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Black Friday Fiasco by Sia Huff

Normally, I’m not a commitment-phobe. Except when it comes to new technology. I like the kinks and bugs to be worked out before I attempt to take on a new piece of equipment. The time that I dreaded approached fast. New cell phone plan. I talked to people. I studied. I waited. Finally, I decided on a plan.

Now on to the phones. My sons conferred and agreed on the Motorola DROID Razr Maxx. Okay, if that’s what made them happy. But my executive decision included a budget. Well, maybe we’d get an older model. I was satisfied. My boys, let’s just say they are used to Mom pulling the plug on their delusions of grandeur.

The week before Thanksgiving, I went into Best Buy. You know the store that advertises one stop shopping for ALL carriers of phones. A helpful salesperson told me the new DROID Razr Maxx would be on a really good sale Black Friday. What’s really good? It’s free! Free works within my budget. I listened to his ten minute, just like the infomercial, But wait…there’s more… spiel. By the end, even I was excited.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving. We traveled to West Virginia to spend the holiday with close friends. After eating with the entire family in Maryland until we were stuffed, we headed back over the mountain, when I realized the time was just after ten o’clock. Best Buy opened at midnight. So a plan formulated in my mind. Stay up another two hours, get this taken care of, and then I could sleep and go Black Friday shopping later that day.

It was below freezing in West Virginia at eleven-thirty. Even the huge line that streamed one city block long, couldn’t keep you warm. A lone soul played guitar and sang on the sidewalk for tips. At midnight the line started to move. By twelve-twenty we’d made it in the store. Oh joy, another line for the cellular service. As the boys and I stood in line, hubby checked out all the bargains. I noticed almost everyone had a pink slip of paper. So I asked the couple behind me, what it was about. They said a lady was giving them out and you needed one to purchase the phones. Well, I needed one of those pieces of paper. Leaving the boys to guard our place, I trekked down the lady.

Can I have one of those papers?

What phone do you want? she asked.

The DROID Razr Maxx, I replied.

The look of pity that crossed her face was my clue. I’m sorry, this store doesn’t handle Verizon.

What? Best Buy is supposed to handle ALL carriers.

Oh no, Verizon is not in West Virginia.

Okay, what are we to do? How about Hagerstown, Maryland?

No, that store doesn’t carry Verizon either.

So I text the hubby and we leave.

The next morning I wake up early, half aggravated. After all this was the right plan, the right phone for the right price. But only on Black Friday. On to Plan B. I bring up the Best Buy website. Okay, they have the same deal on-line. Let’s get this sucker done. Forty-five slow minutes later after I promised my first born, the Best Buy computer had trouble interfacing with the Verizon computer. They couldn’t verify my credit. Please try again later. What? Or, in small print down below, please call 1-800-bla-blah. So I called. They weren’t going to stop me.

They actually picked up the phone. I explained my dilemma to the nice kid on the other side of the line. He sympathized, unlike the computer. We go through the whole thing again and he has to manually verify credit because the system is overloaded. Okay, I’ve only been at this for an hour and a half so far. Plus the two hours wasted from the night before. Another fifteen minutes and we were ready to rock and roll. All that was left to do was for me to press the number one accepting the terms and conditions. My phone screen turned black… nothing. The darn thing had been acting up and I wanted to haul the sucker out the window. Hubby grabbed the phone at my wail of Oh, no. He tapped it against his hand, trying to get it to light up. No luck. Somehow the call got disconnected. I split a few verbs before I redialed.

When Best Buy answered the second time, I asked for the guy who’d been helping me. New guy said, no problem, he could help me. As I gave him my name, I warned him I was frustrated and while the computer took it’s time bringing up info, I regaled him with my long tale of woe. I could feel his nervousness over the line. But low and behold, my information came up, or so he told me.

Another forty-five minutes later, same problem with the credit computer being overworked and he read my order back to me. Except instead of the three phones I needed, he only ordered one. He didn’t have all my info as he thought. He had to go back…no…again… and this time he warned me they only had one-hundred, forty-three phones left. Then you better hurry up, I told him. Six hours later, I had the all important order number. As my friend said to me, Hon, nothing’s really free.

And just last evening I went to Verizon to get the phones activated. Next week I’m registered for a class on how to use my new piece of technology. Wish me luck.

Marilyn Baron - December 4, 2012 - 12:26 am

Your friend is right. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. I felt like I was standing right there in line with you. But you have more patience than I do. I have heard of Droids but don’t know anything about them. I love my iPhone and had to learn to live without my Blackberry so I don’t need any more complications in my life. I enjoyed your post.

Linsey Lanier - December 4, 2012 - 8:16 am

No such thing as free is right. And here’s another one: time is money. Sigh. I hope learning to use your new phone won’t be as much aggravation for you as getting it, Sia (or it has been for me–I still can’t figure out some of its features).

