Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Think of the Savings - Cell Phone Edition

Or "What would you do with $50?"

On Monday morning, my cell phone met its untimely death. It decided I had dropped it one too many times. When I opened the cover later in the day, it snapped right off. Fortunately, my two-year contract was up at the beginning of April. So I don't have to pay an arm and a leg more for a new phone. Just an arm and two years.

I stopped by the nearest Verizon store after work to see the current cell phone offerings. Yes, I said "cell phone." Not "smart phone." Since I sit in front of a computer all day and have the Internet at home, there's no need for me to be tethered to my phone for my short commute or on the weekends. Sometimes it's nice to disconnect.

Plus, I had to think of the savings. Even if the phones were the exact same price, I'd be paying $30/month more for the data plan and I don't need a third "computer." If I want to access the Internet on a cell phone, it's only $10/month (about a half hour a day for the whole month). Yes, I would have to pay retail if I want to switch to a smart phone before 20 months, but the savings from not having a data plan should offset the increase. Plus, the price of electronics tends to decrease over time as their use becomes more prevalent.

So I stuck with my basic phone. And this is where things get especially interesting.

From Verizon
At the Verizon store, I settled on the Pantech Crux. It looks like a smart phone, but is a cell phone. After rebate, it should only be $50. Not too bad. But they don't sell that phone in the store. Verizon would order it for me and have it shipped two days later. Not a problem since I can still text and use the speakerphone.

When I got home and showed John the phone on the Verizon website, I see that the phone is FREE. WHAT?!?! It's as if the Verizon store ordered the phone online, shipped the phone to me, and pocketed $50. I could possibly understand paying a little more in the store for the convenience of walking out with a phone, but having to wait the same amount of time seems a little absurd.

So I called the store and then customer service to see if I could get a price adjustment. At first, things seemed futile. Even though I called about one hour after leaving the store, my order had already been processed so there was no way to cancel it. Thanks to some careful working by customer service (I didn't catch her name, but thank you Verizon Wireless customer service lady!), we're going to try a new strategy. I'll let you know how things work out. Hopefully I don't wind up with a Zach Morris phone!

To be continued...
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  1. Love this post!

    Monique xx


  2. Good luck! Verizon is weird that way with phone prices and I am so glad you got a nice CS rep... they are rare!

    I am in the same boat -- just a plain jane cell phone, nothing smart about it. Someday when Verizon stops charging an arm and a leg for unlimited data, I will switch. Because by then, pigs will have sprouted wings and all cell phones will be smart, right?

  3. Ha, just laughed out loud when I got to the Zach Morris picture - I swear, our first cell phone was that big!! Looks like you made a great choice - it actually looks like a smart phone, how funny!

  4. Monique - Glad you liked it! And hopefully you don't have to deal with a similar situation.

    Lu - I'm with you! I'm also hoping that plan prices will drop by the time I'm forced to get a smart phone.

    Piper - I remember having a phone that was a little brick-like, but not quite up to Zach Morris proportions.


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