I don’t trust people.

I could have ordered my iPhone 5 on September 21st. I’m awake at that hour. But knowing I was going out of town I waited… That was a mistake.

Then they said you could order online and pick it up in the store the next day. Turns out too many people got the memo. That turned out to be undoable.

Then I was going to be out of the country. I couldn’t order it because the change in my cell plan was pending, the switch to the overseas iteration, but today with my trip canceled and my regular plan intact, I decided to drill down and get it taken care of.

What an ordeal.

I could order from Apple. Like most people. But in my conversations with Verizon regarding my overseas plan, I found out that I qualified for a thirty dollar discount, so I bit the bullet and ordered from them.

Or at least I tried to.

To say Verizon’s website is confusing is to be charitable. You have to select the phone twice. But when it came to selecting the plan, it choked. Said it couldn’t be done.

So I switched browsers. From Safari to Firefox. But in Firefox, the ability to decline insurance was so far off the screen…it was unclickable.

So I decided to start all over and pay extra on the Apple site. Especially since I could get a better case and purchase AppleCare direct. Yup, if you buy via Verizon, you’ve got to go to the Apple Store with your new iPhone, sans any deterioration/scratches, to pay them ninety nine dollars for this warranty.

But Apple said I’d get the phone in the middle of December. And Verizon said I could get it in under two weeks.

So I went back to Verizon. I fired up speedy Chrome. And just when I was finalizing my order I realized… My billing and shipping addresses were different. I was unable to go backwards, it was literally impossible. So I had to start all over to find out you can’t ship to a different address.

It was then that I took the plunge. I picked up my receiver. I dialed Verizon.

My nephew made hundreds of thousands of dollars per year selling automobiles. Impossible you say! Car salesmen are the worst! That’s exactly the case. Which is why Andrew triumphed. Unlike everybody else selling luxury automobiles, he knew the product. I mean if you’re laying down for a Lexus or BMW, shouldn’t your salesman be more knowledgeable about the car than you are?

One great thing about Verizon. If you’re on hold, it doesn’t last long. I got April on the line. I explained my dilemma. She said she could take care of it.

Only one problem, I knew more about the iPhone 5 and the accompanying plans than she did. I knew I had to switch from an unlimited data plan to a tier. I told her I wanted five gigabytes a month. You can change it thereafter, but I figured I’d start large, and avoid penalties. Hell, maybe it’d turn out I needed ten gigabytes!

And I’m going through all the details again and again with April. Because that’s the kind of guy I am, I need to get it right. And she’s getting hot under the collar. And it’s all taking too long, being put on hold over and over. But then finally it’s done.

And two hours later I get an e-mail with the wrong shipping address and the wrong-sized data plan.

So I call and I get Mike. Who wastes ten minutes telling me the shipping address can’t be changed. That we can cancel the order and start all over. How can this be? I can buy the phone at apple.com in a matter of minutes, I’m blowing all afternoon with Verizon?

I ask to speak to his supervisor. Calmly.

He puts me on hold.

Says it’s impossible. He’ll help me.

I say I want the supervisor.

He says she’s out to lunch.

I hang up.

I call Global Support. Because they’re of a higher caliber. Nick is nice, but he can’t figure out how to do it. So I ask for a supervisor. Mike is even nicer, he says the best way to do it is to cancel the order, although I’ll lose my place in line, but I say fine.

But then the phone can’t be reordered. The system needs to clear. Mike says he’s gonna have to call me back in an hour or two.

And he does. And I ordered the phone. But I haven’t gotten the confirmation e-mail yet. I’m praying it will have no mistakes, because I’m beyond frustrated trying to give Verizon my money.

P.S. When Steve Jobs came back to Apple, he immediately streamlined the product line. This had all kinds of benefits. Both supply side and consumer side. You knew what you were buying. And when you go to the Apple Store, they know what they’re selling. Whereas so many fakokta phones are being sold by Verizon that no one’s got a clue. But I guess that’s o.k. They’ll just sell an Android phone whose software can’t be upgraded to someone too dumb to be a power user anyway. Power users, that’s what we’ve all become. We expect our devices to have features and to be able to use them intuitively, without consulting the manual.

P.P.S. If your website sucks, you’re gonna have a hard time making sales. Verizon could have just copied Apple’s site. Amazon gets it right. How could Verizon get it so wrong? This is where the rubber meets the road, why did they have to hire amateurs?

