To Xfinity and Beyond — by Erin “E-flat” Waugh
Robert hailed me as I jauntily lilted into the Xfinity store. It was the second time in two days. (Not the lilting. I do that a lot. It throws them off the scent.) A good beginning, I thought. Robert remembers me. This will be a superior customer service experience.
My cell phone carrier was AT&T. I wanted to switch. I had been hoping to take advantage of Xfinity’s promotion offer which they so generously mailed to me. (Printed. On paper. Why bother with email just because you’re an internet company?) The promotion claimed that I could have unlimited talk, text, and data for just $45 a month. Plus if I acted now, I would receive a $200 prepaid VISA card. (I know this because they had glued a fake “credit card” to the inside of their tri-fold. NOT REDEEMABLE FOR CASH.) But because I’m an idiot, I got in my car and grinned like a well-fed pig in a greased killing chute. (JUST LIKE RICHARD GERE’S HAMSTER.) Sorry. Cheap joke. Cue gravity.
Yesterday I lilted into the Xfinity store with my full-color brochure and my too-bright smile, and handed the iPhone in question to Robert. He rubbed his fingers over my Otter Box. (Another cheap joke. I’m almost sorry this time.) He stared at it without changing a thing, as if he were new to this sort of Rubik’s Cube.
I asked him all the pertinent questions. “Are there any switching fees? How about unseen costs? Will you do the ass fucking yourself or is that outsourced?” Robert shook his head and smiled crookedly. (No pun intended.)
Robert: “I’m sorry, I can’t switch you today. You have to contact AT&T and have the phone unlocked first.”
Me: “But it’s MY phone!”
Robert laughed. “You’re deluding yourself.”
(Okay, he didn’t really say that. Robert was not that clever. What he DID do was hand me my phone back and tell me to come back tomorrow if I got it unlocked. If. His lack of confidence forced me to write more cheap jokes.)
I promptly drove home and begged AT&T to release me from their proprietary handcuffs. It was a ten-step process of verification and approval, only three of which involved animal sacrifice. (I know it was ten because I ate a Werther’s at every step and now I have the beetus.) AT&T promised they would declare a verdict within two business days. I’m sure it was the best they could do since they were (as one friend put it) so busy hemorrhaging customers. I throat-cut a pygmy goat and a slaughtered a cheese wheel to ensure a bountiful harvest. (There were no virgins available.)
That was yesterday. Today was the tomorrow that Robert promised me yesterday. I’m still sore.
Robert: “Welcome back!” This is where we started. “You ready to switch?”
Me: “I am so ready! Will you buy me dinner first?”
I handed my phone to Robert. He gave it back to me and told me to enter my passcode. I poked it into the phone. He requested my full social security number. I said it out loud. He asked me if this was my real hair color, so I kneed him in the groin. Just kidding! I gave him my child. (WHO IS COMPLETELY A NATURAL BLONDE.)
Fully verified now, Robert scrolled through my settings, and something in the room changed. He blinked hard. His eyes darted left and right. I could see him calculating whether he could beat me to the door.
Robert: “Wait. This an iPhone 8?”
Me: “Um, yes?”
Robert closed his eyes and deflated on his stool. He may have wet himself.
Robert: “Our system is not compatible with anything newer than an iPhone 6.”
Me: “And you knew this yesterday.”
Robert: “Well, only since January.”
This time I blinked hard. And maybe wet myself. Out of my eyes.
I tapped what was now junk mail. “Does it say that anywhere in this brochure?”
Robert: “No. But it doesn’t not say it.”
We stared at each other. I leaned in close and whispered: “How is this fucking possible?”
I really said that. Even though I was using my inside assassin voice, my mother could hear me. “Erin, NO!”
Robert: “This is totally my fault. I should have asked yesterday.”
Inside my head: “YA THINK??” Outside my head: “YA THINK??” I wrote another cheap joke about pushing up his stool.
Wait, it gets better…
I asked Robert to tell me where in the settings it says that it’s an iPhone 8.
Robert: “Oh it doesn’t say that anywhere in the settings.”
(Stay with me… We’re almost done…)
Me: “Then how did you know it was an iPhone 8?”
He flipped the phone over with confidence and tapped the center Apple logo. It was almost a lilt.
Robert: “I can just tell. This phone has a glass backing. The 6’s and 7’s don’t have this backing.”
(Wait for it…)
Me: “Did this same iPhone have that same glass backing YESTERDAY when you fondled it and told me to come back?”
Next time, I will find a virgin. It has to be easier.
4 May 2018, Erin “E-flat” Waugh
True Stories Told in the Key of E-flat