I'm after a mobile phone, not a chunk of cheese

Posted February 27, 2011

I'm after a mobile phone, not a chunk of cheese

I have never rushed out to buy the latest ‘must have’ gadget. I could care less about gizmos and super-functionality. As far as I’m concerned the simpler it is, the better. Of course it also helps if it looks pretty.

I’ve been putting off replacing my mobile phone for ages. I’d become very attached to it, you see.  It was pink, slim and it ‘spoke’ to me. Well alright, so it gurgled ‘hello moto’ (it was a very old Motorola) when I switched it on but I liked to believe it was talking directly to me.

Last week it uttered its last feeble bleep and I hit the mobile phone shops in search of a more up to date replacement. I knew exactly what I needed (to pick up my emails and make calls, nothing more complicated than that) and what I don’t like (a small, fiddly key pad).  They tried to sell me a Blackberry in the first shop I went into because that’s what the sales assistant liked. I politely pointed out that it wasn’t really about him or his preferences.  He looked blankly at me.

It got worse. In the second shop I had to take a ticket and wait until my number was called before I could speak with anyone. They had obviously modelled themselves on the Tesco cheese counter. But I wasn’t in a supermarket and it wasn’t busy. There were only two customers and I was one of them. Surely they could have suspended the ticket system and tried approaching customers. Besides, I wanted to buy a phone, not a chunk of cheddar.

I tried the Apple store but felt bad about saying anything negative about the brand. The sales staff describe every product with a religious zeal and really take it to heart if they fail to convert. To criticise is akin to blaspheming in front of the Pope.

Finally, I hit the Holy Grail. I entered the Virgin store with trepidation expecting to be pinned to the wall by a barrage of sales patter. Instead I was subjected to a disconcertingly new technique – listening. My phone requirements were swiftly narrowed down to one choice. But the absolute clincher was when the sales assistant said, “it also comes in a shiny white finish”.


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