Monday, December 3, 2018
My new dumb smartphone
Lo these many years, I have put it off getting a smartphone. Always figured I could get along just fine with my landline at home, my Kindle on the road and my dumbphone ready to provide voice service as needed. But my dumbphone contract expired and rather than re-up for two years I decided to bite the bullet.
My children enabled me through this process and the day after Thanksgiving my new phone arrived in the mail, part of a bundled deal with Google Fi, a relatively new concept advertised as "seamless wireless." My guys use this service and love it -- cheap and good.
I always thought getting a smartphone was going to be expensive, and the last ten days have done nothing to disabuse me, except it has been expensive in time rather than money. Seems that when we sat down to activate the phone I made a terrible error -- I asked it to transfer over my old dumbphone number, because many of my family members know it. But apparently when I tried to look up what my account number was, I found and entered the wrong number. Bad move.
The system wouldn't allow me to transfer. After trying again a few times I gave up and called Google to tell them to give me a new number. This required 90 minutes on the phone, one hour in queue, a half-hour talking to Christian, who gave me a guilt trip for not knowing my account number, but he would graciously do what it took to back that info out of the system and generate a new number. And so he did, or so he said. When will I learn what it is? It may even happen while we're still on the phone, but if not, then very soon.
Good thing I did not hold my breath, and 30 hours later I got back on the phone. This time it took one hour in queue and more than an hour with Cheryl, who again did the guilt trip and chewed me out for being crabby "before I have even had a chance to start to help you!!!" She told me that Christian shouldn't have promised me a new number because the bad vibes were still there. She went to three higher levels of management approval before getting the system to generate a new number (she knew it did, because she saw it flash by, but too fast for her to write it down). But because it was late in the day it would take 24 hours for me to get activated.
Good thing I did not hold my breath, and 43 hours later I got back on the phone. This time only a half hour in queue, but well over an hour with Sean, who at least spared me the guilt trip. He put me on hold several times while he went to confer with higher levels. He informed me several times that the intervention had begun!! Finally he told me they were about to get me set up, and I would be notified by email "sometime before midnight."
An hour later, my phone made strange noises at me and I tried to make a phone call. It worked!!! I called my landline and it rang!!! But I still didn't know what my phone number is, since my landline is just as dumb as my old dumbphone. And I'm still waiting for the notification email that I was promised, not to mention a response to the email I sent them three days ago to complain.
Later I called my son and he read off my phone number from his phone, so now I know it.
It only took seven hours of my life to get it activated. During my many hours on hold I have discovered that Google is apparently saving money on background music as well as on adequate staffing for the help lines. While you're in queue you get several different tracks, but after you've been "helped" and get put on hold, it's the same damn three minutes of music over and over and over. I calculate I have heard those three minutes about 50 times in the last four days. And it's not even particularly good music.
If you're contemplating signing up with Google Fi you may want to avoid transferring your old phone number. And go to the bathroom before you place your call to customer "service."