Jeff, All I Really Wanted Was A Phone
THIS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT . . .
CELLPHONES AT WORK IN OUR SOCIETY:
HAS THIS EVER HAPPENED TO YOU?
Hopefully not. You wake up one morning and suddenly have the urge to go out and buy yourself a cellphone. Easy task, you say? Think again. It's rough. Tough. And frustrating, trying to deal with an overly-aggressive cellphone sales rep who insists on selling you everything but a phone.
DISCLAIMER: this hub is in no way a bad reflection of any national or upstart cellphone company. Just my own personal observations and reports of a day when I wished I had stayed in bed, instead of giving-in to the temptation of buying a cellphone.
Hope you enjoy this hub. And I personally want to . . .
"THANK YOU FOR TAKING TIME TO READ THIS."
Hit the music. "Oh What A Beautiful Morning," if you please.
This is a story about yours truly. "Jeff Langley," a cellphone sales representative. And an experience that forever changed my life.
I will never forget it. It was a sunny day that certain July morning. I awoke around 7:30 a.m., stretched. Yawned. And wondered why I had gotten up so early. Then I remembered. I wanted to go buy myself a cellphone. Then I got excited as I made my way to my kitchen for a cup of Community coffee. Black. And one Pop Tart. The 'real' breakfast of champions.
I showered. Dressed. And for some reason, was extremely happy as I whistled, "Call Me," by 80's supergroup, Deborah Harry and Blondie. I checked my appearance in my bathroom mirror. I looked very decent. For a man about to have the adventure of his life.
Arriving at the solitary shopping mall, "E-Z Bargain Shop-A-Rama," in my hometown, I noticed a huge, loud-colored orange plastic sign that said "Now Open For Business," hung atop our newest addition to the business sector, a cellphone store. Yes. A cellphone store. A store that just sold cellphones. Nothing else. No used cars. Imitation wood furniture. But cellphones. I loved that business strategy of just selling cellphones. I am an organized man. And shopper. I hate to have too many products to choose from in one store.
When I opened the extra-clean glass doors, I heard a friendly, aggressive voice say, "Hi, welcome to, "Your Cellphone Store," that was the name of the store. Very fitting. Since its only product were cellphones. I heard the soft elevator music over the store's music system. I was getting more relaxed by the minute. I knew at that moment that I had made a wise choice of buying a cellphone on this particular sunny day in July.
"Hi," I replied. This slim. Neat-looking. Young man seemed to gallop in my direction with his hand out. "My name is Jeff Langley. I will be your sales rep if you need any help, just ask me. I am very glad that you chose Your Cellphone Store for your cellphone purchase. I trust that you will be satisfied with our vast selection of today's most-popular cellphone brands." he said while I stood there amazed at how articulate he was. Well-spoken. Clean-shaven. I think he was wearing Polo cologne for men.
"Well, Jeff," I said. "I was in the market for a cellphone. And a cellphone that is mainly a phone. I do not need all the "bells and whistles," that come with most cell's, just a cellphone that's just a phone." I stated while Jeff stood stationary with his eyes glazed with confusion, and yet showing some coherence.
"Just follow me, sir," Jeff said walking briskly as if I were a newbie that had just gotten off a farm truck outside. "I think I have just the cellphone you need," he added winking at me as a sign of assurance.
He picked up a cellphone and handed it to me. I looked. Looked. And looked some more for some button to push, probably labelled, "call," or "talk," but couldn't find one. At this point I was looking and feeling pretty stupid. I'm almost positive that Jeff sensed this too.
"Uh, may I ask you a question, Jeff?" I said hoping to cover my ignorance.
"Sure, sir. That's how I make my paycheck," he joked. I think his company must have given him and his colleagues a course in funny one-liners to keep customers relaxed.
"How do I call people on this phone?" I asked handing him the phone.
"Ohhh, I'm sorry. That would be the Yaketty Yakk 2000. Come this way," Jeff said as he led me to another aisle in the store. "This is the cellphone you need. It takes pictures, records videos, talks to you about stock reports, lets you watch television, and of couse text, chat, and use it for Morse Code if you are ever lost at sea," he said in his finest sales voice.
I was in shock. Not for how much this cellphone could do, but how intelligent Jeff was about knowing his product. America needs more "Jeff's" on the nation's sales floors. "But, son, I only want a cellphone, now listen carefully, that--is--just--for--talking," I said extra-slow as to not confuse Jeff more than he was.
"Ohhh, stupid me. What am I thinking? Where is my head?" he laughed. "Must have been that late-night Christian dating service I was talking to last night on my cellphone. Kept me up 'til almost 10 p.m.," Jeff explained to me. At this point I was impressed at a young man who still cherishes good, moral choices in girls. And bedtimes. "This, sir, beats the fire out of The Yaketty Yak 2000. Yes, sir. This is The Laser-Galaxy Cruiser 500! Slim. Trim. Has an easy, monthly plan that is lower than most national cellphone companies. It also lets you text 500 words a minute, records full-length movies, you can chat with people in China, make yourself reminders about meetings and if you are about some clean fun, The Laser-Galaxy Cruiser 500 can convert into a pellet rifle for shooting tin cans, of course, in an approved shooting course, sir." he said almost out of breath from that, in my opinion, the best sales pitch I had ever heard.
"Nice, Jeff. Very nice. I like the color black too. Hey, an app for road maps if I ever travel coast-to-coast," I exclaimed. "But how do I call my friends on this cellphone, Jeff? Just show me that ONE APPLICATION and I will buy this on the spot. Now," I said with conviction in my voice.
