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New Relationship Plans From Sprint

March 16, 2011

“Well, I mean, how is he your boyfriend if you live in Seattle and he lives in California, anyway?”  I thought about whether or not to bother explaining this to him. He had not even been able to answer my simple question about canceling my Sprint contract, I was thinking the nuances of love might be a tad complicated for him.  “Are you getting married? At least moving in with him?”

As if customer service moving to India wasn’t bad enough, it’s now all run by Jewish grandmothers? Would you like to comment on my diet and clothing as well?

“If there was some way to prove that you lived in Sonoma now, we may be able to let you out of your contract, can you prove that?” 

“But I don’t live in Sonoma, I live in Seattle.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“I spend huge chunks of time in the Sonoma Valley, you have no coverage there, at all, your service doesn’t work there. I cannot drop off the face of the earth just because you don’t have coverage there. I need to switch to Verizon.”

“Well, really, you drop off the face of the earth because your so-called boyfriend  lives there.”

I can’t really argue with that.

He checks their coverage map. “Ya, we have no service there at all. You’d be lucky to get a roaming signal.”  Verizon works there.

“Are you going to fix that?”

“Probably not. I mean, I could make a note of it, but, seeing as you are a Seattle customer, it won’t mean anything, we’d need customer complaints from people who live there.”

“Nobody who lives there would have Sprint, now would they.”

“Nope. We don’t have any customer complaints from there.”

They also don’t have any customers there, but that’s splitting hairs. It’s pretty clear that customers are not a high priority anyway.

“So, are you? Are you moving in with him, getting married?”

For fuck’s sake, I don’t even want to think about that. Admitting we were in love was like giving birth to squirmy elephants wearing spiked collars through our nostrils. We’re stubborn, independent, jaded, and a little confused. I don’t want to lock anyone into anything, I just want a fucking phone signal and access to my email.  I’ve been with Sprint since 1993, when my phone was the size of a brick and I was the only person I knew who had one. I stayed with Sprint even after I switched to a Mac and desperately wanted an iPhone. Changing my mobile carrier is enough of a commitment for me.

But ya, I spend a lot of time down there, and I’d like to spend more. Further, the drive to and from involves remote mountain passes, in which I have now broken down twice, so having a signal is a safety issue. Not to mention that he lives in the middle of nowhere, there are more sheep than people, and if I accidentally blow the place up trying to turn on the generator, I’d like to be able to call for help. Not to mention that I have a child, and work, so I can’t just go off to la-la land, much as I’d like to.

“Why are you working if you’re on vacation?”

“It’s not a vacation, it’s a relationship.”

“Why don’t you just change your address?”

Let’s see, there’s my health insurance, my daughter’s school, and the fact that, I dunno, I LIVE IN SEATTLE! Changing my address is a big deal. I just want a cell signal.

“I mean, if he’s your boyfriend, like you say, he should just add you on his Verizon plan.” Right, because that’s his responsibility, why? No, we are not family, I am not his problem to solve, what is this, 1950?

“Okay, that’s ridiculous, but let’s say I did that, can I transfer my number?”

“No, you’d have to be out of your contract for that.”

“The contract that I can’t get out of unless I get married and move to California?”


So really, no one would be able to get me anyway, unless I tell them my second number.

(Which, by the way, is having one of your customers tell everyone they know that your service is so bad that she had to get a back up service to do what she already pays you to do. That’s not a great move, but I don’t want to tell you how to run your business.)

So, I could have two phone numbers, one here and one there. That’d simplify things. And I could have two plans, and two bills and two phones to deal with. One of which would be sitting stagnant at any given time. That makes good sense. And this from a company I have been with for what is the longest relationship I’ve ever had with anyone or any thing. A company that freely admits they cannot offer me service that I need and pay for.

Look, maybe I do want to run your business for you, so here are some thoughts:

1. The Sonoma Valley is a huge tourist destination for very wealthy people who buy and use mobile devices, get a signal there.

2. It’s bad enough – REALLY bad – that you dis your existing customers who have been with you for nearly 20 years by offering shiny new customers free phones and great rate plans, but not your loyal customers. But to then admit that you can’t meet our needs and insist that we keep paying you is just insulting.

3. Over the course of our relationship, I have probably spent around $30,000 on you. Is the $240 that you want from me, in order to end our relationship in a civilized manner really worth it? How about, “I’m sorry to see you go, but you’ve been loyal and supportive, I’m sorry we can’t meet your needs, but I wish you luck.”

But then, what to I know about relationships?

I know that any good relationship is built on trust, respect and communication. That committing is hard, and letting go is harder. That manipulating and trapping people is not a good idea, in love or business. That when you treat someone badly, the things they go on to say about you will bite you in the ass, so it’s best not to treat people badly.

“If you can prove that you live in Sonoma, we’ll be able to let you out of your contract.”

What a load of crap. You can choose to let me out of my contract because it’s the right thing to do, after admitting that you do not have service in the place where I spend a lot of time. I shouldn’t have to prove that I live there.

Then again, home is where the heart is. I have plenty of photos that can prove that.

Can you hear me now?

This is a dramatic retelling of a very real conversation that I had with Sprint the other day. In truth, it was with two different reps, and I can’t remember who said what. Nor, obviously, do I remember the exact phrasing of their sentences. But I remember every single intonation and insinuation and basic intent. The quotes are not exact. The inane nature of it is. Good bye Sprint. Hello iPhone, and Verizon.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Brewster permalink
    October 9, 2012 6:01 am

    Sprint has over sold phones and broadband cards without enough “Band width” to provide service. They have sold so many plans and broadband devices with out keeping up their cell phone tower capacity that mid day (high usage) all of their devices become intermittent or unusable. I have had sprint service well over 10 years and with in the last year my phone & data card are unusable from 10:00AM until 3:00PM due to lack of Sprints data “bandwidth” capacity. I found this especially true in the Sonoma California area between the intersection of HWY 101/HWY 37 through the city of Sonoma up to the Napa county line, and west up to Petaluma. This was confirmed after I contacted the PUC and spoke with Sprint (“off the record”).
    So if you need a reliable wireless device DO NOT CHOOSE SPRINT!!

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