P.P.P.S. Simplicity. This is what kills ticket sales. People have to jump through hoops on Ticketmaster only to find out there are hidden fees. You wonder why they get pissed off? You could sell them all-in, paperless, utilizing Apple’s Passbook, which made a huge dent in the baseball playoffs, but music is balkanized, with competing fiefdoms heeding progress. The players think they’re winning, but they’re losing, the consumer checks out.

P.P.P.P.S You hate Apple, I get it. But when you’ve got a problem with your Samsung phone, who you gonna call? And you may want to hack your device, but very few do. Change your own oil recently? Install your own muffler? People just want their cars to work. Mercedes-Benz made its cars so complicated that its J.D. Power ratings sank and so did its sales. Cutting edge only works if your customers can catch up with you.

P.P.P.P.P.S. It’s the little things. More than being nice. If this is your job, can you do it? It’d be like showing up at the thruway tollbooth and finding out the attendant can’t make change. Huh? If you work as an usher, you’d better know where the seats are. But too often people don’t. There’s no pride in the job. Then again, the pay sucks. But I’m telling you if you can show up on time and do your job you’re gonna go to the head of the class, because most people can do neither, and your boss will notice you and promote you.

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. You know how many times my computer has crashed? Exactly none. I’ve had a hard drive go down, but my point is with technology, it either works or it doesn’t. Isn’t that Apple’s slogan, “It just works!”? That’s what we’re all looking for. I mean I have to get in my car, drive to the Santa Monica Apple Store, park, go inside, wait in line just so I can pay for an extended warranty, i.e. AppleCare? Everybody’s got a lot more money than time. And if you’re selling a premium product, and that’s what an iPhone 5 is, you’ve got to respect the customer, you’ve got to make it easy, you’ve got to save them time.



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7 Responses to “Verizon vs Apple: My iPhone 5”

  1. nicoacademia says:

    so true! much of the world is like this today! (singapore)

  2. gkm says:

    Yeah, you’re a real power user when you’re willing to pay up for the ostensibly unhackable product. Or should that be clueless user.

    You buy an android because it can be upgraded with hacks. I guess if you define ” power user” as someone too clueless to know the potential benefits of hacking then you da man my friend.

    Signed, dumb as a bag of hammers level user.

    Ps leave technology commentary to those less powerful and several years less advanced

  3. BenE says:

    For the love of god get a Nexus 4. No contract, simply pay $350 upfront, seamless integration with your gmail, docs, etc…

    The iOS experience has not been keeping up anyways. In some respect it has been going backwards. It’s not just maps. For example, one of the thing I used most with my iPad was streaming Youtube videos to my TV through my Apple TV. Youtube being a Google product, it seems support for that has been reduced in the latest version of iOS. We now have to toggle my wife’s iPhone in and out of mirroring mode which is less reliable and a lot less seamless than before. My Apple TV offers me to login to my Youtube account but is now incompatible and only leads to an error message.

    I don’t watch enough TV to justify buying cable so I buy all my TV shows with my Apple TV. Last week, TV and movie watching from the Apple TV was down for 3 days in my area. You could watch the previews, buy episodes but then you just got an error message when trying to watch them. Apple never made a statement about it and just left a whole bunch of us complaining on their discussion forums. They also wanted me to commit $35 for a support call for this product.

    Apple’s executives are infighting, retiring, unretiring or getting fired because they don’t like each other. Nobody is steering that ship and it’s starting to have an impact on customers.

  4. nj-professor says:

    Barry….Go Android and you’ll never look back……especially if you’re a gmail/other google product user……

    Dumped the i5 for a Galaxy SIII…..

    I used the Wall Street adage “It shows balls to stop sinking more resources in a company past its prime even if the masses continue to tout it” and am the better man for it!!!!!!

  5. BenE says:

    While we’re on the subject watch a very funny description of the fall lineup of devices here:

  6. subscriptionblocker says:

    Verizon has pretty much always been like this. They force you to their website – which never works, and then start the endless calls and letters….

    As a captive fios customer of theirs for almost 10 yrs, have come to the conclusion that contacting the state PUC first is probably the best strategy (even though I never proceed that way). Once in the PUC’s hands, impossible little problems suddenly get fixed.

    Verizon is a great bafflement. They can’t even get their smtp server to function. If we were served by “public fiber” and could choose any other supplier – we would.

  7. Mike in Nola says:

    A long way to walk for a drink from a poisoned well.