Published 12:41 pm Thursday, June 25, 2009

Like, did you know that bread stays fresh even when you don&squo;t put it in a bread box? Shocking, but true. I also learned that if you have a problem, you can&squo;t just ignore it and hope your parents make it go away, which has been my basic m.o. for some time now.My most recent problem has been that of cell phone reception. I don&squo;t own a home phone, and in my house, my cell phone gets about as many bars as the number of times that I&squo;m planning to see Transformers 2 ‐ which is to say zero. Needless to say, this is a little issue.I had no idea how to tackle this 250 pound fullback of a problem. So I walked three blocks down the street to where I actually could get reception and called my father in hopes that he could perhaps divine some sort of solution to my unsolvable puzzle. He told me to give Verizon Bob Millard treatment. Bob Millard is my grandfather, and his treatment is this: you walk straight up to whoever&squo;s product or service is not working as well as you hoped it to be, and say, &dquo;This is unacceptable. You must fix this.&dquo; Somehow, this has always worked for my grandfather, no matter what he&squo;s had to deal with ‐ the cable company, the mailman…heck, he once got five free cruises after subjecting the people at Norwegian Cruise Lines to a particularly vitriolic session of the Bob Millard treatment.However, I feel like this same treatment would not work for me. Generally, my grandfather is older than the people he has to deal with, so he&squo;s automatically got some respect in his corner. And I don&squo;t know about the rest of you, but I generally assume that older people know more about practical things than I do. I&squo;m not saying that an older person might know more about the history of the Wu-Tang Clan than I might, but if they tell me that something must be fixed, I generally believe them. So there&squo;s that. In addition to the vast amounts of non-respect that I command, I&squo;m also not a very confrontational person. The gene that makes you like to argue a lot is definitely not present in those little double helixes that weave the code for my entire existence.Regardless, I knew that I had to pay a visit to my friendly local Verizon store. I went in, explained my problem to the Verizon guy (let&squo;s call him Don, because I&squo;m pretty sure that was his name). In one of those overly friendly and genial tones that salespeople use when they want you to spend $250 on something, Don suggested that I spend $250 on a contraption that, through some combination of voodoo magic, plugging into my high-speed internet router, and a little bit of non-voodoo magic, would increase reception in my house by approximately one million bars.Sounds great, right? Except for that whole $250 thing, which was kind of a bummer. I decided that it might actually be cheaper to switch my phone service to a company who had better reception in Chapel Hill. Apparently, the best coverage around here is provided by T-Mobile, that company with those really annoying &dquo;MyCircle&dquo; commercials. So I went to the T-Mobile store, and the guy pretty much said, &dquo;Well of course you don&squo;t get Verizon coverage at your house. You couldn&squo;t make a clear call with Verizon if you were an astronaut in pace trying to phone NASA, floating literally right next to one of their cell phone satellites.&dquo;I figured that this guy might have been exaggerating just a little bit. Plus, T-Mobile was way more expensive than Verizon would have been, so I decided that it wasn&squo;t worth the hassle of switching. On my way back to the Verizon store, I was angry. Oh, how I stewed! How I festered! Why should I have to pay money for a contraption that does something Verizon should already do? To borrow a phrase from George Foreman, Drew Millard was not pleased. It was time to give somebody the Bob Millard Treatment.As soon as I got to the Verizon store, I marched straight up to the guy and said, &dquo;Look, I know that I don&squo;t get good reception in my house and I need one of those signal extender thingies, but I&squo;m not going to pay $250 for it. Why should I have to pay extra for good reception in my home, something I should expect to be provided for me? This is unacceptable. You must fix this.&dquo;The Verizon guy looked pretty nonplussed ‐ to be honest, I was expecting a lot more plussed-ness. He told me that he could give me a $50 discount on the signal extender, but that was it. I realized that this was probably the best deal I was going to get from a cell phone salesman ever in my entire life, so I might as well take it. So I bought the signal extender thingy with a $50 discount, and now I have perfect cell phone reception in my house. On the other hand, I realize that I&squo;m still kind getting severely short-changed. This is unacceptable. Someone will be fixing this shortly.

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