Sunday, June 14, 2009

Farewell, Sweet Pre....

Last week was a busy one, and not just because I was rocking 5 mobile devices (hey-o!). There was a good amount of controlled chaos at work, and on the homefront I bought a stationary bike and have been making a dedicated effort to ride each morning and evening.
As the week came to an end, I knew I had to take the Palm Pre back. First of all, I'm not staying with Sprint- if for no other reason that there is no simultaneous voice and data. I also learnt a fairly unpleasant lesson the hard way: the first call you make is redirected to the Sprint call center where you have to listen to a 7 minute spiel from a rep summarizing the terms of service. No one mentioned this detail to me, and since I was driving, lost, when I reached for the Pre since it was the phone I could find-I was not a happy camper.
The Pre itself was a mixed bag- after the initial euphoria wore off, I found I didn't even go to it as a secondary device all that much. I'd check the App Catalog to see what new apps were listed but even that was more an exercise in frustration. The Evernote app was the most exciting thing to me, but it was glitchy and wouldn't compose notes in offline mode. There were odd nuances to the Twitter clients that I couldn't completely figure out. They each had some sort of notification- but no easy way to quickly check @replies. Build quality and design could use some work. While the Pre felt really nice when closed in the hand, using it required 2 hands and my full attention.
On Friday evening I prepared the phone for return by doing a hard reset and repackaging everything and that was when I noticed I was missing something-the receipt. I broke out in a cold sweat- I know RadioShack tends to stand pretty hard behind their no receipt, no return policy. Ordinarily, this wouldn't be a big deal- throwing it on eBay would probably get me to even- but with the 'crumple' in the screen that it had when I bought it, my listing would definitely be less than desirable. I could hardly sleep on Friday night- I worried if they would accept the return, and then I worried if I could at least get an exchange for an unscathed screen if they wouldn't take it.
After a fitful night of no sleep, on Saturday morning I bundled Seth into the car as soon as the store was due to open, said a prayer, and headed out. When we got to the store, I had my first panic moment- the salesperson who greeted me was not one I recognized from the prior week. Then, behind the counter I spotted one of the two guys who had been in the store the previous Saturday. We had all shared a lot of laughs, banter, and joking about the (non-existent) lines for the Pre- this had to go well, right? Wrong. As soon as I stated that I was there to return the phone, I needed a sweater to shield me from the icy frost he emitted. "What's the problem?" he barked at me in a stern, accusatory voice.
Long story short: he accepted the return, and (I think) credited my card back. (So far I haven't seen the reversal show up on my account, but I'm sure its processing). He also called and cancelled my Sprint account and confirmed with them that I had returned the phone. Now I'll have to wait and see what my Sprint pro-rated amount will be for one week...a $70 monthly plan breaks up as $17 a week, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
You would think that the saga ends here, but its not for nothing we call it a saga. I got home and tweeted my relief at having a successful outcome and got a message from a Twitter user who asked if I had returned my Pre to a particular RadioShack in my neighborhood. Uh-oh, this was probably the salesman from RadioShack about to chastize me, right? Not so- it turns out that this man had been resold the very same Pre that I had returned not 4 hours earlier! And how did he know it was the same one? Because it had the same screen "crumple" that I noticed on it when I first got it and he read about it right here on the site! What a small world of tech it is!
Which brings me to the end of my Pre drama/saga. I think I'll be interested in seeing the next generation/iteration of the WebOS when the App Catalog is more mature and the design is more thoughtfully laid out. Till then.... Ciao Pre!

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