Saturday, December 8, 2012
My son became eligible for a phone upgrade this past week, so I took him out to get one on Tuesday. We started at WalMart, which was our first mistake. Frankly, it's not my favorite store. I know it's one of the biggest employers in the US, but that doesn't matter. I still cringe at the thought of having to shop there. Ben had seen that they had his phone for $30.00, so I thought we would give it a try.
In the parking lot I told Ben that if I had a bad feeling at all while dealing with the salesperson I would give him the signal, and we would bolt.
The woman we got was less than helpful. When Ben told her he wanted to buy the Sony Xperia Ion which was on sale for .97 cents, she asked him "Why don't you want an iPhone 4? (Which was also on sale for .97). She went on to ask what was so good about the Sony vs. an iPhone. Ben came through with a decent answer, but that's not the point.
When a customer asks for something, you don't counter with a question. You say okay.
She then told him to open the back of it, because she couldn't. Ugh.
Danger Will Robinson, danger!
The transaction went downhill from there. When I told her we were doing a cross-upgrade where we were using my Daughter's eligibility for an upgrade to upgrade Ben, she said "Oh, we would have to activate his phone, effectively killing hers and we would have to take them both to the ATT store and have them straighten it out.
Red flag number two. Sirens are starting to wail in my head.
When I asked her if she could call ATT to verify that she said nope, but that I could. When she tried to see how our upgrade was structured, none of our consumer info came up on the stupid WalMart computer system. She said she would have to manually input all my wife's info including her Drivers License number, which I did not have on me.
Strike three you're out. I gave Ben a slight kick at the ankle, winked at him and whispered, "We're out of here. We'll try Target." He was fine with it. He could see the train beginning to derail, even as a fourteen year old.
We thanked the woman and made up an excuse that we were going to shop around. I wanted no further part of the impending disaster. It did absolutely nothing to restore my faith in the appeal of WalMart.
Off to Target we went. It turns out they did not have a Mobile Center in the store we went to, so it was off to Best Buy. I chose it because rather than try another Target and risk getting a clerk that normally worked in the Jewelry department, I thought we would have better luck at Best Buy. I was more likely to get two clerks who knew what they were doing there than one with no clue at Target.
I was dead on.
We got the mobile center manager to ask us what we needed within a minute of our arrival. I explained about the cross-upgrade and she said "Oh sure, we can do all that, no problem. Let me get you an associate."
She got me a clerk who was courteous patient and professional. She even gave the ATT technician on the phone a bit of flack when they said they couldn't do the switch. She was doing her job, and doing it well. She mentioned the $10/mo insurance which I declined. She said "No problem"
Within 25 minutes I left the store with a $500 phone having spent $1.05. Both phones were working, account was switched, Ben was happy, I was happy.
You just don't get that at WalMart.