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My contract with Cingular is up, so this afternoon I went to Cingular to upgrade my phone and renew my contract. To be clear, let me say that I am very happy with Cingular, mainly because all of my family and a majority of my friends are on the network, which makes the vast majority of my calls free. Some of the people who work at Cingular, however...well, they're not always my friends. Here's the scoop (unlike Grant, I am naming names and places):

I go to the Cingular store on 75 and Park Ln and get "helped" by a guy named Joseph, whom I simply tell I want to upgrade my phone and change my plan.

He asks what phone I want, and I tell him, "the BlackBerry Pearl," (which I know went on a huge week-long sale today for only $99.99, of course also with a 2 year contract and conditional data package rebate).

He responds, "Great phone. Well with the upgrade discount, I have you down for the Pearl Bundle Pack for $200 flat after a $50 rebate, so I'm processing that now."

$200? After rebate? Confused, I ask, "What is this Bundle Pack?"

J: "Oh, well it's just all the essentials you need for the Pearl."

M: "What essentials are included in this pack? BlackBerry doesn't put everything I need in the box with the phone?"

J: "Oh, well...everything you need. Bluetooth, USB cable, cover...stuff like that."

Well, I don't want another Bluetooth, and I find it really hard to believe that a USB cable doesn't come with the phone. So, I ask him, "Really? A USB cable doesn't come with the phone? Can I see the box?" Oh, and the whole time, I'm thinking to myself that none of what he said, except for the USB cable, is an essential...and I can go buy a USB cable for under $200.

So, Joseph gets the box, opens it up, and responds...
"Oh, yeah, so it looks like it comes with that. Oh well...I guess you'll just take the phone then."

Great, so now I've established at least one of two things:
1. Joseph doesn't know what he's talking about
2. Joseph is trying to screw me

So we move on.

Now he's setting up my new BlackBerry and printing up the agreement, when he says (nearly under his breath), "and now I'm just adding your Blackberry Data Package."

What Blackberry Data Package? I mean, I haven't even told Joseph what kind of data package I want. Pretty assumptive, I thought. So, I inquisitively say, "BlackBerry Data Package? How much is that?"

J: "$40.00 a month"

Hmm...I know there are more than one data packages.

M: "So, what does that get me?"

J: "Unlimited everything."

M: "Web, email, text...everything?"

J: "Yep, everything."

M: "So, don't you have a plan that's less than that? For instance, can I get less text messaging or something for a lower price?"

J: "Nope, this is our only BlackBerry plan."

M: "But I can't do anything with less text messages?"

J: "No."

Trying to give him one last out, I ask, "So, you have no other BlackBerry plans? This is the only one? "

J: "Yes."

At this point, I tick him off by telling him I want my phone back and that I'm going to another Cingular store, because I know my friend got something different. He stalled and left me standing to help some girl, in which I told the manager guy that Joseph should probably finish with one customer before moving on to another, but I finally got my stuff back and I left.

From there, I went to the Cingular store where my friend went, down on Greenville and Lovers. to confirm my thought. I walked in and simply asked, "Hey, if I wanted to add the BlackBerry Data Plan to my Pearl, how much is it a month?"

The new store clerk looks a little confused and responds: "Well, it depends...I mean, we have different ones."

Ah hah. "What price do they start at?"

NSC: "$29."

More ah hah. I next ask him, "Well, what comes on that?"

NSC: "Unlimited email and internet."

M: "What about about text messages?"

NSC: "Well, you just add that to the package."

M: "So, I can change the price depending on how many text messages I want?"

NSC: "Yep."

Avoid Joseph at Cingular.

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