You can tell your kids, when “In my day we didn’t have touchscreens. We dialed.” lol.

But anyway, the experience made a good post. ;)

Tamara LeBlanc - December 4, 2012 - 10:16 am

I’m SOOOO sorry you had to deal with all that. My blood pressure rose just reading this post.
You’ve always been amazingly sweet and soft spoken, and kind hearted. This is going to sound awful, but those guys are lucky the fiasco Best Buy was responsible for was with you…and not me.
I’m much less sweet, much less soft spoken, much less kind.
I would have probably blown up at the woman handing out the pink slips. I would have been one of those crazed lunatics they show on news casts during black Friday, yelling and screaming and getting themselves thrown in jail, all for a phone.
I’m not glad this happened to you, Sia, but those employees better be, because they could have had the misfortune to have had to dealt with me.
I’m very happy you got your phone.
Have fun with it!!! And have a very happy week!! :)
Tamara

Pam Asberry - December 4, 2012 - 11:08 am

There isn’t anything I want badly enough to stand in line for on Black Friday but this year my 16yo and his best friend stood in line at Best Buy to get three 40″ televisions – two for us and one for his friend. Several hours later, they left the store with RECEIPTS, and not for the TV’s they went in for (there were only 14 of those in stock to begin with) but a different brand and model, only $150 each! Nathan is loving having a TV in his room, and I will admit I am enjoying having that bigger screen in the living room (and having our old flat screen in my bedroom). I am sure you all will enjoy your new phones, too, and it will all have been worth it in the end!

Maxine - December 4, 2012 - 2:38 pm

Things like this make me want to crawl in a cabin with a manual typewriter, a “princess” phone and a big drink. So sorry, Sia. I do hope you learn how to use your new phone. I’m due a new one in January. I almost dread it except mine is really old and I’ll definitely have to learn new info.

Sia Huff - December 4, 2012 - 2:41 pm

Glad you enjoyed my post, Marilyn. I’m not sure about patiences. At some point I got pretty determined. Glad to hear your learned to live without your Blackberry. I’m looking forward to my class next week, so I don’t have to ask my son each & every question.

Sia Huff - December 4, 2012 - 2:55 pm

Your right, Linsey. Time is money. Funny thing is, I don’t have time to learn it… yet. Hopefully, next week things will calm down and I can learn this sucker. Then I’ll be wheeling and dealing like it’s old hat. LOL.
I tell my kids now, about when we went on vacation, the little town in upstate NY, when you dialed on a roterty phone you only needed 4 digits. Being from Metro DC, we were already at a whopping 7 digits.

Sia Huff - December 4, 2012 - 3:02 pm

I love you, Tamara. Sorry to make your BP rise. Mine was pretty iffy at the time. No doubt about it, those Best Buy employees were overwhelmed.
Every once in awhile, I become one of crazed lunatics. Then I embarass my sons. For some reason they don’t like it when I get assertive. Mmmm, oh well.
Thanks for commenting and have a wonderful week too. :)

Sia Huff - December 4, 2012 - 3:06 pm

Pam, you’re one smart woman. Send your kids to do the dirty work…I mean stand in the long lines. Great deal on TV’s. I’m glad your enjoying the good deal.
I’m looking forward to figuring the DROID out. The Verizon guy was sweet and showed me a few things. But, I’m glad he’s giving a class. I love learning & believe it will be worth it.

Sia Huff - December 4, 2012 - 3:11 pm

Hi Maxine,
Yes, I’m with you…cabin…woods…peace. Ahhh. I love the Princess phone.
I hope I learn to use a bunch of the applications. (How’s that you technical talk?) I’ll let you know how this sucker works out for me and you can look at it and see if you might want one too. January is rigth around the corner :)

Laura Russell - December 5, 2012 - 2:08 am

Well, Sia, I’m waiting for the next installment- getting the phones to work. Somewhere on Black Friday you went into warrior mode– you burned the boats and you had to keep going. Hope the apps make up for the aggravations.

Sandy Elzie - December 5, 2012 - 6:47 am

Oh Sia, I’m soooooo with you girlfriend. I hate technology….guess that’s why God had pity enough on me to give me a hubby & a son who takes all this stuff in stride & can fix them when they don’t respond. Oh yes, and I understand wanting to throw something out the window…I’ve also threatened that a few times.

Loved the post.

Sia Huff - December 5, 2012 - 8:09 am

Hi Laura,
Wow, warrior mode – I love it. Never thought of myself that way. Maybe I should buy one of those Viking hats with the horns and that way the salespeople would understand right away. LOL. Seriously, I had to keep going and do feel good that I actually got the phones.
Okay, I’ll write another installment. I hope it will be more fun. :)

Sia Huff - December 5, 2012 - 8:14 am

Hi Sandy,
It was not pretty. Don’t get me wrong, technology’s great, when it works. I just hate relying on something and it’s down.
And every once in awhile it’s good to yell into the universe. :)

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