On Monday night, I dropped my iPhone in water. I wasn’t doing the dishes or brushing my teeth, but I was trying to balance the phone (while I was talking on it) on the top of a glass of water so I could carry both the glass of water in one hand and a beer in the other (priorities, people). Well my brilliant multitasking plan quickly became brilliantly stupid — or rather, it was already brilliantly stupid, but it demonstrated how it was brilliantly stupid. As you might guess, my phone slipped into the glass of water. (I know, I KNOW. It’s still painful for me to think about, much less confess to via the internet.)
I managed to spill my beer in the process, too, so things went like this —
((phone slips into water))
((beer spills onto my bed))
me: “Double (expletive!)”
Needless to say, I’ve had better evenings. I yanked my phone out of the water and desperately tried to power it down. It didn’t want to and the screen wouldn’t respond to my touch.
I had to let it die on it’s own (of battery drainage . . . I didn’t know if it would totally die from the water exposure, but I wanted to hold onto some hope). I shoved it in a bag of uncooked rice and resolved to let it dry for a few days before I did anything drastic (like turn it on). A couple of days of alternating between pulling it out of the rice to turn on the hair dryer (on cool) and try to blow into the phone to get any remaining water out and letting it sit undisturbed for many hours, I decided it had to be dry enough. Yesterday, I pulled my phone out of the rice and (gulp!) plugged it into the charger.
It cheerfully chirped in that iPhone way to let me know that the battery was charging. (Awesome!) But the screen was really dim and when I turned it on, it didn’t respond to my touch. (Not awesome!) Somehow, though, over the next several hours, it began becoming more responsive and as of this morning, I could call, text and fiddle with apps. The only problem? The visibly messed up screen. It almost looked as if someone had sneezed on the screen and then tried to wipe it away. Pretty!
I decided to take it into the Apple store this morning, thinking maybe they could repair the screen. As you might guess, they couldn’t, but they could replace the phone. I had purchased a 3G model for $99 last summer and, of course, not only was my extended warranty up, but it didn’t cover water damage. Awesome. Unfortunately for me, they couldn’t replace the 3G, they could only sell me a 3GS (at $199) with a 1 year contract.
After some tinkering with the phone, I learned that I was eligible to upgrade to an iPhone 4 on January 28th for $199. Hot dog! That’s great! Except . . . that’s a month away. This is when I started to get a little frustrated . . . and when I took the nice Apple girl’s advice on calling AT&T and borderline-begged them to move up my upgrade date. Three calls later (my phone dropped the first two — water damage or their famously-sketchy service, I’ll leave that for you to decide), I was rejected, Soup Nazi style. (No upgrade for you!)
With a crushed spirit and near-tears in my eyes, I walked around the shopping center reviewing my options:
– beg AT&T for an earlier upgrade at the cost I’d get on the 28th (didn’t work).
– buy a 3GS to replace my 3G at twice the cost of the phone and lock myself into another contract w/out eligibility to upgrade for over a year (ugh)
– upgrade to the iPhone 4 early, which would cost over $400 (no way, Jose)
– buy a go-phone to use to avoid using the damaged phone until I was able to upgrade (would mean I’d have to train everyone to a different cell number… but only for a month)
– or bite the bullet, wait to buy the iPhone 4 for $200 on the 28th, and use my damaged phone for the next four weeks and pray that it doesn’t crap out on me in an emergency or during the days that I’m on-call (spoiler alert: this one won)
I’m not someone who makes a habit of asking for special treatment. I’m a good customer — I pay my bill on time, in full every month and haven’t once complained to the company about anything — so I won’t lie… I was really disappointed that they wouldn’t let me upgrade just a few weeks early. As my blood pressure came down (I promise, I didn’t yell — I just get pretty tense, even if I’m being a nice as can be with customer service folks… they hold the key to you getting what you want, remember?), I gave into the tears and cried a bit on the way home. Babyish? Maybe, but I was really steamed.
Let this be a lesson, folks. Be smart with your smart phones, people, because AT&T and Apple are both unyielding… You will lose. And fair warning, if on January 29th you hear of some lady in the Bay area who loses her mind and goes postal in an Apple store when they try to charge her more than the $199 fee for upgrading that they’d originally quoted, it’s probably me.