Blog a Day 235of365: Phone shop experiences

I had a surprise day off today. Not a total surprise admittedly but I only found out about it last night. Basically a workmate thought she was working tonight anyway so she offered to do my shift. Throw in the realisation from my manager that he’d only given me one day off and my workmate three days, and the balance was restored with both of us having two days off. So today I attempted to relax. It didn’t quite happen but I did have a nice time shopping.

I went mobile phone shopping. My contract’s nearing renewal time and I’ve had the same phone (iPhone first generation) for over two years now. It’s a brilliant phone but it’s starting to show signs of age by not being as fast as I’d like and lacking a few handy features like 3G. Thanks to working so much this week and last week, I can actually afford to upgrade to an iPhone 4.

I knew exactly what tariff I wanted and I didn’t really expect anywhere to actually have any stock but I figured it’d be nice to get my hands briefly on a display model at least. Plus you never know, somewhere might have stock of the 16gb variety.

Nowhere did unfortunately. I tried both the local O2 store and 2 Carphone Warehouses. I also briefly wandered into a Vodafone store when I was after trying an iPhone out.

I was amazed to not be accosted once. You’d think that’d be a good thing. It often is but not today as I actually wanted assistance!

I used to work in a mobile phone shop (technically two, but the second one I left after two days) so I know the drill. I know they’re all on commission and encouraged to push as much as possible. To be fair to them, they have to most of the time to achieve their targets. I know all the tricks too, the persuasive phrases, making sure you give the phone to the customer carefully so they sub consciously appreciate the value of the item. The main phone shop I worked for was still mostly about customer service but there’s no denying that when someone walked in and said ‘I want a new contract’, me and my co-workers couldn’t help but mentally rub our hands in glee at the prospect of an easy sale. I’d certainly ensure they left with a decent phone and tariff at least.

Anyway….I’m amazed if any of the phone salesmen I dealt with today make much money!

I had to approach one of the O2 salesmen rather than be greeted by him. I explained that my contract was nearly up and I was considering getting a new iPhone. I asked if I could see one for myself. He wandered off to get one then plonked it in my hands as if it was a worthless trinket then said nothing. My Mum ended up pressing him for information regarding the improved camera while I messed around with it. Very brief reply from him which didn’t really tell me much at all. I then enquired whether they had in stock. Abrupt no, only the 32gb ones. Again I asked when they’d have stock, some time in the next few days, then left with a business card from him.

I had no intention of returning. He wasn’t personable in any way, nor knowledgeable and mostly just made me feel a bit like I was in his way because I wanted to look at a phone!

One Carphone Warehouse was far too busy so I didn’t hang around, a similar tale with Vodafone.

The second Carphone Warehouse, I probably had a biased experience. I knew one of the guys who worked there – used to work with him a few years ago. So I went in and asked if he was in today. I think I unnerved the bloke as he was rather nervous from then onwards! Not sure admittedly if my mate is now in management or not as I haven’t seen him in a while, so that might not have helped. The salesman I did deal with was the best of the lot. Friendly but again, not as excitable as I expected. If I didn’t mind waiting a week, I’d go back there.

I do mind though so I went home and ordered it online from O2 direct. Much simpler!

The main thing that surprised me was that neither salesman asked me what tariff I was interested in, how much I wanted to spend, whether I was interested in a different phone. No questions whatsoever really. They didn’t even inject their personality into things which seemed odd to me!

Still, new phone soon. Yay! Should break up the monotony of this week a tad.

1 thought on “Blog a Day 235of365: Phone shop experiences

  1. Pete Davison

    I’d say “probably caught him on a bad day” if it wasn’t all of them! It must be exhausting for those people to have to push, push, push all the time. It was exhausting enough working for a certain fruit-based corporation’s retail presence, and there it really was about customer service, not the hard sell.

    Yay for the new phone, though. iPhone 4 is awesome, and if you’ve been struggling along with a 1st gen all this time, you’ll REALLY notice the difference, particularly in speed. I noticed a huge difference going from the 3G to the 4 so I can only imagine what a world of wonder you have ahead of you!

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