Tuesday. Fayetteville, Georgia. Cingular Store (the corporate store).
Me: Hi. I need to get my BlackBerry fixed. The trackwheel won't push in anymore. At all. This is a big problem. So I brought it here to get it serviced.
Cingular Lady: OK. What's your phone number?
I give it to her. She looks me up on the computer.
Cingular Lady: How long have you had the BlackBerry?
Me: Two years.
I bought it at AT&T Wireless and that's who I signed the contract with. But Cingular bought AT&T Wireless, so now everything is Cingular. And has been for a while. If you search for AT&T Wireless on Google, the Cingular site comes up with the headline "Now We're Cingular".
Cingular Lady: I can't access your records. You're on the blue side. We're on the orange side.
She proceeds to call some number and talk to someone who apparently is on the "blue side".
Cingular Lady: I have a customer here who is on the blue side. We're on the orange side. Her Blackberry isn't working. I can't access her records.
They have a long discussion, during which I stand there and marvel how there can be sides when there is just one company. When she gets off the phone, I ask as much.
Me: Why are there sides?
Cingular Lady: You are a Cingular customer, but you're on AT&T billing. We don't bill the same way. So in order to fix the Blackberry, we're going to have to migrate you over to Cingular.
I'm still confused as to why I'm not already part of Cingular since they bought AT&T. On Google it says "Now We're Cingular", not "Now We're Cingular As Long As You're on the Orange Side But if You're on the Blue Side, Well That's A Different Story". Nonetheless, I need my BlackBerry fixed so I figure, what the heck, go ahead and migrate me. She then informs me that I'll have to go up to a higher rate monthly plan because Cingular doesn't have the $29.99 plan AT&T had, only a $39.99 plan.
Me: So I'm going to have to pay you an extra 10 bucks a month just so I can get my Blackberry fixed?
Cingular Lady: You're no longer under warranty and you didn't have insurance. And we don't have the $29.99 plan. You'll need to migrate to Cingular.
Me: I understand I'm not under warranty. That's cool. Why don't I just pay you whatever it costs to get it fixed? I bought it from y'all and I just need help getting it fixed. I'm sure you guys must make plenty of money on fixing things out of warranty. I'm happy to pay for it.
Cingular Lady: You can't get it fixed. We don't do that. You'll have to buy a new one.
Cingular Lady: We don't service Blackberries.
Me: You don't service what you sell?
Cingular Lady: Not Blackberries. If you were still under warranty, and if you were with Cingular, we'd send it off to get it fixed. But you'll have to buy a new one and switch to our [more expensive] plan.
Me: Why didn't you just tell me that from the beginning? How much is a new one?
Cingular Lady: $299.
She could have just told me right from the start that I needed to throw my BlackBerry in the trash and buy a new one. I think I might. From Verizon.