Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Why Is This So Hard?

For pure entertainment value, nothing beats Rogers Wireless customer service.

In most ways, I loathe the idea of electronic collars. But I made an exception when Rogers offered a rock-bottom deal through my employer. I managed to get 2 cellphones for less then the street-price of 1 phone, and this lets my oh-so-active daughter keep in touch with her oh-so-neurotic Dad. So, yes, we wear electronic collars.

Just a tangent - the only other exception I'd ever make on the whole electronic collar issue is for those perimeter wires that train your dog to 'stay put' via electronic shocks. I don't own a dog, but I think this technology has fun possibilities. I'm guessing the legal, moral, and philosophical issues are probably a little thorny.

Back to the phones. So I have 2 of them, and I discovered that this model (they're identical) will work in Europe, but they don't support the cell frequencies used in England and France. I wanted the comfort of a cellphone for our upcoming vacation, so I did some research and found that the current generation of phones will work fine for us.

I went to Rogers with the simple goal of replacing my phone, and I was prepared to pay. I wasn't looking for anything else: no changes to my account, no extra services, nothing. I quickly learned that I'm naive. Where cell service is concerned, nothing is simple.

First off, the Rogers outlet was staffed by teenagers, on a Wednesday, in the middle of the day. Great, I thought. Highly educated service technicians. Turns out one fellow was the Veteran and he was supposed to be training the New Guy.

Over the course of the next 40 - count 'em - minutes, I descended into a bureauatic miasma that even I found breathtaking - and I've spent the last 25 years working in multinational corporations. I will never be able to recreate the conversation that, at various points, brought Veteran, New Guy, and myself close to blows.

The highlights:
  • I have a 'corporate plan', and store computers can't access these. They had to phone someone, somewhere who could see Who I Am and What I Have.
  • paper forms needed to be filled out like I was opening a new account, except they wrote 'hardware upgrade' across the top of the form. I fear this.
  • Veteran thought my corporate plan sounded too good to be true. I must be mistaken, apparently. This made me mad at Veteran.
  • my new phone was a free upgrade! Naturally this makes me nervous. Nothing is 'free'.
  • the new phone takes pictures and videos, and plays MP3s, and surfs the Web, and plays games! I'm kinda hoping it makes phone calls.
  • Veteran was sick of New Guy, and the feeling was mutual. This erupted into frequent verbal fisticuffs.
  • you need to write down several codes to replace a phone. They are secret, and I believe they can cure the sick, raise the dead, and hack HD-DVD videos.

40 minutes for this. My favorite part - as I left the store New Guy gave me a wink and let me know this would have been much easier, but Veteran is kind of an asshole.

I can't wait to open my next Rogers Wireless bill.

I'm anticipating a Part 2 to this story.


Sonny Drysdale said...

Crazy - isn't that the same company that uses the talking beavers in their commercials?

You know you're dealing with incomps when they hire Norm McDonald for voice-overs and make him the straight man (or beaver.)

Sheena said...

Yeah, you figure Richard Branson would be the one putting beaver in his cell phone ads.

whitenoise said...

Deja vu, man! Except that the teenagers in the store I visited were comically buzzed out on energy drinks. (Can anyone ever sleep after that much caffeine?)

I got sent on a wild goose chase and visited 3 different outlets only to discover that my corporate plan could only be administered by the call-in people.

The one up-side was getting a $50 credit to my account for the bad information and inconvenience.

On second thought, probably not a great deal for 2 hours of my time and 30+ KM in my car.

Carmi said...

With Rogers, there's always a part 2. And 3, and...

I just went a-shopping for a smartphone after waking up in the middle of the night and realizing I needed to quit my job. Just like that: got sick of working 100-hour weeks so someone else could drive a Mercedes. I wanted the Mercedes.

So I found myself bouncing between the wireless stores after spending most of the previous evening doing mucho research online. I learned a number of things in the process.

1 - Canadian wireless providers are crooks.
2 - Seeing Canadian plans and prices next to American plans and prices will make a grown man cry. How do I know this? Trust me.
3 - Rogers hires cro magnon for its stores.
4 - Bell's staff are somewhat better intentioned, but they're still selling for thieves.
5 - Third party stores will outright lie to you to get your business. Even when you're sitting on the bench in the middle of the mall minding your own business.

I could go on, but I'll stop for now. I'm glad I made it home unscathed. And my new phone works like a charm. I even moblogged with it for the first time last night. Rockin'!

Anonymous said...