"Call people? You mean, uhh, dial their number, and uhh, (chuckles here), actually talk to them?" Jeff asked with the innocence of a schoolboy in a Normal Rockwell painting.
"Yes, Jeff. Talk to people. Like we are doing now. Except on a cellphone," I said now growing very weary of this entire experience. And the store music was now getting on my frayed nerves.
"Pardon my ignorance, sir. I beg your forgiveness. I have accidentally led you into the wrong aisle. Please do not tell my boss, who's looking at us. Okay? I might lose my job and I have student loans to pay-off. Please?" Jeff pleaded under his breath as he led me into the back of the cellphone store to even more cellphones in millions of colors, shapes, sizes, and names. I was now feeling lucky. Maybe those prior experiences were just minor misunderstandings, I thought.
"Here we are, sir. You wanted a cellphone that you can use to talk to people, right?" Jeff said taking a beautiful red cellphone out of its box. "Yes, that's correct, son. Just to talk to people, for at my age, I do not need all those extra things to clutter my mind. Okay?" I said admiring the phone in his hand.
"Well, sir, this is the Video-Master Talker-Texter-Universe 600, made in Austin, Texas and built to withstand most anything such as drops on cement floors, inquisitive toddlers, rain, dirt, and even being thrown to the floor in fits of anger," Jeff said with a tone of confidence in his voice.
"Can I use it to talk to my friends," I asked. Hoping THIS TIME he would say yes.
"Sir, you can use the Video-Master Talker-Texter-Universe 600 to talk in foreign languages to people in Egypt, Germany, Poland and we will throw in a free app for Tokyo if you buy this cellphone today as a Grand Opening Special," Jeff said taking in a deep breath. And reaching into his button-down collar shirt for his gold pen for me to use to sign the deal then and there.
"Son, please! I just wanted to use a cellphone to talk to my friends in America. I have no friends in Egypt, Germany, Poland and Tokyo. I hate to be impatient with you, but do you even understand what I mean by 'just talking' to my friends in America?" I said as humbly as possible.
Jeff looked dejected. Sad. Defeated. A tear came to his right eye. He thought I didn't see it. Then as if a lightning bolt from heaven struck him between the eyes, he yelled, "Talk to people! Yes, sir. I have just the cellphone for you to do that with, sir. Follow me," Jeff said as he had recovered that sure-of-himself spring in his step as we walked even further back into the store. I was getting hungry. It was now almost noon. Lunch time for me. And now I despised the music on the store's music system. I never did like "Panama," by Van Halen set to elevator music.
"Sir," Jeff said. "If you will be so kind as to look at this cellphone. This is the Terrific Talking Master Blaster 750-we got this in just this morning. And between you and I, I would go with this one. It has the most-affordable monthly plan of all our phones," he added hoping too that I would buy the phone in the next five minutes.
"Jeff, you have done an outstanding job of showing me your selection of cellphones, and I will tell your boss just how courteous and helpful you have been, but one more time, can I use this phone to JUST TALK to my friends and family? You know, like a phone should be used for, just to talk?" I said almost in tears.
"Sir, let me tell you this, and this, sir, is confidential. Off the record. The Terrific Talking Master Blaster 750 has app's for using the cellphone as a chainsaw if you need to stock-up on firewood for the winter, a parachute in case you ever get pushed out of an airplane by an angry sky-jacker, a loudspeaker that you can use to quiten down your neighbor's barking pooch, an app that lets you play poker with strangers in Michigan, all night if you wish, an app that lets you use this phone for a skateboard if you are into that hobby, sir, and I saved the best for last, if you are ever left alone in any wilderness in South America, you can actually eat this telephone to say alive. Don't ask me how they did it. I would get fired if I told you," Jeff said knowing that in his heart-of-hearts that the sale was a done deal.
I hated to say the next thing. I had rather be beaten with a leather strap than to say what was on my tongue. "Thanks, Jeff, but please, and this is it. The last time I will ask you, CAN I USE THIS PHONE TO TALK, JUST TALK to my friends and family?" I asked with my chin quivering as I saw Jeff's commission slowly go up in smoke.
Hit the music. "Taps," if you will.
Silence filled the space between Jeff and me. Cold. Cruel. Harsh. Silence. Silence that would kill a charging polar bear in its tracks. Jeff and I stood, for what I thought was ten minutes, just staring at each other. Our eyes locked. Neither of us bulging. Something had to give. And soon. For my stomach was telling me with bear-like growls that I needed a BLT and a Coke. Now.
Then, with the speed of Mercury, mythical messenger of the gods, Jeff flew, not walked, to the check-out counter. Then with one, angry motion, signalled me to come there. Which I did in record-time. I knew that it was time "to pay the piper," for wasting so much of his time.
Jeff, with his dignity still intact, slowly looked around to see whom, if anyone was watching. And then said in a voice that came directly from West Point, "Sir, you said that you wanted a phone that you could use FOR ONLY TALKING? Is that right?"
"Yes, Jeff. That's right. I said that to you," I quietly replied trying not to look into his eyes now taking on the appearance of fire coals in an old fashioned fireplace. Hot. Unbearable. Uncomfortable. Remember, it was a July day.
"This is just what you need, sir," Jeff said as he didn't thank me for coming by his store. Nor did he offer me a hand shake out of courtesy.
What Jeff did hand to me was the old-fashioned, push-button, telephone company-issued telephone that "Your Cellphone Store" used for their business calls and to talk to their customers.
I started out the door with the phone that Jeff gave me.
My trial comes up in two weeks.