I've been with Alltel for almost six years. Yes, the company with that annoying guy with Ryan Seacrest's hair. In my defense, he wasn't part of their ad campaign in 2003.
Verizon, the company with that annoying guy who used to ask if we could hear him now, recently bought Alltel. I spent about fifteen minutes on-line trying to figure out if that meant I was going to be a Verizon customer or if I'd still be one of Chad's people. It became obvious that neither company wanted me to know. I don’t know why. Maybe they weren’t sure, themselves.
So the other day, when I went into an Alltel store (still said Alltel all over the place, but it had Verizon posters on the walls) for help with a problem with my 2-year-old LG (they were no help at all), I picked up a Verizon brochure and looked at Alltel phones. Once the first guy I talked to (whose job was to direct store traffic, according to another, more helpful employee named Steve) proved useless, a second man (the aforementioned Steve) asked if I'd thought about upgrading my phone. I told him I wasn’t sure if I could yet, because I got my last phone at the end of May – the 25th, to be exact, and here’s the picture to prove it:
Although I guess it would help you to know that the file is named “052507_1357” wouldn’t it?
I digress. Steve looked it up in the computer and apparently I’ve been eligible for a new phone since January. And the store had a deal going where if I bought a Blackberry, I could get a second phone (of equal or lesser value) for free. Oh, and would I be sticking with Alltel or did I want to switch to Verizon?
Apparently it’s my choice. The phones are cooler on Verizon but Alltel is cheaper (and though the commercials do feature Chad, they are blessedly tuba-free). Part of my problem in deciding is I have no idea what the bleep I’m signed up for with Alltel. For all I know, my Alltel contract has a clause where the CEO gets one of my kidneys if his fail, and I’m paying three bucks a month for it. I know I have unlimited text-messaging, but beyond that, it’s a mystery to me. Mobile phone bills were one of those things, like motor oil changes and mowing the lawn, that my dad took care of. Any emotions aside, his being dead is a major inconvenience in that I now have to figure these things out on my own, and I find myself unable to make head or tail of a single mobile phone plan offered by either Verizon or Alltel.
Normally in this situation I’d ask my brother Scott (my own personal Geek Squad) for his opinion. But I know what his opinion is – he thinks I should switch to T-Mobile or AT&T and buy a used iPhone on Craigslist so he can hack it and play with it for a while. That’s what he did and he likes it so much that at one point his wife referred to his iPhone as his girlfriend. But I don’t want to switch to T-Mobile or AT&T. I’m happy with Alltel, kidney clause or no.
Of course, I could be just as happy with Verizon, too. And I might be no matter what. Steve made it sound like my Alltel bill would eventually be a Verizon bill. He was a bit hazy on the details. I’m not sure he understood it himself. He sure as heck wasn’t going to get any help from the company websites. But he did seem knowledgeable on the pricing for the Verizon plans. I’m thinking I’ll just go back and see Steve and let him figure it out for me. He might end up talking me into giving my bone marrow as well, but he was able to solve the problem I came into the store with, and that’s more than I can say for anyone else. And he had nice hair.