I ventured off the fields and out of the kitchen and out of the woods today, doing some long-overdue errands.
So I’m in Office Depot and they don’t sell a regular old style phone with a cord. The Office Depot man looks at me, through me. Searching for the why, in my inquiry. Really, I can’t buy one of those? “They are antiques,” he tells me, with no sense of nostalgia in his voice. He tried to sell me a corded phone with an answering machine. No thank you, just a phone, please. I’m not asking for a rotary here, just one of those white plastic phones on a little phone bed. He looks through me again. He carefully ventures into the “smart phone is the way to go” conversation. I pull out my really old style cell phone and ask for a cord to charge it in the car. He looks relieved that I have a cell phone of any kind, I think he wasn’t sure and was kind of worried. Against his better judgement or training that customers are always right, he said “I hate to tell you this, but even my father is going with the cell phone instead of land line.” He starts in on the smart phone routine again, thinking he can upgrade me and forgetting that he no longer works for Verizon Cellular. He brags about his bandwidth, even on a cloudy day inside. He starts in “You know that commercial about the Verizon phone…” I jump in, with just a little glint in my eye, because I know I’m honing in on my point: “No, I don’t have a television.” He stops, he’s speechless, looking through me again…and carefully…he sounds worried…”Your joking, right?”
“No.” And there we go. He says his smart phone provides him constant access to the internet, email, texting and phone at all times. That’s exactly why I don’t want one. He says he didn’t want that either, but he got used to it very quickly. Well, my point exactly. He ends with “Try Walmart”. NOW, I wasn’t about to disturb him with my thoughts about Walmart.
I know I’m the customer he is going to go home and talk to his wife about. The one that totally perplexed him. And I have to admit, I walked out of there feeling like the crazy old man who still drives his horse and buggy through the town full of new cars. But when I go home, to my cabin in the woods with no television or air conditioning or comcast access, I feel a balance of new and old that works for me.