Thursday, January 10, 2013

Good Store, Bad Store

This afternoon, while in downtown Columbia, I stopped in the Apple store to check out the iPhones. After a little over two years, my Droid X is showing signs of age; the battery doesn't hold up as long and the touch screen sometimes seems to have a mind of its own. I also think it would be nice if my phone and my iPad worked well together, something that has eluded me with the Droid.

Within five minutes of entering the store, an employee named Erica was helping me. I asked what the difference was between a buying an iPhone at the Apple Store and buying one at the Verizon store. The biggest difference she could think of was that Verizon would try to sell me their extended warranty while Apple pushed their own.

“What about my upgrade credit?” I asked. Verizon had informed that I was eligible for an upgrade credit.

“You’d have to get that from the Verizon store,” she said. Since I had to be over by the Verizon store on Snowden River Parkway later in the afternoon anyway I decided to wait and see if I could get a better deal. I thanked Erica for her time.

That was a mistake.

When I arrived the Verizon store an employee took my name and told me someone would be with me shortly. As I waited, another gentleman approached me and asked if I wanted him to do an analysis of my FiOS account while I was waiting. He said he could probably save me some money. “Sure,” I said.

After pulling up my account on his computer he told me that the plan I currently had was no longer available. He then handed me a brochure with about four new program options, all of which were more expensive than I what I currently had. The cheapest had fewer channels than my existing plan.

“I thought you said you could save me money” I reminded him.

“I can, depending on which bundle you choose and your discounts, the final rate you pay will be about what you’re paying now." 

With some prodding he admitted that this lower rate was only promotional and that it revert to the non discount rate in a couple of years.

I wondered if I really looked that stupid. I told him no thanks. By now I realized that customers who had come into the store after me were being waited on. I walked up to the guy with the tablet who originally took my name.

“It’s showing that we are already helping you,” he said checking his tablet. He seemed genuinely surprised that I wasn't being helped. Perhaps he thought the guy with the bait and switch FiOS scheme was supposedly helping me.

I told him he could just go ahead take my name off the list. I turned around and walked out the door.

I’m going back to see Erica tomorrow.
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