The SIM card in my T-Mobile phone has apparently failed due to some sort of lifecycle limit on the number of connections that it can make to the network (given T-Mobile’s coverage in the areas where I hang out, the phone goes in and out of coverage multiple times per day). A nearby T-Mobile store is on Rt. 9 in Framingham. This is a major east-west highway. I called the store to find out which side of Rt. 9 they were on.
- “Are you on the north or south side of the highway?” I asked the first clerk, a man.
- “There is no north or south. We’re in the same shopping plaza as Bertucci’s,” was the reply.
- “If Rt. 9 is oriented east and west, doesn’t that mean that there would have to be north and south sides of the road?” was my follow-up.
- “I don’t know anything about north or south,” came the reply.
- “Boston is to your east,” was my next attempt to orient the guy, “as is the Atlantic Ocean and Europe.”
- “Now you’re being rude to me,” sulked the clerk. I asked to speak to his supervisor.
- “Are you on the north or south side of Route 9?” I asked the manager, a woman with a Massachusetts accent.
- “I don’t know,” she responded.
- “If I pulled out of your parking lot, would I be going towards Boston or towards Worcester [a city to the west]?” I asked.
- “You’d be going eastbound toward Boston,” she said.
- “Doesn’t that mean that you’re on the south side of the highway?” I asked.
- “I have no idea.”
Keep in mind that these folks represent the relative cream of the American labor force, i.e., the ones whom a big company has chosen to retain.
Related: “America: Let’s stop investing in our kids” and “Some Firms Struggle to Hire Despite High Unemployment” (Wall Street Journal) as well as my unemployed = draft horse? comparison.
Update: Not trusting the folks who couldn’t tell north from south to manage the SIM card replacement process, I went to the Burlington Mall this evening and visited the T-Mobile store there. It is right above the Verizon store, which had about 10 employees and 40 customers. T-Mobile had just two clerks and three customers. The clerk refused to replace my SIM card unless I paid a $21.25 fee (including tax). I objected that it wasn’t reasonable for me to have to pay for a SIM card repair since as far as I knew the old SIM card was T-Mobile’s property under the original Voicestream contract (I started with Voicestream back in 2001 because they were the only U.S. GSM service and my job required frequent trips to Europe). I asked how long it would take to get my old number on a Verizon Droid 2 phone. The clerk helpfully replied “about two hours”. The clerk had me call the T-Mobile 800-number. I requested that they cancel my service, since it seemed like all of the cool people were on Verizon (I’m not on a contract with T-Mobile since I got my G1 phone from a friend). The 800-number folks agreed to waive the $20 SIM card fee and the clerk went off in search of a “price override” code. Before walking out, I feigned ignorance and said “I’m not sure if Google Maps will work yet with this new SIM card. Can you tell me if we’re north or south of Route 128?” [This is the major ring highway around Boston, about 1/2 mile south of the Burlington Mall.] The clerk confidently said “It’s east.”
Upside of the trip to the T-Mobile store: While waiting for this harlequinade to play out, I read Best Android Apps, which they had on the counter. It’s bizarre that the easiest way to navigate among the tens of thousands of Android apps is to leaf through a book, but such is life…