So we did it. We made the break today and have brand, spanking new Samsung S4’s. We also switched carriers, which wasn’t as painful as I feared it would be. It had been so long since we had done any wireless purchases, I forgot how long it takes, even while you are keeping the process moving right along. Fortunately, I understood everything that was happening, but I feel for folks who aren’t familiar with what it takes to actually complete the transaction.
We believed one of the large box stores’ marketing, so we started there. Alas, their messaging is mis-leading. They weren’t able to sell me what I wanted to purchase. I will have to admit, it was a little bit fun letting them try to talk me into doing something I didn’t want to do and knew it all along. Finally, I had enough, so I schooled them in wireless, then marched on out of their door to the carrier’s store so I could make the deal I wanted to make. I kind of thought that was what we would have to do, but it was worth the stop.
The retail representative who took care of us was marvelous. How refreshing to talk with someone who obviously knew her stuff. As we were porting two numbers and purchasing 2 brand new lines, we were there for quite awhile. We weren’t inconveniencing anyone. There was only one other customer in the store, when we arrived. I didn’t pay much attention, but apparently he wasn’t having a very nice day. I did notice that he had a sense of entitlement that I always find irritating, but quickly recognized it was none of my business and dismissed the interaction.
We have moved to the back of the store, striking up a conversation with those working. As far as buyers go, we had few questions. Anyone who has been following along on my trials and travails for the last few weeks knows that I have been doing my homework. I already knew what phones we would be purchasing. I already knew what plans we needed to meet our usage needs. I even knew the accessories we would be buying and was ready to go elsewhere to locate those, if I couldn’t strike a fair deal.
Mr. Grumpy Pants – the overly-entitled customer who was in the store when we arrived – quickly left. Guess he was in a hurry for tee time or he just has a stick up his butt in general. We had the full attention of everyone staffing the floor. It was marvelous! Everyone was engaged. I think good retail representatives truly have a passion for what they do and are delighted to be able to talk speak and not have to worry about fit because it was obvious we understood the purchase we had come to make.
I think in our conspicuous consumption society, our retail folks have been handi-capped with always having to assess the deal. There are what can appear to be so many rules and regulations around ‘qualifying the customer’ that the retail representative jumps too quickly into dealing with what can be the ugliness of a purchase greater than 25 cents. The staff in the store today had the discipline to resist pre-qualifying us before we were ready to part with our precious identities. For that composure I give them kudos. I am one of those informed consumers who will walk out if I don’t get what I need. For me, the differentiator is customer service. But I am also the customer who isn’t sitting on the edge, deep in debt attempting to add to that hole I have already dug.
The sad part is societal. The reason a good retail representative rushes to pre-qualify a customer is the result of so many bad decisions on the part of so many members of society. We live to buy and buy to live. A lot of Americans live at the edge of their income and think they have to have the next, latest and greatest model of whatever the dailies tell us is hot and have created the current sales environment. The need to pre-qualify a prospect is no longer a sales technique spun up by the likes of Zig Zigler and other teach-you-to-sell-successfully mantrepreneurs* There is an easy fix to the situation. It is one that I am in control. I don’t live beyond my means. My means determines my ability to do something. If I don’t have it, I don’t do it. P-E-R-I-O-D. But people who think that way are not the people that keep the consumeristic market moving forward.
To the amazing people at my new carrier who took care of us today – Thank you for an absolutely pleasant experience with no perceptible cognitive dissonance this evening!
Final note – because it took us so long to complete all of the data transfers, porting, paperwork, Mr. Grumpy Pants was back to complete the transaction that he didn’t have time to finish when we had first arrived at the store. Karma exists. By now, the store is full. Mr. GP is no longer the first in queue, as a matter of face, he is last. The store is bustling with activity and he is trying to jump the line. He was starting to get loud and bully-ish, when I remembered the reading glasses we had found on the cashier station when we first began to complete our transaction. I mentioned it to the retail representative and she took them over to ask him if they were his. Low and behold, they were. He was so grateful to have found them, that he stopped being a complete jack-ass to everyone in the store. I just kind of smiled to myself.
*Wise-ism: Mantrepreneurs – anyone that I have ever read and consider to be a talking head out to make money. I made it up. It is my own definition.