I loathe shopping.
I really, really do. There are few things I enjoy less.
That's why I so rarely do it. I buy most everything online and have it sent to me. On those rare occasions when I do have to venture out, I don't actually "shop" per-se... I just go directly to the store that has what I want, and buy whatever is available. No looking for options. No comparison shopping. No hunting for hot sales. No running around trying something better. If the store doesn't have it, I buy whatever is the most similar.
Here are the stores I shop at...
That's it. I don't go anywhere else. I may not always get exactly what I want (and I'm sure I don't get the best price) but I don't much care. The time saved from actually "shopping" makes it all worthwhile to me. Today (well, yesterday now) I had to make a trip to all three of my stores, plus get a haircut. It took three hours, including the 40 minutes it takes to get to Wenatchee and back, plus the time to run across the river to Target.
I'm telling you this to put things into perspective. I go after what I want, and don't mess around when it comes to getting it.
Except, it would seem, when it comes to getting a mobile phone.
Shopping for a mobile carrier sucks ass because if you make the wrong choice, you are trapped in a 24-month contract. One goof and you pay for it for the next 2 years. And it doesn't help that there is no "right choice." There are plusses and minuses for each option...
After spending hours pouring over plans and phones and costs and all the rest, I eventually settled on Cingular. Mostly because they had the next-best coverage after Verizon, and would allow me an international phone so I can call or be called everywhere. Unfortunately, that didn't work out, and the customer service was too frustrating to make me want to stick around.
And that's when something miraculous happened. I was bitching to Verizon about a problem with my phone and brought up how frustrating it is that they don't use GSM phones for international use, and how I was planning on dumping out of my contract because of it. The very nice lady on the other end of the line then goes on to tell me that they now offer "Global Phones" which are combination CDMA/GSM and can be used anywhere. I'll get great coverage locally, as always, and also be able to roam globally via GSM... all with the same phone number!
It was a very expensive $550 phone (and doesn't have BlueTooth) but, as incentive not to leave, Verizon made me a nice offer. It was still more than I wanted to pay... but, just like when I "go shopping," the effort saved was worth the additional cost to me.
Now, I realize that not a lot of people travel as often as I do, but why would Verizon keep this amazing option such a secret? It's buried on their web site in some obscure corner of a FAQ and even the customer service agent had to dig to find it. Bizarre.
Oh well, one less thing for me to do before I have to pack my suitcase.