But Is It In Stock?

Have you been cellphone shopping lately? It’s a bit of a faff considering the COVID crap and not being allowed in the store. While I do get it – even with a mask it’s not completely safe – my phone is 98% dead and since it’s the only one I have, I’d like a new one. It happens. Here’s my catch, though. Why has shopping for this, even online, become so unnecessarily complicated?

I went to my cell provider’s website to find a new phone. (If you want to know which provider it is, see previous entries.) I found a fairly nice and inexpensive one and thought the easiest way to get it would be to pick it up from a local store… of which there are numerous. There was a pop-up on the site that I found remarkably annoying that said “talk with a representative.” Fine. I’ll try to chat here about it.

After clicking the button, I was greeted not with a “hello” or “how may I help you?” but a “if you are a returning customer, would you log in?” I responded with, “why? I just have a question about something being in stock.”

“Because we can serve you better that way,” was the reply.

“All I want to know is if you have [phone x] in stock near [my location]. Can you look that up?”

“Not unless you log in.”

“Really? So, what you’re saying is that if I log in, then you might be more inclined to have it in stock? That would seem counterproductive. What if I’m not a returning customer? Does that mean you won’t have it in stock? Or are you being sneaky and if I’m a new customer you will have it in stock to lure me in and won’t have it in stock if I am because you don’t care about retaining my patronage?”

Yes, I did send that. There was a pause. A rather length pause. I like to picture someone at the other end reading that and calling for a manager to say, “um… he does have a good point.” After several minutes, I finally received the reply that they can’t look up stock in individual stores anyway. I’m not sure if he ‘hung up’ on me at that point, but I did make a mental note that their online customer service is about as good as any cell company I’ve dealt with so far. I suppose I’ll have to wait until there’s a vaccine for COVID. If you need to contact me, you have my email. (It’s on the blog page 😉 )

** UPDATE **

I tried to buy the damn phone online and their credit card system was down… globally. Because I’m not comfortable enough doing this.

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