The problems started on Monday. For some reason, I was not able to pick up Verizon’s cell network on my BlackBerry KEYone cell phone. Using a landline, I contacted Verizon, who told me that there was an issue with a cell phone tower in my area, and that everything should resolve momentarily.
By Wednesday, the problem became too pronounced. Dropped calls. Missed calls. Unable to call. The 3G’s in my KEYone were reaching end of line – in fact, it reached end of line a month or two earlier than Verizon’s initial threats of killing off 3G for me.
In a last-ditch effort in hopes that the new BlackBerry 5G phone might be available from the tech startup OnwardMobility, I went to their website. I looked for the BlackBerry 5G phone that they had promised for the past 18 months. The one I had so much hope in owning. The one I begged to be a beta tester for them.
Same splash page as 18 months ago. OnwardMobility just joined the ranks of people who have lied to me in the past. You know, with messages like, “Your father only beats you because he loves you,” or, “No, I’m not sleeping with that guy, not when I have you,” or, “We’ll never edit or control what you say when you blog for the Times Union.”
So now we can add, “Yeah, the new BlackBerry’s on its way.”
Right. Must be on the same schedule as George R.R. Martin’s next novel.
Okay. I gritted my teeth. Whether I like it or not, I had to go get a new phone. And on the recommendations of one of my college buds from long ago, I decided to get a Google Pixel 6 – the Pro edition. Apparently this phone is touted as a tremendous workhorse. Which is what I need. Of course, I need a physical keyboard, but there isn’t one here … so I have to work around that. Somehow.
So last night, I drove over to the Verizon store in Crossgates Mall. Oh, look. There’s a display of Google Pixel 6’s and Pixel 6 Pro’s, all going through their demonstration cycles.
“Welcome to Verizon, how can I help you?”
I want a Google Pixel 6 Pro, the one with the largest amount of storage you can get. I think that means 512gb.
“We don’t have it.”
Okay, I’ll settle for a 256gb Pixel 6 Pro.
“We don’t have that either.”
Fine, I’ll take the 128gb model, but that’s my bottom line.
“We have no Google Pixel 6 Pros in stock.”
But you have these display models. Can’t I buy one of those?
“Those are just display models. They’re not real phones.”
Well, I need something. Because right now, my BlackBerry is …
“Wait, is that a real BlackBerry? Who the hell owns a BlackBerry in this day and age? Here, let me sell you an iPhone like a real phone user would have.”
Dude couldn’t have pissed me off more if he offered me a Canon camera and a deal on a Hyundai.
I walked out of the store. Straight up. Walked across the mallway to the AT&T store. That yutz pissed me off enough to make me want to take my number to another carrier.
“Good evening, sir, welcome to AT&T, how may I help you?”
I’d like a Pixel 6 Pro please. Whatever size you have.
“Sorry, sir, we have none. The phone is too popular. We can’t get any. Our next shipment might arrive in late December, if you want to wait.”
Yeah, I was out of there.
Tried another tactic. Took the elevator up to the Best Buy on the second level. Maybe I can get an unlocked Google Pixel 6 Pro from them.
“Hi, welcome to Best Buy, how can I help you?”
Google Pixel 6 Pro, if you please.
“We only have one, and it’s for a Verizon carrier. Would you like that?”
“Let me go find it.”
15 minutes and three blueshirts later, I received the news. The one Pixel 6 Pro that they had was actually one that someone had ordered and cancelled – and then re-purchased again. So that Pixel 6 Pro was gone.
But then, one of the Best Buy blueshirts said something that caught my attention. “Let me check something for you.” And with that, he checked out a tip. There was one Google Pixel 6 Pro for sale in the Capital District – at a non-franchise, independently-owned Verizon store in Malta. He called the store, they had it. But they were closing in 90 minutes. I needed to get there in 30 minutes, because apparently it takes an hour to buy a phone these days. Who knew?
Forget that. Jumped in the Chevy, and up the Northway I went.
Got to the store with minutes to spare.
“Hi, how can I help you today?”
Google. Pixel. Six. Pro. Please. Begging you. It’s either this or my next phone call may involve two soup cans and a length of twine.
“Let me check in the back.”
Ten minutes later, he came back to the showroom, a small box in his hand.
“I just need to check something on this phone.”
Oh, great. Another false alarm. Another wild goose chase.
“The person that bought this phone cancelled his order, he went with an iPhone instead.”
So I can buy this, right?
“Yes, sir, you can.”
And I can have it working tonight, right?
“Yes, sir, you can.”
And I can transfer all my contacts from my BlackBerry?
“Wow, I never saw a BlackBerry with an Android brain. That must be one cool phone.”
This guy is hitting the 5-star customer service treatment.
After providing my information, he went through my account with Verizon, kept my unlimited data and my international minutes, added the phone, threw in a screen protector AND a case, and still found a way to knock $15 off my monthly cell phone bill. Why is this customer service representative not cloned and shipped around Verizon’s network?
Oh, and I got the 256gb model. Complete with all the high-end bells and whistles. No physical keyboard, but I’ll slowly get used to not having that. I mean, it’s been part of my phone network for nearly two decades. And despite everybody and his uncle saying that I would have difficulty transferring all my contacts and my photos and my other BlackBerry innards to this phone … it only took a few minutes and a couple of direct connections.
So, yeah. As much as I would have loved to keep that BlackBerry in my arsenal, as much as I would have loved a new 5G model from OnwardMobility, I know now that I was more likely to welcome Godot at the front door.
Just bear with me if you’re trying to call me, or if I’m trying to reach you. I’ve got a small learning curve to surpass. Considering I started with a 6750, went to a 7803e, followed that with a 9330, went directly to a 9650, then joined up with a Q10 (white Verizon exclusive model), then added a PRIV, and finally finished with a KEYone. Six BlackBerry phones. If that’s not loyalty, I don’t know what is.
Oh, and OnwardMobility … Thanks for stringing me along, promising lots and delivering nothing. You let me down. And those who read my blog know, as sure as tick goes with tock, once you let me down, you are dead to me.
Dead. Like all your promises of this grand, wonderful phone that never showed up in time.
Go pound salt.
Yeah city phones are really popular these days.
Hey you know what would be cool? What if they made some kind of, I don’t know, wireless phone maybe that people could communicate with from remote areas via radio waves or something.
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