The Pony and I made a trip up north today to find him a new cell phone. Let the record show that The Pony has never had a new cell phone, except his very first one, which he did not even want, but which we pushed upon him so he could contact us for pickup after Smartypants Team practices and competitions.
Yes, The Pony has always made do with smartphone steeds culled from Genius's stable of broken-down nags. A lad who actually cared about things and people might have thought to object. But not The Pony. Let the record further show that Val herself, the glue factory of the family, has always received the leftovers of those nags that The Pony did not choose. Still, a nag from Genius's stable is akin to buying yard-sale gently-used outgrown clothing worn by the little girls of a local lawyer. Well taken care of, top-of-the-line when new. Not that I bought girls' clothes for my boys. But might know a certain ex-city-official's spouse who had a daughter who liked nice things.
On prom night, The Pony's phone slipped from his hand. Don't wanna know why. It received a diagonal crack across its face. Still worked fine, for a several-years-old phone. But nothing a National Merit Scholar should have to take away to college. We have been putting off the purchase, because with a new phone comes the end of the jailbreak. The end of unlimited internet sucked in by the phone, rerouted to flow through the laptop. Even The Pony can manage three days without internet on his laptop. He still has unlimited on his new phone.
Friday, we went to the local Sprint store. According to Genius, all we had to do was walk in there and buy a phone. Then The Pony's Google account would update all his contacts, and he could download his apps again. Except the store didn't have the phone he wanted, and the sales guy tried to sell him something more powerful than what he needed, and said it would cost $637 unless we leased it, or paid $26/month for 24 months. You know that comes out to $624, right? We knew it.
After getting Genius out of a meeting to call us back while we sat in T-Hoe, he informed us that the store could, indeed, honor the internet deal he had told us to ask for. "You may have to ask for a manager, but they can do it. We're grandfathered in. They don't like it. But they can do it. You'll have to push them. They're taught to upsell everything they can."
Back inside, I said, "I know you can't do this for new customers, but we have used Sprint for nine years now, and we'd like to buy this phone with an upgrade and a 24-month contract. It's offered for our account online."
A little wisp of a girl with a bleached-out pixie cut responded to our request, "Well, that's ONLIIIIINE!"
That rubbed retired-teacher, long-time customer Val the wrong way. "All right. You can't do it. Thank you for your time." I turned away from the counter and started out.
"Wait. I can call my manager...and see if we can do it..."
"No. Thank you. That's online. I understand."
The Pony wasn't quite sure what just happened. Back in the car, I apologized to him. "Sorry. We'll get you a phone. That wasn't going to end well. We can go up the highway to where Genius always got his phones. Before this store was here." Thing is, we live halfway between those two cities. We just happened to be there for banking purposes that afternoon, and planned to use that Sprint store.
The Pony decided he wanted to wait until Saturday morning to try the other place. And off we went at the crack of 11:00 this morning. When we entered, a jovial lady (no spring chicken, and not bleachy-blond, and not missing a tooth, as The Pony had later pointed out about Pixie) called to us, "We'll be with you in just a minute. I'm putting away some paperwork." The customers that had been with her started out the door.
A man came in after us. A big ol' man, with hair in a neck-nape ponytail (not that there's anything wrong with that) looking like he might be descended from Grizzly Adams. "Huh!" He said, not at all gruntledly, like he was disgusted to see other people in the store ahead of him. "You can have a seat, sir. We will be with you as soon as we can," said Fall Chick. But Grizzly IV stalked past The Pony and Val, and stood at the shoulder-high counter from behind which Fall Chick was paper-pushing.
Fall Chick looked up at us and motioned us over. "I'm sorry, sir. You can have a seat. These people were here ahead of you." Yet Grizzle IV stood his ground. I shouldered my way to the counter. Grizzly IV almost had to step back to allow me space, but he held his ground. Pinned between my right shoulder and a life-size poster of The Sprint Guy wearing a yellow shirt and black leather jacket. "I'm sorry, sir. Could you please step back so this customer can have some privacy?" Darn tootin'! Grizzly IV finally took the hint, and huffed a few steps back. Still not sitting in the waiting area, to encroach on other private moments with other being-helped customers.
And then the most magnificent thing happened! I announced that we would like to buy a phone with our upgrade, and a 24-month contract, and Fall Chick looked up our account and said she would hook us up! No questions asked, no sing-songy ridicule! She turned to the case to get the very phone The Pony wanted, the HTC 10...but that cubby was barer than Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard!
"Oh. I COULD have sold it to you, if somebody here hadn't just swiped the last one!" Turns out it was the girl finishing up a current transaction down the counter.
"That's okay. I like the other one just as well." So we stood OUR ground, and bought The Pony a Samsung Galaxy S7 Gold Platinum for $245. Which I thought was pretty reasonable, even though ONLINE I saw the Black Onyx version on special from Best Buy. But it was ONLINE, you know, and we wanted that phone now, not at some future shipping date, IF it wasn't back-ordered. And it sure beat the not-heaven out of that $637 price quoted to us Friday.
Because Fall Chick was so cheerful and helpful, and got all of The Pony's data transferred (his current HTC did not want to share with the Samsung), including his apps, even though it took a connector and 20 minutes...I threw in a case and car charger for my little Pony, which Fall Chick promptly discounted.
Somebody's gettin' a stellar review on the customer satisfaction survey!