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Wanna play “Guess what brands I hate today”?

Over the past two days I have been caught in a technology alternate universe. It’s the one where reality happens. It’s the one where hype laps the truth on a regular basis. It’s the one where “experts” don’t know what they are talking about. It’s also the one that if you don’t like the answer you get just go to the next “well-trained” sales rep to get a completely different answer thrown at you with the confidence of an expert marksman.

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It’s an alternate universe because the one that is promoted by companies as the “real” reality is the one where everything in tech works seamlessly. It’s where public relations-fed pushes happen weeks ahead of an upgrade or some other “event” that we must partake in or else we will be kicked out of the human race. It’s where people have game systems, surround sound, 72-inch monitors, some brand of “better TV,” laptops, tablets, cable and satellite ultra-high HD signals and 3D TV without glasses all working in harmony and you can’t even see a single wire anywhere.

Well, I bought that vision this week when I stepped into “cell phone operating system upgrade” mode. I was tweaked by a Facebook update about how I could pull the latest and greatest upgrade of the best operating system in the world that is open and has all the advantages of not being like that other one that actually works like it is advertised. Heck, one of the biggest companies on the planet assured me that it had created the next generation of the coolest thing that has ever been held in someone’s hand. Like an idiot, I bought it and “upgraded.” (Have you guessed this great operating system yet?)

Well, my non-fruit named handheld device swallow the upgrade whole and got a catastrophic case of techno heartburn. It was so bad it simply froze up. It quit. Maybe I shouldn’t have trusted my communications to a company that came to fame because it made the best walkie-talkie and was left for dead in the modern era until there was a great ad campaign by a wireless company that was getting its butt kicked by another wireless provider who was selling smart phones that have a picture of fruit on it and actually worked like advertised. My bad! (Did you guess my cell phone maker yet?)

So, in my distress of living in the alternate universe where the reality is that things that don’t work as they say they should, I decided my best bet was to go to my wireless provider to get this thing right. Surely they knew what to do, right?

Well, the solution was to send my phone off to refurb land so I would get a “new” phone because my great OS update choked the life out of my current phone. Of course, I wondered if I could get a deal on the newer version of the phone because I am a good customer who pays SIGNIFICANT money each month to keep myself and my family on this network that is supposed to be the best and the fastest. The salesperson smiled and said “Sure we can that! You just have to pay full retail for the new phone! Thanks for your business!”

So I left the store with the assurance that my “new” phone would show up the next day via FedEx. Well, at least one thing worked better than advertised. I got the “new” phone before the scheduled 12-3 pm time. I was feeling better.

But guess what? My “new” phone was not really new. It was certified as almost new. In other words, it was a refurbed version of the one that I was about to send back to the shop so it could be brought back to life by a cell phone Dr. Frankenstein and passed off as “new” to some other schmuck much like me. I wasn’t happy and then I started it up and guess what? It didn’t work. I was about to lose it.

So it was back to the local office of my trusted service provider who was looking after my “best interest.” The “knowledgeable” sales person who wanted to ship my phone to tech Siberia wasn’t there, so I was blessed with another “expert.” This “expert” actually was able to bring my original phone back to life because she had some secret insider information that was not to be shared with the rest of the staff because that would make sense. She proceeded to argue with me that my “new” phone should have never been shipped to me as if it was my fault that her company decided to do it. She also tried to act as if the OS that was creating the issues had nothing to do with her company even though it has to because of the networks, etc.

In the end, I was told that I needed to go to FedEx to return my newly refurbed phone that I shouldn’t have had from the get go. I asked “Can’t you do that?” and her customer service friendly response was “It’s not our problem. It was shipped to you!”

The end of the story? I have my old phone with the new operating system and it seems to be working fine even though everything was wiped from my phone and I have to start from scratch. At least I can make a call now.

So did you figure out what brands I hate today? It’s Google’s Android Gingerbread OS being run on a Motorola DroidX on the Verizon network. Thanks to this experience in the reality of technology’s latest and greatest “needs,” when my contract expires, it is likely that I will have the latest iPhone running on the AT&T network.

Nice work everyone at Google, Motorola and Verizon. You couldn’t have done a more pathetic job.

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