How to Lose a Customer In One Easy Step.

Y’all (that’s a technical term) may have gathered from my writings that I can be kind of rough on cell phones.

My current phone has fallen off a cliff into a lake (in the pocket of my heavy leather jacket while I was wearing it of course), slid 50+ feet down a concrete bankment (fortunately it was on its own then), it’s been stepped on, sat on, dropped, cursed at, electrified, kicked, frozen, heated beyond reason, thrown, and even doused in pancake syrup.

That’s all in the last year!

Anyway, the display was cracked and getting worse. On this particular phone, that piece of plastic is part of the snap on cover.

It was time to get another cover. They sell them in many colors for about $5. The phone works fine, I don’t need another one yet. Just a cover. As an added bonus, that would get rid of all the deep gouges on the back of the phone as well. Yeah, I know where they came from. I’m not sure I’m gonna tell you though.

So, off I run to my friendly, neighborhood, Cingular store. They’ve handled all my cell phone business since I moved to this neighborhood over a decade ago.

So, I pop off to the store. The gal behind the counter does her best to “upsell” me. “How long have you had that phone?” she asks as she brings up my account. “Oooo. Your contract was up last year, you’re just month-to-month now. If you sign up for another 2 years I can sell you a new phone for $99.”

I lean on the counter. “First, I don’t want a new phone. I want a cover for this one. Second, if I sign up for even a year, you’re going to give me a phone, not sell me one.”

“Oh no, we don’t do that sir. At best, you get a discount.”

I guess the fact that I’m holding a phone in my hand didn’t give her enough of a clue that I’ve actually done this before. I sigh. “I’ve yet to ever actually buy a phone from anyone. If I sign a contract, I’ll get one free, or I’ll use a different provider, and they’ll give me one free.

“Now, listen to me. I don’t want a new phone. I want a new cover for this one.”

She had four choices.
1) She could sell me a cover.
2) She could give me one off an old phone. My model is hugely common.
3) She could tell me where I could get a cover.
4) She could tell me she didn’t have any and didn’t know where to get them.

Unfortunately, she chose a fifth option. She lied to me.
“You can’t get those anymore.”

Now that was sheer BS. You can still buy this model phone new. AT THAT STORE. Why would she assume I wouldn’t know that?

So, I said, “Thank you.” and walked out of the place. I’ll never go back, and when I actually need a new phone or contract service, I’ll transfer to a new provider.

They could have made a few bucks. Instead they lost a customer.

Then I hit the ‘net, and ordered a $5 cover for my phone. In pimp red, BTW, just because I could. Two days later, the magic mail faery dropped it at my door, and it’s good (and candy apple red) till I smush it again.

There’s a lesson there…but nobody’s listening.

Daniel Meyer

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