BigglyBobblyBoo’s recent Sammy the sales rep articles have inspired me to tell my own tragic story of what I had to go through to buy my Z10. Now, it’s been a while, so I may not get the quotes right any longer, but I have told this story so many times, I have not forgot what happened there that day. I would like to point out first, that ever since I purchased my first BlackBerry Torch, (ah, 9800, such a sweet phone, until the 9810 anyway) that I have had sales reps try to dissuade me from buying BlackBerry. It never stopped me though, and was never much of a conversation. Perhaps 5 minutes trying to tell me why they thought something else was better. My BB1o purchasing experience was much worse.
I had been wanting a BB10 device for some time, but just couldn’t bring myself to do it, as I was still on contract and would have to be buying my phone outright. The Z10 was new, we hadn’t seen the Q10 yet, and there was a lot of problems being reported on the “fan site” I was attending. The trolls were just starting to get a good footing there, and like many consumers, it was making me second guess purchasing a BB10 device. I had decided to wait and see. The trolls had been successful.
And then I competed in a running event. Now I’m not a runner by any means. I don’t enjoy running, and probably haven’t run since high school. But it was a zombie run, and running from zombies? Well, I couldn’t pass that up. And apparently after the zombie run, my brain wasn’t working right, because I went straight from the run, covered in mud and sweat, to my local carrier store to purchase my Z10.
It was a wonderful day, a beautiful day, right up until the moment that I told the rep, “I want to buy a Z10!” That’s when everything went south. They looked up my account and told me I was not eligible for an early upgrade. I knew that. I was paying cash. The sales rep seemed shocked! And asked me why I would want a BlackBerry, that I could spend the same amount of money and get an iPhone. I explained I did not like iPhone, and did not want an iPhone, I would like my Z10. Apparently, selling a phone was outside this sale’s reps area of expertise, so she had to bring another sales rep in to our transaction.
This new sales rep was an expert! He knew everything! He knew every reason why I really wanted an iPhone and not a BlackBerry. He knew the future of BlackBerry and that the company would surely be shutting down within the next month. He knew how upset I’d be to be stuck with the Z10 a month down the road, when BlackBerry was gone and all my friends were tippy tapping away on their luxurious iPhones. One thing he didn’t know though, was how to wake up a Z10 they had on display. I spent about 15 minutes with this sales rep, politely arguing why I wanted a Z10, and please go get one and sell it to me. Obviously, this was getting too difficult for him, so he had to go talk to his manager. He arrived back with a special deal for me! Straight from the manager! And I would be shocked what this manager was doing for me! I was so lucky!
The special deal was this, instead of having to pay full price for the Z10 I wanted, they would give me an early renewal, and give me the new (at that time new) model of the iPhone for free! …. I was starting to get angry. I once again explained that no, I did not want an iPhone, that I did not like iPhone, that even if they gave me a new iPhone for free, without re-upping my contract, I would not take it. I was really trying to get them to understand that I did not like iPhone. Salesman ran off to manager. This was almost like buying a car at this point.
The salesman returns ready to make me happy. Ok, they understand that I don’t like the iPhone, so they will make me the same deal with a Samsung Galaxy…. this was getting ridiculous. By now, I had enough. I demanded they sell my my Z1o. And that’s when the manager arrived with gifts. He sat down cases, bluetooth headset, a Jambox speaker, and screen protectors… for the iPhone and the Galaxy. He explained that as a throw in, I could have these gifts, a headset (I had a choice of two) a case (my choice with a price limit), screen protector and a Jambox speaker, for re-upping my contract, and taking either the iPhone or the Samsung. What about the BlackBerry, I asked? No, the BlackBerry would be full price, no additional gifts, but I would get so much with either of these other phones.
I had quite literally had enough, and it was time to get loud. Either sell me my BlackBerry, or I’ll go down the street to Best Buy and buy it there. I had now spent an hour in the store trying to buy the phone and still hadn’t seen them come out with the box. Finally, after making my demand, I’m sure, loud enough for the entire store to hear, they agreed to sell me my device. Now the fun part, because I have such an old plan, grandfathered in with options that are not offered any longer, they had to “go in to the old system” whatever that means, and I was in the store for another half hour. In all fairness, they did bribe me in to re-upping my plan by giving me the Jambox and a battery pack. However, I still paid full price for my BlackBerry and left the free Samsung and iPhone sitting on the the table like unwanted puppies at the dog pound.
The sad thing is, as I was waiting my turn initially at the store, I was standing next to another BlackBerry user. He had an old Curve that was giving out on him. I had my Torch. He had heard of the new BlackBerry’s and had come to replace his beloved phone. He didn’t however want a touch screen. While we waited, I showed him the Z10 they had on display, and explained that the Q10 was set to arrive within the next month. Well, he couldn’t wait on the Q, and was adamant about getting a keyboard. He was going to get a 9900 (yes, they were still in store) and there was nothing I could do to talk him out of it. And as I was on my second sales rep, demanding my Z10? I watched my BlackBerry buddy walk out the store, with his AT&T bag in one hand, and his shiny new iPhone held entirely too close to his face.
I can’t speak about everywhere, but this is the sales tactics that were being used around here, is there really any surprise BB10 had the success, or lack of, that it did?
I know Biggly and I are not the only ones to have terrible experiences purchasing our phones. Head on over to our forums and tell us your stories!