Has customer service become optional?

Seeing the screen of my BlackBerry cracked became the impetus for my search for a new smartphone. And took me to the Verizon Wireless store in Maumee, Ohio. When my husband and I walked in, we were greeted by two male sales associates and I explained what I was looking for – a BlackBerry Q10 with a comparable mobile/data/text plan.

Yet when I said “BlackBerry,” I got a few guffaws from the sales associates. Then I responded rather loudly:

“Are you judging me for using a BlackBerry? Really?”

Awkward pause from the two men who were helping me. Then one said he’d go back and check if there was a BlackBerry Q10 in stock. The other tried to convince me to go with a touchscreen phone and I stuck to my first preference. I wanted a damn BlackBerry.

I left without a new phone – which, in retrospect was a good thing. Because it got me more motivated to call out this store and its disrespectful employees. I don’t ridicule you for working at a Verizon store, so don’t ridicule me if I still prefer the brand of a dying mobile device company.

I got home and went online to order a new BlackBerry. But the more I thought about it, I was mad that a store would turn away money! So I sent a tweet to Verizon Wireless. And a few more before I got a response.

Then, as I was asking a customer service rep online about changes to my plan – I can no longer get unlimited data, but can get unlimited voice minutes and unlimited text messaging, and this disappoints me but I’ll deal with it – I told her about my awful experience at the Verizon store in Maumee. I asked her if there was any way I could email customer service.

There’s no way to email Verizon Wireless, and when I made a phone call, I was put on hold for 25 minutes before I hung up. (Gee, Verizon Wireless, what is going on with your company’s interpersonal skills?)

Anyhow.

I ordered my new phone. But in light of today’s exchange in the store of a company I’ve given my money to since October of 2001, I’m starting to believe this.

If this is how customer service is going to be handled in face-to-face situations, then I’m going to keep buying online. Can I at least get my upgrade fee waived for having to deal with this face-to-face foolishness?

How I learned to stop worrying and love the selfie

My friend Tina and I went to a diner in Chicago the other day and before we left, she insisted, “come on, let’s take a selfie!”

Now I am no fan of my own photos. I am not a photogenic person, and haven’t been since about 1997. In fact, for years I used a bad photo of myself as my column mug so that when people I interviewed met me, they’d think/say, “Wow, you’re really cute!”

It was a self-esteem thing.

But who was I to break my friend’s heart? So I obliged. The first photo didn’t turn out fantastic, so I told her to tilt her iPhone up a bit. (a trick I learned from watching “Shahs of Sunset” on Bravo TV.)

*click*

Strangely, Tina’s photo of us empowered me. Tina looks fantastic, as always. I didn’t look horrible without makeup. My hair wasn’t scraggly. It actually looks like we were having a lot of fun – and we were!

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So I continued taking more selfies during my trip to Milwaukee. Three, actually.

The Bradley Center, where the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks play, have a selfie booth on the concourse.

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This afternoon on the Milwaukee River, I got creative. My first effort didn’t turn out so well. I sent it to my husband for laughs.

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So I took the advice I gave Tina and held my BlackBerry up a little higher and at an angle. You can see its reflection on my sunglasses!

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