Let it be

Friday, April 15, 2011

A few weeks ago, I told you about the cellphones my wife and I had found. These phones do what cellphones are supposed to do. They send and receive phone calls. Period.

These cellphones are not representative of the technological wizardry of modern hand-held devices that do remarkable things. It just happens that my wife and I are not remarkable people, nor do we need remarkable machines that fit in our pocket or purse.

Our basic cellphones came with one free service: a calendar.

By going to a website, you could keep track of scheduled events and appointments quite easily. As soon as you made a new entry with the online calendar, it would automatically be sent to your cellphone. I liked this feature.

Until last month, that is.

Last month the geniuses at the cellphone company decided to "improve" the calendar feature. I'm not sure what they had in mind, but it did not turn out well. It has been ugly.

First, the new system allows you to update your online calendar, but the changes might or might not show up on your phone. And if they show up, they are scheduled for the wrong time. Or the wrong day.

The customer-service folks at the cellphone company have been patient when customers call to (a) complain and (b) find out if a solution is in the works and (c) how long it might be before the calendar function is fully operational again.

Customer-service folks, if they are trained properly, know how to placate upset customers. They do this by lying.

I can't begin to list for you all the promises that have been made since this fiasco began. Now, the customer-service folks simply tell me that all the problems have been resolved (a lie) and that I must be the problem (also, in my humble opinion, a lie).

One issue, for example, is that the new calendar system can't tell time. It can't figure out which time zone I'm in, even though I have carefully made all the right choices under the "Settings" function of my phone.

Another issue is that settings made under the old calendar system cannot be erased from your phone. They no longer appear on the online calendar, but somehow the changes don't make it to your phone. I'm told, by customer service, that that issue has been resolved (a lie) because the customer-service folks can't see the problem on their end of the vast electronic world in which we both exist.

Actually, I don't know if they exist or not. I'm pretty sure I exist, however.

My wife has taken all of this in stride. When she asked me why I was spending so much time on the phone with the cellphone company, I told her they screwed up the calendar function.

"We have a calendar function on our cellphones?" she sweetly asked.

Joe Sullivan is the retired editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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