This is the deal that I have with my cell phone company. I give them money every month. In return, the company gives me spotty service and occasionally turns off my number for no reason whatsoever. Also, when I visit the company in person, the customer service people make me wait in an hour-long line.
I apparently like this deal because I keep signing two year contracts.
This arrangement was frustrating until I learned that there is a proper way to visit your cell phone store. There is a way to shorten the amount of time you wait in line and achieve some actual customer satisfaction. Simply put, you take a few ill-behaved kids with you. Me? I just happen to have a couple of those laying around my house.
Let's say my cell phone has mysteriously stopped displaying numbers on the screen. The first thing I do is to feed my four year-old son and two year-old daughter cookies for breakfast. Then, when my wife is not watching, we play a quick game I like to call "Who Can Drink Daddy's Coffee?" . Shortly after that, I let the kids watch "Ed, Edd and Eddy" because it puts them in the right frame of mind.
Then we go to my cell phone store. We arrive early, but there's still a line. That's not a problem because my kids need time to...percolate. I take a number and sit down. I am 19th in line.
"Hey, kids," I say. "Who wants to go to the toy store after we're through here?"
I look around and see all the women in the room smiling at me. They see a father lovingly guiding his two rambunctious young children. But they're wrong. I have no real control over my children now. As far as my kids are concerned, I'm just a giant talking wallet with set of car keys. Ironically, this is the exactly how my cell phone company views me.
I once read an article about nano-technology. Scientists are working on building tiny, never-sleeping robots that can disassemble and reassemble things on a molecular level. My kids, when they're bored, are exactly like that - only without the reassemble part. My kids start with signs at the front of the store and quickly move to cell phone models that line the cheery, modern kiosks.
Every now and then, I say, "No. Stop. Don't." But I don't mean it - not really.
Within minutes, I move from 19th to number one. No one complains.
The customer service agent eyes me warily and says, "I think your son is peeing in our fake plants."
I shrug. "Unfortunately, my wife and I cannot guarantee parental coverage in all areas. Please try again later."
A few minutes later, I'm walking out with a kid under each arm and new cell phone. From behind me, I can hear the manager.
"Your daughter broke one of our flip phones. It will need to be replaced."
"Yeah, she broke mine, too," I say without turning around. "You should really look into cell phone insurance. It comes in handy."