I went back to the Best Buy Store today.
I decided to get my old iPhone fixed or refurbished under the insurance policy that my wife has been paying outrageous premium for the past 18 months.
I showed up at 10 AM. This time, there were three Best Buy employees there. One had waited on me two days ago.
I explained my goal and handed them the lowly, broken iPhone.
“You sure you don’t want to change to Sprint and get 4G?” said the one who slandered the Android two days before.
“I’m sure,” I said.
It took the three employees 45 minutes to “find” the insurance policy on Best Buy’s electronic database again.
A wannabe customer stood by me, impatiently clicking a tongue stud against her teeth. I waited, reading and responding to email on my iPhone 4.
“I’m telling you, there’s not one,” said the one named Albert. The one named Robert disagreed. “I just saw it two days ago,” he retorted. The female employee stood silent, watching over their shoulders.
Click click went the wannabe customer’s tongue stud. I read another email. Click click. I realized that stud clicker probably hadn’t realized for years she had a habit of clicking that metal stud against enamel. Click click. I realized I was developing an opinion about tongue studs. I wondered if the scenario of Best Buy employees seeking electronic verification of phone policies or setting up new lines while impatient customers waited could be developed into some sort of psychological test.
“Do you have a Rewards Zone membership?” asked Albert suddenly.
“Yes,” I said. “Will that help you find it?”
“No,” he said. “But you’ve bought so much since November 2008 it’s probably worth it.”
“Hmmm,” I said.
The one who waited on me remembered the purchase date as the day after Thanksgiving 2008, but the other two argued with him about twenty minutes as they tried different numbers to work through the database.
Tongue-Stud made a gesture, and left. The Best Buy employees didn’t notice. I think a side effect of their employment is desensitization.
“Aha,” said Robert. The insurance policy was there. The day after Thanksgiving 2008. They found the insurance policy and printed it out.
Albert looked disappointed. The girl, whose nametag I never saw, looked indifferent. No reaction.
Then we went to the Geek Squad desk where it took another 15 minutes.
I waited, reading and responding to email on my iPhone 4 again.
Finally, a Geek Squad member asked me everything that was wrong with the phone—questions I’d already answered with the phone experts.
“Sign this,” she said. She handed me a receipt. Sixty-two minutes had passed with three employees, plus a fourth at the end.
“We’ll call you,” she said.