by Chrysa Smith

I’m reticent when it comes to many things. I have to look at them, touch them, pick them up, examine them, maybe read about them online and then I’ll think about it.
It gets amped up multiple times when it comes to technology–mostly because, I have no clue. So throw me into a phone store and watch out. I turn into an airhead. I am out of my element, not even knowing what I want or need, never mind explaining in techno jargon, what it is I want or need. Whenever I can, I avoid it. If I can’t avoid it, I try to bring my son with me. While he’s away at college, I rehearse my script with my husband multiple times before I go.
So, it’s no surprise either that I don’t have an IPhone, an IPad or any other “I” digital device except for an IPod. And quite frankly, I’d kinda like to keep it that way. If for no other reason that it’s overwhelmingly ‘connected’ for me, I avoid this techo infiltration because it requires that from time to time, you must go to the ‘store’ and deal with that dreaded experience. And it’s not just feeling like a fish out of water, it’s the grueling hour you’ll spend waiting to ask one question.
So, I go to the phone store the other day with my husband. Luckily, it’s his issue with his phone that he has to explain to the resident geek. But before that happens, as it always does, you must check in by entering your name in a computer. OK, no problem. But then the fun begins. There are always a dozen sales people trying to help you. If you want to buy a phone, you can surely do it fairly quickly. They do well at getting ‘sales’ in and out. But go with a service issue and you can be sure you’ll be in there for a good 45 minutes +. And that’s because ‘service’ can mean that money goes out of the cash drawer instead of in. Now, you may upgrade, you may need a new phone or a change in service, but once they’ve got you—you’re dependent. And being dependent means that they can dangle you, make you wait, make you sweat for the help that only they can give you.
There’s always one person waiting on a customer at the service desk, with a couple of geeks on the phone, piddling around behind the counter—and you never really know if they’re busy or just shooting the breeze, while watching the line continue to grow. You know it’s bad because now they’ve installed a wall screen showing just how many customers are there before you. You might even introduce yourself to them because you will know their name and they will likely be standing there with the same look on their face—-disturbed.
There’s an app for most things these days. I say that there should be an app for handling phone problems via the phone–with a live person, living in the US doing what’s needed, what’s wanted, right here and now.