“Once again, I did not sell you THIS protection package, buddy.”
“You don’t need to fucking call me buddy.”
One of my rare and all-too-dreaded visits to Best Buy was not going as I planned. After surviving an amazing Pink Floyd tribute band play The Wall (my favorite album of all time; this is from their encore, and I would have posted “Comfortably Numb,” but my singing is too embarrassing), my Android-powered phone’s SIM card decided to stop working, meaning that I could not make any calls or text when I wasn’t on wifi. “Okay,” I told myself, “I bought a [not cheap] protection plan, and they replaced my phone last time, so I’ll be good now.” But man, I was wronger than Pete Carroll deciding to throw from the 2-yard line when you have Beastmode in the backfield #AllHailTheButler.
I’m gonna turn myself into a punching bag here and say that for 95% of my life, I was not an Apple fan. In 9th grade, I was working on a group project where we had to make a movie trailer, and there were compatibility issues between the camcorder that we were using and the Mac that we were doing the editing on. After about 5 hours of suffering and a dad using, in his words, “grossly illegal” software to fix this issue, I vowed to never again use an Apple product. So when smartphones became a thing, I stayed on #TeamGreenTexts and got a non-Apple powered phone (starts with A and rhymes with “steroid”). Granted, these were also the phones that came “free” with 2-year activation, so that was nice because I’m Jewish.
So I lived in bliss of not owning an Apple product all the way through high school and college. No MacBook Clouds or iPod Randoms or whatever stuff they came out with during those 8+ years. Of course, there were always problems with my phone, but I just chalked it up to me being somehow incompetent with electronics (even though half of my job is writing computer code) and kept on going in my ignorant bliss. Yeah, my friends would tell me that I should switch to an iPhone and a MacBook and all that jazz, but I still had a vendetta against them; I could not let go of the trauma that I endured in ninth grade for one afternoon. Oh yeah, and the iPhones were never free with the upgrades.
So as I grew older, wiser, more mature and taller (just kidding – I’m the same height I was in ninth grade), I started to lose my blind hatred of Apple. I saw iPhones and iPods for what they were: awesome inventions that ran well with a solid user interface. I started to doubt the fact that I was always sticking with the Androids. So in the middle of the winter, during the time that nobody wanted to run with me outside and I needed as much motivation as possible to get outside even when it’s pitch black at 4:30 in the afternoon, I took one baby step to recovery: I bought an iPod Shuffle.
This was one of the best running accessories that I’ve ever bought. I felt like I could run forever listening to Billy Joel and Railroad Earth (give them a listen, and watch one of them play two saxophones at the same time) no matter how cold it was. I began to see the light, and I seriously considered what it would be like to bat for the other team. An iPhone appeared to be on my horizon, but that horizon was a long way in the distance because I was just over halfway into my two-year contract with my current phone, and I had (in my mind) a pretty dope protection plan. Please note that timeframe: just over halfway – like a week over halfway.
So when my SIM card started going all 2009 Britney Spears on me, I thought to myself, “Best Buy will replace the SIM card or they’ll replace the phone: EN OH problemo. It happened when I dropped my old one, it’ll work with this one.” And that was the last thing I said before I turned my back on Best Buy forever. I drove to Best Buy with The Protagonist and my $150 protection plan in tow, confident as Dillon Cheverere when he listens to his own voice (honestly, I’m just low-key jealous; you have a voice akin to Tom Brady’s chin dimple).
When I got to Best Buy, things started well. The wait was short, the dude taking care of me complimented my dope-ass sweatshirt by saying that he would “buy it off my back,” and my SIM card was replaced free of charge. I was in and out in less than 20 minutes, something that I did not think was going to be possible. The Protagonist and I got home, whipped up some delicious frozen margs, turned on a movie that she had to watch for class and began to settle when I looked at my phone to see how my bracket was doing and got the death notification: “NO SIM CARD DETECTED. Please visit your retailer.”
God fucking damnit. You can’t be serious. No way in hell. I grabbed the Protagonist and channeled my inner Carl Edwards for the drive back to
the seventh circle of hell Best Buy. As soon as I stormed in the door, the people at the Mobile stand stopped right in their tracks: they knew their maker had come for them. They bumbled some apology and explanation which sounded something like “sir, we know we’ve dicked you over, so just go to the Geek Squad counter and we’ll try to put the blame on them. Oh yeah, and Tom Brady knew about the footballs and Phish doesn’t deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.” And that was where the fun began.
After waiting 20 minutes for the
Dick Geek Squad to stand behind their desk and help no one, they decided that they should stop shoving their own thumbs in each other’s noses and explain the loophole that would prevent them from helping me. After sitting down with Chad (I don’t know if that was his name, but he exuded a Chad-like vibe), things began to get serious.
“Once again, sir, what is your problem?”
“I bought a protection plan from you guys, and you’re still charging me for a new phone. The last time this, happened, you replaced my phone free of charge.”
“Once again, sir, the protection plan appears to have changed.”
Two things: 1) please stop starting all of your sentences with “once again” because you’re only telling me these things for the first time, and “once again” is a terrible catch phrase, and 2) WHAT DO YOU MEAN THE PROTECTION PLAN HAS CHANGED?!?! After bringing these points up to him, he condescendingly (has the Geek Squad ever done something that’s not dripping with condescension? Like is that a job requirement?) pulled up the plan on his mid-2000s computer monitor. I don’t think they trust apes with modern-day technology.
“Once again, sir, if this had happened within a year of purchase, we could replace it, but because you are clearly out of this year, we cannot. Once again, I don’t know who sold you this protection plan and told you that you could get a free replacement.”
At this point, arguing was futile. There was no way to plead that I was less than a week out of the manufacturer’s warranty or that I was 99% that they had changed protection plans on me. So, I did what I do best: be passive aggressive. Channeling my own soccer mom (by the way, Happy birthday, Mom!), I rattled off my best lines.
“Well this is the last time I’ll ever be shopping here.”
“Does your manager know that you’re fucking people over on these plans?” (note that the replacement plan and the service cost of replacement was as much as just buying a new phone)
“It’s good to know that you guys are worse to deal with than our cable company.”
“I’ll make sure that you’ll be getting a very negative review, Chad.”
Sometime in between me going full passive-aggressive, The Protagonist decided that her time would be better spent looking at the Vera Wang iPad covers than putting up with my shit, so she pretended like she was on an important call and slithered away. At this point, it was just me and Chad. Man versus beast. Human intelligence versus AI. Chill deBreeze versus Dillon Cheverere. Tom Brady versus Roger Goodell. Good versus evil.
I thought I had this battle locked up at this point. Maybe I got too cocky. Maybe Chad had a better hand than I thought. Or maybe I just underestimated the cruelty that is phone sales in general. After I had asked Chad why “he’s selling people fucking worthless plans,” he responded in the worst way possible. He combined his catch phrase, condescension, and blame aversion all in one short sentence. It was on. He was going down. I had to destroy him:
“Once again, I did not sell you THIS protection package, BUDDY.”.
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