August 10, 2004

That exasperating Cingular phone.

When I lost my cellphone a couple weeks of weeks ago, being the optimist that I am, I saw it as an oppportunity to get a cooler phone. I went over to my Cingular store and picked out a Motorola V400, paying an extra $50 to get the phone with a camera. I usually carry my good digital camera with me, but the phone camera is so small, it would be quite handy. But how do you get the photos into the computer? Is there a USB port? No, I'm told. You just email your photos to yourself. It's all set up for email.

But it's not all set up. In fact, it's nearly impossible to set up. I spent several hours looking for something in the manual, in the brochure I was given, and on Cingular's website, looking for a clue and trying to find a path to the answer through trial and error. Finally, I called Cingular. The first person I got, a bored-sounding woman who made me feel like I was imposing on her, reset some things at her end and, after forty minutes, got me to the point where the phone could at least connect to the internet. Back on my own, I spend another frustrating hour before I call again, this time choosing a different number from the option menu and getting a friendly, patient man with a Southern accent. I spend two hours on the phone with him! We go through multiple screens and he gives me all sorts of new codes to enter (on the phone key pad, which is hard to do).
How could anyone possibly figure out how to do this on their own?

They couldn't.

You must be doing this all day?


Why didn't they at least tell me I'd have to call to get it to work?

I don't know.

They must not want to discourage people from buying the phone, but then isn't everyone just annoyed with the phone? They must think people will just give up and not use email ...

[No answer.]
Do they just think people want a camera to send a picture to someone else's phone? Hi, here's what I look like right now! What kind of a way is this to run a business? What a monumental waste of time that was!

At one point the tech guy proved that something worked by sending me a music file. Go ahead open it. What song did he send? "The Star-Spangled Banner."

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