Not worth the risk!

    By the way, unless you want all of the fancy features (not likely for someone just doing straight dialing and such), get the most robust and cheap phone you can find. Mine is the free model and it’s over 2 years old. Still going strong! šŸ™‚

  10. mjd Says:

    I am sorry that you were thwarted six times in your expediation for the new cell phone, Motorola Buzz ic502. Unfortunately, I have become so cynical in dealing with commercial businesses that I expect things to go wrong. When a business transaction or a purchase goes without incident and on time, I am pleasantly surprised.

    Your letter is perfect. You have refined the art form of writing a letter of a disgruntled customer. You have veered away from name calling, but yet let the retailer know that you are displeased. Ever so subltely, you conveyed your message. Daddy D and I call this kind of letter, a Green Weenie letter.

  11. gawilli Says:

    milkandhoney – Nope, I haven’t picked out my phone yet with work and all – hopefully by the weekend. Really neither the Sprint or Nextel branding was very good to begin with. They need someone like you to guide them along.

    Cazzie – I’m not even a ripple in their pond. But if this is any indication of the rest of their business it will be interesting to see what the future brings.

    Susan – Agreed – that must have been the grand design all along. And after reading Tink’s comment it certainly looks like it worked out for the best. I only hope Willi’s work phone works out.

    ArkansasSongbird – Willi always tells me that I expect too much. That may be so. My first job was in retail and I remember that the emphasis was on customer satisfaction first and foremost. It just seems like good policy to me, but many people in retail do not share that ethic anymore.

  12. gawilli Says:

    Her Indoors – I am not coordinated enough to talk and drive at the same time – and that’s ok with me. Often times when traveling I will become frustrated by the eratic driving of someone and nine times out of ten they are on a cell phone. It is not illegal here in the states, although I think many would tell you it should be.

    Betty – It sure seems funny now, and even when writing it down, but the frustration of going to a business with advertised hours and finding them closed is beyond me. Not to mention the fact that they could not provide the item I was trying to buy!

    Tink – Thanks for the warning. I’m glad now that it didn’t work out – I would have been so disappointed if it turned out to be a lemon. All things work together for the good I guess.

    Michelle – That is how I chose my current phone and it has held up all right. My daughter has some experience in this area and has pointed me toward one that I think will work well. I just want to see it up close and personal before I jump in. You are right – I definitely don’t need any bells and whistles!

    Mjd – you got that right! Expect the worst and rejoice when it goes well! Now I would like to know the origin of the phrase “green weenie letter”. I’m sure there is a good story here!

  13. marnie Says:

    Yep, and that is the #1 reason why I will never spend money on a cell phone. Those free ones work just as good and you have the satisfaction of not having spent any money.

    The only thing better than a good deal is FREE!

  14. daddy d Says:

    From as hard as you tried to get a new cell phone, those business people must have all the business that they need or want. They will be lucky to say in business the way that you were taken care off.

  15. gawilli Says:

    Marnie – you’re talking my language now. Free is always better.

    Daddy D – You know I was thinking the very same thing. Business must be pretty darn good if they can afford to be so noncommital about business hours and service. Sheesh.

  16. dilling Says:

    Exactly why I have a prepaid phone…ancient and uncool, though it is…..
    just for travel to and from Washington…and the sure to rise “emergency.”
    I also pull over, if I use it at all.

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