Over the Verizon

11/13/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Where does all of my time go? My house is a mess, the laundry needs folding, my work is piling up, and yet I am busy all the time. I have decided to start documenting how I actually spend my time each day, so maybe I won't feel like I never get anything accomplished.

For the past few days, my work has been interrupted by cell phone "issues."

I finally relented and decided it was time to get my daughter her own cell phone. Not because "everyone else has one," but to make it easier to reach her, now that she has become more independent and is spending more time out on her own.

She had the phone only about five months when it stopped operating properly. We took the phone to the Verizon store, and were told to go home and call for tech support. So that evening I called. I sat on hold for about fifteen minutes listening to all of the great reasons to choose Verizon. I found myself wishing they had muzak. Finally someone came on the line and took us through a long series of steps to try to diagnose the problem. After about twenty minutes of resetting, reprogramming, and retesting, the technician concluded the problem must be old software. Apparently five months is "old" in cell phone time. We were told we had to take it back to the Verizon store to have the software updated.

Next day, we were back at the store. We had to wait twenty minutes before someone could help us.

We were told it would take an hour for the new software to be added. I thought my daughter was going to experience an emotional breakdown when he told her she might lose all of her saved messages, and five months worth of photos, in the process.

We returned to the store an hour later. The good news: nothing was lost. The bad news: nothing was gained. The phone refused to accept the new software. This meant we needed a new phone. After the salesman entered pages and pages of data into the computer, the replacement phone was ordered. I was instructed that it would arrive "sometime on Tuesday" by Fed Ex and someone would have to be home to sign for it. No, it could not be left at the door. Apparently unaware that anyone still had jobs in this economy, they simply assume people can sit at home waiting for the package.

Next, we would have to bring the new phone and old phone back to the store so everything could be transferred from one phone to the other. After that, we would have to return the old phone, via Fed Ex, with the enclosed label, within 10 days or we would be charged for a second phone. No, we could not give it to them at the store when we came in; we had to package it up ourselves and take it to a Fed Ex location.

So I rearranged my schedule of meetings for Tuesday so I could stay home. At least we would get this resolved and my daughter would have an operational phone again.

I stayed home Tuesday. No package from Fed Ex.

Wednesday: still no package.

Thursday: I was lucky to catch the Fed Ex driver in front of my house as I returned from work.

The next day, I took my daughter back to the Verizon store for our fourth visit. We sat there for 30 minutes as the contents of the old phone were transferred to the new phone. Finally, it was done.

I felt relieved to have this behind us ... for about five minutes. As we drove away, I heard the first shriek. All of the music downloads she had purchased (with her hard-earned babysitting money) were gone. No more Weird Al Yankovic crooning with the arrival of each text message. I refused to return to the store again. "Don't worry," I told her, "we can call Verizon when we get home."

A few minutes later came the next shriek. One of the buttons wasn't working. The down arrow did not function. She began testing all of the buttons and discovered two more that wouldn't work.

I guess I will be returning to the Verizon store again. My guess is they will have to order yet another phone; I will have to await yet another package from Fed Ex; we will have to come back to the store for the sixth time and wait another hour while they transfer everything from the new phone to the newer phone. Then if the phone works, we will have to go to the Fed Ex store and ship back the two broken phones (and within ten days, or we will be charged for two new phones).

Silly me ... I thought getting her a cell phone would make my life easier.