Wednesday, August 29, 2007

WWND: What would Nader do?

We've got a real problem in America with cellular phones. There's clearly an oligopoly - thank you Freakonomics/Mr. Ehrman - and we, the consumers, are all victims.

When it comes to cars, we have many choices of what to buy: New, used, pre-owned, leased....and there are at least a dozen credible manufacturers and many choices of where to buy them (dealerships, ebay, craigslist, etc.) - but with cellular phones, we are slaves to a horrible, horrible system.

My only hope is that George Hotz will one day find a solution to my woes.

Today, I went into my local Verizon store in Rockville Center (the place is always overcrowded with people, so I arrived soon after the store opened) only to find an establishment that was in the midst of chaos. Order of events that lead to my madness:

1. Arrive at store and sign in to Customer Service section using fancy touch-screen.
2. Woman X arrives at store and signs in to Technical Service section.
3. Woman X is called to Technical Service only to realize that she intended to sign up or Customer Service.
4. Woman X signs up for Customer Service.
5. I am next on line according to the big screen and Woman X is directly after me.
6. Woman X (damn yuppy) decides that she's too good for the line and while I'm fiddling around with a Blackberry she bypasses the line completely, and only after she is already being helped by the unwitting service agent do I realize her offense.
7. I go over to her and say, "Excuse me ma'am, there's a line." I point to the screen with her name below mine.
8. She replies, "But I was here for an hour last week."
9. I am astounded. This woman has no concept.

SYNERGY AT WORK: Verizon's oligopoly + Verizon's inefficiencies + Yuppy Woman = Equivalent of a week spent in a state penitientiary in terms of how much aggravation this situation causes me.

Why can't we have indy phone companies to avoid the crap in the same way that we have indy movie theatres to avoid the crap?

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