Tickled Pink – er. Magenta

We made the switch.  So far, I am pleased as punch.  This transaction has been frighteningly painless.  That does not mean we haven’t encountered hiccups along the way, but we are performing a rather complex series of changes before we will be completely migrated and the important pieces are going along better than I anticipated.

I am old enough to remember when the phone company owned everything.  You rented your phone from them and they were the only dealer in town.  Online wasn’t even a fantasy in the everyday life of an ordinary human being those days.  It continues to overwhelm me when I consider the transaction we are completing in a period of hours, with minimal inconveniences.   To me this whole thing of being able to walk into the store, pick out my device, pay for it, go home and use it is phenomenal!

My biggest complaint is the naming convention of my services plan.  Why in the world does the final consumer ever have to see something as unfriendly as my  ‘ NAC Value Family UNL T&T plan‘ when I am reviewing the information about my brand new account?  It isn’t like there is any grand-fathered information that needs to be tracked here.  My account should be a clean slate.  We just got here.

Please subscription, service providers of the world, simplify life.  Make the information available on a brand, new account end-user friendly.

Took the Leap

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.

What Do I do?

I find this to be one of the most fascinating questions we ever seek to define.

I always like to say, “It depends.  Who is asking?’

The easy answer is I am a consultant.  Is that vague enough?

A lot of the additional response is always framed by the answer to my question, “Who is asking?

I bake.  That is one of the things I do.  Heck, I even made money doing, once upon a time, in a land, far far away.  We call it Kansas.

As a baker, I had to know how to read a recipe.  The recipe provides you the things you need to make something yummy.  Alas, that is but part of what is needed to bake.

Baking is a science and an art.  There is skill involved in creating a work of art from scratch.  This is why I have the utmost respect for those who can do it and make it look so easy.  Although it was amazing, I needed to find a way to make more money, a wee bit easier so that I could take care of the other responsibilities in my life.

I took this skill set of reading the recipe, accurately interpreting it and creating the masterpiece and began applying it to other things in my life so I could finance the rest of my life.  Somehow, slowly I became entrenched in telco, which is where I remain today.

Dang It

So I have been ranting and raving about all kinds of things that have been going through my head, as I attempt to train myself to write a post every day.

Well, one thing that I really haven’t pursued too deeply is my job.  There is a good reason for this.  Sometimes I love it.  Other times I hate it.  The one thing that it has done to me, repeatedly, is divert me from reaching my personal goals.

Thus why I missed posting yesterday.  To be honest, when I got done yesterday.  I was done.  The last thing I ever wanted to do was look at a keyboard, so there was no bloody way  I would be able to post.

I do not see this as a failure, but rather a fence post that it might be a good time to re-adjust my expectations.  Working a bajillion hours on a computer in a day is not necessarily conducive to writing a post on my blog every evening.  So it might be more realistic to adjust my expectations about posting every, single day.

The Hard Way!

I am so blessed!  Both of my parents are still alive!  They are getting older, but I am lucky enough to still have them around!  We are separated by distance, but isn’t the internet supposed to shorten the distance and bridge the miles?  The short answer is no.

My parents have internet access.  My parents connection.  What my parents don’t have is the dexterity to operate a traditional mouse or a basic understanding of how to operate a browser.  It makes it incredibly difficult to share information in a timely fashion without these basic skills.

I am nothing, if not tenacious.  The old saying ‘where there is a will there is a way’ seems to be my motto.  So whenever I try to email my father something, I have him check to make sure he has received it, and then we play the game where he tries to retrieve it or view it.  Heaven forbid he ever have his security settings set so he could allow a link to come across from a trusted source – Me.  I set my account up as a ‘trusted source’ last year, but it appears he has changed his settings, again.  He is a wee bit paranoid, God Bless Him for that!

Well, as he would say, ‘That doesn’t stop old Cisco.’  I have more relatives who are adopters of technology, so I just leverage that.  I tell Dad which relation I am sending the email to.  I add a header to the forwarded message, explaining the situation.  This will usually get a smile.  Wait a bit.  Dad calls the relative.  This is a no-fail solution.  Dad gets what he needs.  My relatives get an opportunity to visit with my father – this is truly time to be treasured!  I get to impress him.    But even I have to admit, this is the hard way.

Thank You Jeopardy

Thank you Jeopardy!  I truly believe you are why my children excel.  When they were young ones, I was the incredible disciplinarian.  They finally saved up enough money to buy a Nintendo and the only game I would let them own was Jeopardy.  I truly believe this is why they like to compete academically.  To this day, we will all make references to the good times we had playing that game and the goofy characters each of us chose.  My thoughts remain the same, there is nothing wrong with good, healthy competition.


PS – my goal for the month of June is to force myself to write a post each day.

New Cell Phone Time

Making the decision to buy a new cell phone.

Guess this is how I justify the expense.

We need them.  Ours are both over 2 years old and that is a lifetime  in cellular telephone technology. Bonus!   – this time I won’t have to go to remedial ‘gesture’ camp so I don’t crack the screen.   When we upgraded to the HTC EVO Shifts a couple of years ago it was a huge leap.  I had had a Samsung flip phone forever.  (A phone that I adored!)  When we got the EVOs I couldn’t even answer it.  For some reason, I couldn’t figure out how to swipe quick enough to answer!  All of my calls went straight to voicemail for the first month or so.  Finally, I had a member of my team show me.  I had to spend a weekend practicing before I finally got it right.

Now, two years later, I am pretty good at using my phone.  Add to that I have a Kindle Fire and an ipad, I pretty much have the whole gesture thing down.  I am not a huge Apple fan.  I love facetime – but I can do that on my ipad.  The iphone has serious limitations, in my humble opinion.  I don’t like closed systems.  I like the ability to add more memory to store pictures and ‘stuff’.  The Windows phone is not even in contention.  Droid it will be.

For years I was a Samsung loyalist, but the EVO was just too cool for school when we upgraded that fateful day over 2 years ago.  Based on everything I have read and the phones that I have played with, it looks like I will be going back to the Samsung.  The biggest question will be the carrier.  I am fond of the whole new approach that T-Mobile is trying.  It is refreshing to see a carrier break from tradition, especially when it is to the benefit of the customer.  My guess is when I make the jump, I will buy it outright, which means I wouldn’t be tied to them any longer than what I want to be anyway…..can’t believe I am even considering breaking with my long standing carrier and going to what has long been considered to be the number 4 carrier, but I like their style.

Keep an eye on this spot.  When it happens, I will report it here.