So, going to the cell phone store used to rank right up there with hitting up Wal-Mart on a Sunday after church or doing my taxes.
I'll be honest - I'm not technically inclined. I leave that to the professionals. So when I have a problem, or a question, or an issue with my cell phone, I want to be able to feel like I can go to the local Verizon store and have my concern taken care of quickly and efficiently.
My past experiences with local Verizon stores have been less than stellar. I guess I don't fault the employees - perhaps it's their training. But they never seemed to know any more than I did, and my visits there usually resulted in me walking out frustrated and calling my nephew, who, as a former Verizon employee, apparently was the only one who passed the training course with flying colors.
Enter Bastien Wireless on the corner of Sheridan and War Memorial in Peoria. I went in there one Saturday because I had what I call the "black screen of death" on my phone. Instead of staring at it for 10 minutes then telling me how much it would cost to repair, they looked up my account and said that I was "nearly" ready to upgrade and that they'd push up the date since my phone wasn't working. SWEET.
Because I'm anal retentive, usually I'll research the bejeezus out of my phone options so when I go into the Verizon store and meet up with a salesperson who maybe just completed grade school and was out waaaay too late partying last night, I can have my ducks in a row. Not planning on getting a new phone, I was under the learning curve.
No problem. The salesman there was happy to show me my options. I told him exactly what I needed - and that I didn't want any bells and whistles (i.e. Droid). He didn't push it and showed me the phones that would do what I needed them to do. He made recommendations. He listed the pros and cons. He outlined the different data plans and explained them without rolling his eyes. SWEET.
The phone I selected was not "in stock" at their store, so they offered to either give me a loaner phone or to come back in a few days. Then another salesperson mentioned that there was one at another store, and he would have the sales associate from that store bring it in the next day. SWEET.
And while I'm sure they get commission for selling extra services, I appreciated the fact that they asked me questions about my other phones and Internet. I didn't know that it would be cheaper for me to get another phone as a dedicated "house phone" and finally lose my landline. And they didn't make me feel like an idiot for not knowing that. SWEET.
Here's what I noticed about the employees at Bastien Wireless. They were friendly. They were helpful. They were knowledgeable. If they weren't sure of an answer, they immediately asked another salesperson to verify. While I was there, I had a sense that they all pretty much got along, and that they truly enjoyed interacting with their customers. I learned that one was studying to be a teacher. Another one was applying to be an air traffic controller. These people had higher aspirations, but they weren't acting like their job now was a skulldrag.
I appreciate that. And I told my friends. And they went in. Quid pro quo, Bastien.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you need a good place to do your cell phone business - a place that will treat you like a person and not an inconvenience - a place that will make your cell phone buying experience more like a walk in the park and less like a trip to Wal-Mart, give Bastien Wireless a try. They support three carriers, Verizon, Sprint and Nextel, and they're open 7 days a week. Check out their website or their Facebook page.
Oh, and tell 'em Amy sent ya.