Friday, September 10, 2010

Mike Huckabee Might of Called Me...

But I wouldn't necessarily know if he did this past primary. You see, my cordless phone battery finally gasped its last. Judging from the on-line reviews of my particular Panasonic phone model, I have nothing to complain about (and I am not). I got over five years of charging on that battery - and most of the reviews cited the crap battery performance of no more than two years as their chief plaint.

Nor did the battery over-heat or burst into flames.

But, it finally just wouldn't hold a charge for very long outside of its cradle. So, tired of the incessant little beeping noise it made when I was on a call, I decided to replace it.

Not so easy. Because in this throw-away society, my five-year old Panasonic phone was absolutely Jurassic. I didn't even bother with the store of its original provenance, I went directly to the website. Where it was indeed confirmed that neither my phone model nor its battery still existed.

At this point, the first notion of replacing the thing flitted into my consciousness (what would a new phone cost? About 40$?), but I like the phone and it does its job. So, I called tech help to find a replacement battery. That took roughly 10 minutes, as I was routed first through all the menu options, and then shunted off to a call center that I strongly suspect was in the North Atlantic - like maybe Ireland - aren't call centers there booming the Irish economy?

It took quite a bit longer for the very polite gentleman to discover what battery # would work in my archaic phone - but to his credit he persevered and did not suggest I buy a new Panasonic phone. But, as this was the tech help center, not a purchasing center, the polite man, apologizing profusely, suggested the Panasonic web store.

Beep, beep, beep.

On to the web (now 20 minutes into the enterprise), but among all the various batteries available for web sales (at least 15), the one I needed did not have a little "purchase" radio button; instead I was instructed to call yet another 1-800 #.

Beep, beep, beep.

The wall of phones at Freddie's floated before my eyes.

I fought off the siren call of easy come/easy go, and gamely called the battery supply call center. And reached, I am quite sure, Bengaluru or some other mega-call center city in India. The extremely long relay time between our call and response and the very measured careful English with just a hint of melody of yet another incredibly polite man sort of gave that away.

I then embarked on a 35 minute ordeal of purchasing the battery - all while the beep, beep, beeping of my dying battery became more urgent and more desperately pitched. The suspense was palatable. Would I be able to complete the transaction (in which this very polite gentleman confirmed and reconfirmed each piece of information collected two to five times before completely satisfied) before my battery totally died?

Further, as the mere task of purchasing a replacement battery had now eaten over an hour of my time, with no real guarantee that I would complete the order and my objective, the lure of a new phone was becoming almost too much to ignore any longer. Not more than a few times during the agonizing process did I almost click the disconnect button. That plus the fact that it cost me $35 to get my new battery, by the time the shipping was factored in.

But, it just stuck in my craw to toss a perfectly good piece of equipment simply because nowadays something that is older than two years is considered fit only for the landfill.

So, I dug my heels in, and two days ago, my new battery arrived. I admit I was pretty much convinced that when I plugged the battery into my phone, it would explode. But it didn't. And my phone works, and it doesn't beep, and if Mike Huckabee calls again, I am ready.