The ceiling is too low.
None of the phones actually work. They are just plastic cases of the phones you would actually buy. To call them phones, however, would be an insult to their capabilities. They can really do remarkable things. They can take better pictures than cameras could 25 years ago. They can capture better video than a video camera could 15 years ago. They can send messages farther, faster, and easier than a fax machines could 20 years ago. They can give you directions from San Diego to St. Louis in less than thirty seconds. And instantly correct if you misstep along the way. They have internet speed in almost every part of the country that wasn’t even possible to get anywhere less than 20 years ago. These are just their built in functions. This doesn’t include the applications you can download that give you almost infinite amount of information, the only reasons I don’t say infinite is because in theory you could count it all, in theory. Even the mere downloading of applications is remarkable. The device essentially evolving new tasks in a matter of seconds. They can tell you how far away your bus is. They let you play video games that used to be only housed in box six feet tall. They let you deposit checks by taking pictures. They are evolving faster than anyone can keep track of. Because each new applications opens the door for more applications that weren’t possible before. They really, truly are one of the crowning achievements of technology in the last twenty years. That is not hyperbole.
All of the phones on display however can’t do any of that. They’re hollow. Their screens that are usually vibrant are static faded paper pictures. That show the home page of each phone, sunny weather, your inbox with new mail from friends, the date and time always on the weekend never the weekday. But, the phones don’t work, they’re hollow. Still attached by a security cable however. Because just the promise of that box is apparently to much to take.
The walls are covered in murals of families and friends outdoors. Not on cell phones, not even holding cell phones. The closest they show are two people talking through a tin can with some string. I fucking kid you not. They are all outdoors laughing with the friends. Unaware of the terrifyingly low ceiling.
The first time I came into the store I talked to Danny. I know this not because we advance far enough in pleasantries for me to learn his name. Or him to learn mine. But, because he is wearing a tag with a name on it. He was way to nice to me to have worked there for long. Danny was still under the delusion that he worked at a place that made it’s money selling amazing devices that literally could have saved lives 100 years ago. And probably do save lives now. He is glad to work there, he is glad to help bring people to their truly spectacular devices. Danny hasn’t learned yet that his company doesn’t make it’s money from those devices. Instead it makes its money from my longing for those stupid fucking devices. He hasn’t learned yet that its company makes its money from making me pay a $50 return fee for a phone I bought (in many ways) under wrong assumptions yesterday. Danny hasn’t learned that other people have also learned that about his company, as I hadn’t yet. Danny hasn’t learned that when people come in they take their anger of a rich stockholders and board memebers out on him. Danny hasn’t learned yet that he works for a shit company that really gives him shit benefits and pays him shit. He can’t even get free coverage.
The T-Mobile girl is perfect. Pretty enough for every guy to like her. Just plain enough (Breasts smallish. Nose bigish. Hair brownish) for every guy no matter how hideous to think, “Yeah, I got a shot at her.”
The $50 restocking fee, is also to make sure that the associates give me the phone that will most meet my needs, I’m told by a man in his mid-30’s whom probably has a BA. This is odd considering I don’t think the associate’s going to help pay for it. And two, that the associate quickly talked me into the most expensive phone in the store (which I only learned later) from the phone I had come into the store wanting in a matter of seconds. But, repeatedly tried to sell me insurance and covers for my phone. But, failed to mention the restocking fee. “Oh, but you see it’s rights there.” On my receipt. That I got after I purchased my phone. I ask for a manager and to try and explain the full circumstance of situation. It’s been less than 24 hours. I misunderstood how expensive it was. I’ve been a customer for two years. I would still like a smart phone which with the extra data package my phone will require and my two year contract will equal $480 of extra money for T-Mobile. I’m a human being, etc.
In phone commercials they never show people trying to change their plan or trying to understand the wording in their bill. Or being hand cuffed to a bed and sodomized.
To my knowledge I hadn’t called his grandmother a cunt in the past. Apparently I have. That is the only rational way to treat someone who is trying to give you money and then some more money. I know what has broken him though. He got this job because he loved these miracle devices. He marvels at how they can do almost anything. He loves staying in touch with his friends he went to college with on the east coast over Facebook and e-mail threads. He stays up on the inside jokes and how Charlie’s new baby is up too. He has been broken by a company that in a “declining quarter” makes $1.2 billion. A quarter if you don’t know is just three months out of the year. He of course knows how they did this. By charging families fifty cents for every text they go over. So, when Billy in junior high gets a new, smothering girlfriend with low self-esteem the Patterson’s have to fork over an additional $25.85. Or when Malcolm accidentally goes over on his data plan because he was told at the store, “that should be plenty” he believed them and when he frequently check the wavier wire of his fantasy football league to see if “Vikings Boat Party” dropped a quarterback to pick up a tight end it ended up costing him an additional $53.67. People who come in take their anger out on him. But, he can’t waive the fee even though he knows it’s wrong. Even though he understands more intricately the many ways T-Mobile misleads and deceives and tricks their costumers. He can’t do it because there’s a report that comes out every week. It compares every store in the market on many different metrics. How many upgrades each store sold and what percentages they were. And how much money each store brought in, in ‘Miscellaneous’ revenue. And including the majority of that is “fees” and “fines” and he wants to when the regional contest. Because, he wants T-Mobile to give his store $200 dollars to buy a new sofa for the break room. The one that is back there now is missing a cushion and the ones that are left are cover in some sort of gross soot. That is surely a mixture of sweat, ketchup, mustard, soda, marina sauce and countless more variants of food spillage. They have pitted us against each other. They will win.
In Tanzania you can get a mobile phone coverage for 3 schillings per minute. Which equals .038548 of an American cent pet minute. The cheapest T-Mobile plan cost 8 cents a minute. Over 2,000% difference.
If your employer pays you a salary it is almost impossible not to own one of these phones. They expect you to own one of these phones. The except to know that no matter how these choose to ask you about the latest project you are working on that you will get the message immediately. And, any delayed response on your time is neglectfulness or sloth. Extra energy is created on why you didn’t have your phone on you. There aren’t many excuses anymore. No one turns their cell phones off in movies anymore. Service is for the most part spectacular. I was away from my desk. Doesn’t cut it. And god forgive you if you turn your cellphone off.
I cancel my phone plan. I don’t get a new phone. I pay a $50 to give them back their phone. I call costumer service to complain about how I was treated like I was homeless and had shit in the middle of the store. And not someone that was spending in theory a thousand dollars. The man I speak with sounds very sincere and apologetic. He offers me an $125 credit to my account. Which I will take because even though I no longer have a plan my brother-in-law and sister who I share the plan with could use the credit. I discover right before its too late that he was actually tricking me into a two-year contract. I hate these people. Even though I understand. I hate them. I understand. I understand that making a living is making a living. But, fuck those people. I understand that they have to wear a name tag. I understand that they’re in the 30’s and tricking people into get self-sustaining fine and fee devices. When they think they’re getting a device that will allow them to run in fields bare foot with their families. That they’re getting a device that will not just help them have good times but help create those good times. But, fuck them.
I have a Sprint Evo 4G now. I love it more than I do most people. I walk around angry a lot.