Imprisoned Without a Cell To Speak Of

By Sherry Antonetti
Special to The Washington Post
Monday, August 13, 2007

I lost my cellphone, and I have to admit I feel lost without it. I think of six or seven errands I could handle while in my car if only I could find my cellphone, but no, now the errands require human contact and I am forced to actually reach out and touch people.

Those in the phone store, for example.

I have gone to the phone store three times in an attempt to resolve the lost-cellphone situation. I just want a new one with the old number. The store advertises all the time that it can do this, and that it wants my business.

The first time I went to the phone store, a nice lady greeted me with extra zeal. She then imitated Vanna White and gestured to where I should type in my name and problem. I dutifully complied and watched as four other people came in and were given the same warm greeting and physical redirection to type up their troubles. The nice lady must have tired of all the smiling and pointing, so a second greeter took over while she ran for a rejuvenating Starbucks next door.

One by one, the other customers were approached by yet a third and a fourth employee and asked to verbally repeat what they had typed into the computer. They were then directed to lines that would lead to additional personnel who could possibly give them a few seconds of actual help.

Apparently, mine was a problem case. After 20 minutes, I asked the greeter why I was still waiting and she asked if I had typed in my problem. When I said yes, she said she was sure someone would be with me shortly.

Twenty minutes later, as I scanned the phones on display and mused about which one I would buy, another greeter asked if he could help me. I started to explain that I need a new phone, but he said he'd have to get me the right person, and the right person was with another customer.

I was starting to feel aged by the experience. "I've been here 40 minutes; I just want to buy a phone," I recall telling him as I hung on to his arm so he couldn't slip into the back room.

He said I'd have to talk to someone in sales.

" You can't sell me a phone?"


"Why can't you sell me a phone? Why can't they sell me a phone?" I pointed to the greeters, who again were warmly welcoming people to use the computer and type their concerns and wait for further instructions and assistance.

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