Last August, my cell phone started acting up.  I would charge it until the battery bar was full, then after about two minutes of talking, I would get the angry beeping indicating that the battery was dying.  I didn’t mind too terribly being tethered while talking, but I was taking a train trip and didn’t want my method of communication hobbled while traveling.

So I went to the Sprint kiosk in the mall to buy a new battery.

I approached the counter, and found a friendly young man working alone.  I showed him my phone and said “I just need a new battery for this.”

He immediately pounced on the opportunity to tell me that for the same price as a new battery, I could get this new phone!  Then he pulled a rather sexy-looking item out from under the counter.  red phoneThen he launched into the even faster talking portion of his spiel which included a hideous case, and a car charger.  I did kind of want a car charger, and this new phone was a little smaller, and had a camera, so I decided to upgrade.

I’ m not an idiot, I knew that getting this new phone would obligate me to Sprint for another two years.  I’ve been happy with their service  (for the most part), and honestly, a bit too lazy to shop around for another provider.  The fact that this phone battery died almost exactly two years after I got the phone is something I find disturbing and obnoxious (not to mention wasteful), but I can donate the phone to a good cause, and take away a nicer one for the same price as a battery– I thought.

Kwame was/is a very  nice young man, but dealing with him made me incredibly uncomfortable and annoyed for a number of reasons:

  • I was kept waiting for a very long time because he stepped away in the middle to help someone else.  He did this in the “I’m already helping her, so you need to wait, buddy” way, but the guy kept talking about Blackberry pearl, so he kept talking about it, and the next thing you know…
  • He flirted with me incessantly– by the time he started flirting, I had already committed to the phone, so he had nothing to gain.  It was relentless, and as much as I tried to deflect/ignore it, he would not be stopped.  By the time the transaction was over, I just wanted to be away from him.  Short of saying, “stop flirting with me,” I had no idea what could possibly be done, and much like the people in this same mall who hijack you when you’re walking by their kiosk— I was completely unprepared.
  • Because he was so intent of flirting, he failed to tell me any of the pertinent information about this new phone and what the purchase of it entailed i.e. the fact that I would have to re-up my contract for two years, the fact that there would be a change of phone fee and a handful of other inexplicable fees that I eventually managed to get waived but only after spending hours on the phone.  He also failed to include the rebate coupon that I needed to get the phone for the low, low price of $50 (the same price as the battery), which was the only reason I got the new phone in the first place; and he told me that he’d put a special note in my account saying something about the rebate I was supposed to get, but that the person I later spoke to on the phone told me was not there at all.
  • In the interest of making this transaction less uncomfortable (and before he started flirting), we chatted a bit about what we were all about.  He wants to be a motivational speaker, we both go to URI, and I have a degree in writing from my previous school.  He took that bit of information and started giving me book ideas.  He just kept on, and there was nothing I could do short of saying, “that’s great, I’ll go home and get started on that right away!” there was nothing I could do to stop him.
  • Then he started telling all his fellow kiosk workers that I’m a genius who is going to write a dozens novels someday, and I had to just stand there and smile.  I hate standing and smiling.

I finally got away from him, and began what has been a nearly yearlong adventure of me having the most crap phone imaginable.  Every day, I find something new about it that just sucks, and every day I hate Kwame a little more.

  • The charger plugs into the side, so holding it and talking while it’s plugged in is very uncomfortable.
  • It doesn’t hold a charge for even half as long as my old phone– I used to charge that one every two days, and it was perfect.  This one, I have to charge daily, and even if the battery is charged completely, if I get into a marathon chat session with Map Fleece or one of my many long-distance friends, it only lasts about 3 hours.  Then I have to plug in and talk, which as noted above– sucks.
  • Also, when the battery dies, there is no indicating sound.  There is no beep, there is no flash, it just dies, usually when I’m in the middle of a sparkling anecdote about something hilarious/annoying/amazing that happened to me.  Then I have to charge it for a moment, turn it back on, call the person back, apologize, and try to recapture the magic of my storytelling.
  • It locks up.  I’ve never had a phone do this, but if I’m texting, and it tries to add a word I don’t want and I try to go back and erase it, it just locks up and takes a full minute to come back.
  • While texting, it adds words that I do not want ALL THE TIME.  When I’m picking up Gentleman Caller, and text to him “here” unless I remember that it adds these words and catch it, it will add “do” and “need.”  It adds other words in other circumstances that I fail to notice, making me look like a total dumbass, and confusing everyone.
  • Even though it doesn’t indicate when the battery is dying, it certainly tells me when the text inbox is full.  It only holds 80 messages, and after that, gives me a message saying that the oldest one has been deleted, before it lets me read a new one.  I rarely go through and delete all messages, because you have to do that one at a time, and the phone often locks up in the process making it take forever.

I know there’s more, but I’m getting a little fired up just thinking about all this.  I have a year left on this contract, and I don’t want to get slapped with more fees by changing phones, but I did not realize that phones this crappy existed.  All I want is to be able to talk and text, and this phone does everything it can to hamper those actions.

Kwame, you are a bastard.

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