January 18th, 2008


I Should Have Stayed with the Terrorist Phone

Today was my seventh trip to the Nokia repair outlet and I was not pleased to be there.

At least, when I entered there was no one waiting. I could skip the getting the ticket, waiting idiocy, and get down to business. Silly me.

"You need a ticket," the Drone said, as I approached him.

I looked round. Three Drones behind a counter, doing nothing. On the wall there was an Elvis movie in which Elvis was pretending to be Spanish (or the hero to Spaniards, I couldn't quite tell). I'd seen the same scene the day before, where his stunt double climbed up a cliff and then dived off it to win, or so it seemed, the respect and adoration of a girl. He prays at a little shrine before he jumps, and when I looked round, Elvis was praying. Pray for me, Elvis, I thought, as I hit the button for 'Repairs' and got a piece of paper with a number on it. The Drone brought up the number and I approached him.

"It's not reading the sim card," I said, after the polite hello. "I only got it back yesterday."

"Can I try the sim card?" He was young Asian, working part time, I figured, but there was something condescending in the way he asked for it. It kind of implied that maybe I didn't know how to put a sim card in.

Maybe I was a fucking moron?

"Sure," I said, popping the old phone open and pulling out the sim card. "Have a good time."

He tried it twice.

"Well, it's not reading the sim card."

I figured that was what I said before, but whatever. Don't make a scene. Just get fixed--

"We'll have to send this away for repairs," he said. "Can I get you to fill in this form?"

"I'm not filling in that form again," I said. "In fact, what I want you to do is replace the phone. This is my fourth time here. This is my seventh trip to the Nokia Repair Place, and while I haven't got anything against you personally, I'm tired of having to see you. Also, I'm tired of seeing Elvis pretend to be Spanish. Or maybe he's being Hawaiian. I can't tell. He's dressed like he's some kind of Spanish bullfighter though."

He looked at me, confused.

"Just replace the phone so I don't have to come here anymore."

"Our policy," he said, like a good drone, "is to repair phones. When we can't repair phones, then we replace them if they can't be fixed."

"This is the replacement phone already." I had taken that step into being an annoying customer. I was moving quickly onto irate. You know the magic words I was soon going to say, don't you? Start the count down clock until they come out! "The original problem couldn't be fixed. That was when the phone reset itself once or twice a day. The problem that is with the phone now is a new problem and I don't want to have to come back here an eighth time to pick up another phone you've repaired."

My tone implied what I thought about the claims to repaired, but the Drone was not moved. Like a good indoctrinated child, he said, "I understand that you're annoyed, but that's not our policy--"

"Look," I said, "I know you don't really give a shit. This is a shit job in a giant company. You don't care, I don't care. Truth here is that there is always a second option. Usually a third and forth. And I'm sure Nokia can swallow the cost of my phone just to give me a replacement."

"Our policy," continued the Drone, "is to repair before replacement. I understand that you're annoyed at having to come here so many times, but this is what we do."

"You got a manager?"

Those are the words. Do you have a manager, can I speak to your manager: whatever the sentence is, it has manager in it, and it clearly says that you are going over the head of the Drone and to someone who will authorise for you to be placated. I'm thirty-fucking-one and this is this first time I have ever said those words. I have a friend, L, who says the words all the time, because she can't stand Drone logic; and I have been in the situation where I am the Drone Who Doesn't Care and people have asked for the manager--indeed, in some of those situations, I suggested finding the manager, because I don't care. But this is the first time I have said to a Drone: Go get you manager, explain to him that I am an annoying, unpleasent customer, and have him authorise some kind of thing that will make me happy.

When the Drone returned, he said, "Well, I've spoken with my manager. He's authorised the technician to have a look at your phone right now and he'll either repair it or replace it on the spot. If you don't mind waiting ten, fifteen minutes?"

Now, three months after purchase, my Nokia 6300 seems to be working.

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