antenna stories 1

December 23, 2005




The FedEx man just rang my doorbell the instant I opened this file to start an entry. He brought me a cellphone antenna from Verizon, which made my day.

The story on that antenna begins with the weather. I dropped my cellphone during one or another of the recent snow/ice/weather events. Actually what happened was I had it clipped to my belt when I slipped on the ice and banged into someone's car in the parking lot at Gray Cubicle World. It landed under the car. Somehow the fall dislodged the antenna, which disappeared into the snow. I looked for it but a light gray antenna in a pile of dirty grayish snow is a lot like a needle in a haystack in the visibility department. The phone still worked as long as I was outdoors and in a good spot and didn't move while talking. However, I use the phone indoors and do move around while talking so I really needed to replace the antenna.

Coworkers at Gray Cubicle World, unaware of my extreme phobia of shopping malls (even more extreme at holiday time), brightly pointed out that there's a Verizon store in the Burlington Mall (Gray Cubicle World is in Bedford wicked close to Burlington). I worked up the courage to face the mall, found the Verizon store, and stood patiently in the technical service line for 45 minutes sweating so profusely that I had stripped down to my t-shirt by the time the technical service rep waited on me. "Sure, no problem, $10.98" he says as he disappears into the back room with my phone only to return with an antenna that I can tell at a glance will not fit. He tries to insert the obviously wrong antenna into the phone nonetheless. Light dawns, and it's back to the back room still clutching my phone. The news from the back room is "We don't stock the antenna for that model."

So the Verizon store wants a couple of weeks to obtain an antenna for my Verizon phone. I do not want to leave my phone with them for 2 weeks, nor do I want to return to the mall, nor do I want to wait 2 weeks for an antenna. How can there be an antenna shortage? Did everybody with this model of Verizon/Audiovox phone lose their antenna all at once? I take back the phone and grunt that I'll call them in a week or so.

On the way out of the Verizon store, I run into two coworkers from Gray Cubicle World who ask if I've gotten my antenna (the whole freakin' company knows about this antenna thing I guess). I tell them the story so far. They sympathize and suggest I try eBay. Good idea but since I'm in the mall I figure I'll try Radio Shack. Alas, the Radio Shack guy looks at the phone, looks at their stock of antennas and asks "So when are you due for an upgrade?" "But I just got this one!?!?! I'm not due for like a year and a half!" Back to the cubicle in a mood to tear the "Can you hear me now?" guy limb from limb.

I call Verizon customer service to yell at them for selling me an obsolete phone and not having replacement antennas and in general just for being Verizon. Before I get a chance to vent, the customer service rep answers with the most beautiful southern accent and charms me into politely explaining what happened. She gets a telesales dude on the phone and verifies that I can in fact buy an antenna from them over the phone for $5. I thank her profusely as she transfers me to Mr. Telesales who confirms the particulars and assures me they will Fed Ex the antenna to me and I'll have it Friday (that would be today). Wow! And I wasn't even on hold for a nanosecond. One thing I do want to know though is how they train their call center people in India to sound exactly like the most comforting African American woman in Mississippi?


Today's Reading
Down the Bay
by Wallace P. Stanley, When China Ruled the Seas : The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne, 1405-1433 by Louise Levathes, The Edge of Maine by Geoffrey Wolff

This Year's Reading
2005 Booklist




Journal Index




Copyright © 2005, Janet I. Egan