Friday, October 30, 2009

The Hunt for a Black (berry) October - A Boron Adventure

Previously, on Zeroes:

Me: Oh no! I took my Blackberry into the shower and now it's in paiiiiinnn! Oh paiiiiinnnn!

Me: My Blackberry is dead! dead! Deeeaaaadddd!

So I woke up today at 1pm - way earlier than I planned - and went to Midvalley Megamall.

My intention was simple:

1. Get a Blackberry for under RM1,000. This is simple - just register with Celcom and I can have the new Blackberry Curve Gemini 8520 for RM588.

2. Restore my data and do some work.

I do not mind:

1. Switching service providers.

2. Paying a little extra for Broadband.

This proved to be more difficult than I expected. I sabotaged myself by wearing frayed and torn shorts as well as a Singha T-shirt - I wear them cause I'm sexy - and this has lead to many shop assistants and salesmen not believing I was serious in purchasing anything.

The Celcom dude was friendly, but wasn't of much help. I knew more about Blackberry than he did, which was fine, but he got me worried because it seems that they might not be able to restore my data and settings because he was worried that Maxis and Celcom's systems might not be compatible. I thought they were one and the same, I mean, Blackberry-wise?

There was, however, an option to purchase just the Blackberry 8520 for RM1199.

The Celcom Exec 250 package, which I am still considering, has some hidden stuff in it. For example, you do get the Celcom Broadband, but it doesn't come with a modem. The modem is RM300++.

Plus, I am unsure whether or not it is compatible with my Maxis thingy.

Plus, porting a phone number takes 3-5 working days, and I needed to use my Blackberry now. TODAY! Actually, YESTERDAY!

Still, if anyone hasn't gotten any data plan or is thinking of getting a smartphone, I suggest the Blackberry Curve Gemini 8520 plus the Celcom Exec 250 package. At a top cost of around RM1100++ (inclusive of first payment deposit of RM300 for non-Celcom customers and the Celcom Broadband modem), you get a kick-ass Blackberry, perhaps 1-2 months of bills paid upfront, and a Celcom Broadband modem and RM98 Internet charges included in the 250 you pay every month.

So anyway, despite my bad experiences with the Maxis Center at Gardens, I decided to go there anyway, just in case they have anything of the sort.

Surprisingly, Maxis changed their staff, and I was talking to a short girl with spiky hair who was very friendly. A huge, huge improvement from the idiot they had there last time.

However, they did not have the Blackberry Curve Gemini 8520. They have the Blackberry Curve. I don't like the Blackberry Curve, but am willing to consider, if I had no options left.

Anyway, having restored my faith in humanity and Maxis customer service, I took a cab to Digital Mall in PJ.

Went to the Blue Cube, explained in detail what I wanted, and was told, simply, "We're out of stock."

I visited my old Blackberry at the smart phone ICU. It was under surgery and will be out for at least another day. I was hoping it would make a miraculous recovery.

Escalating things, I took a bus, and then the LRT and finally a cab to Low Yat, where I was told that 'everything is cheaper'.

It's not.

My mission had changed, by then. I was considering a used Blackberry, or even a China-made Blackberry knock-off called Blueberry.

The Blueberry costs around RM500, but considering the fact that I destroy a Blackberry every year, I might just kill it in two weeks.

And a used Blackberry? The Bold, second-hand, was priced at RM1155. Add 50 bucks, and I get a brand new one. So fuck that.

Most of the used Blackberrys were Storms. I hate touchpads. I have always hated touchpads since they invented it. The Storm is better than the iPhone, but no. Absolutely not.

I notice that the attitude of Low Yat shopkeepers have deteriorated. They are now mean and condescending.

I was laughed at by many Low Yat shopkeepers, with my questions. Questions like, "What is your cheapest Blackberry?" And the communication skills were almost non-existent.

Me: How much for the Blackberry Curve Gemini?

Shopkeeper: The Blackberry Germany?

Me: Umm...Gemini.

SK: Ya la. Germany. RM1399.

I went to one shop, and they had the Blackberry Curve Gemini at RM1199. I was tempted, but as soon as I asked about Made in China Blueberrys, one wise guy at the back shouted, "Want to use Blackberry, but want China one mah?"

Which is understandable. Blackberrys have become a fashion item. I don't really give a shit about how I look. I want the thing cause I got 10 years worth of contacts in my PC. I was just curious about China's Blueberrys. At that stage, if he had said to me, "China's knock-offs suck ass, but if you're just looking for a temporary smartphone, it can last you six months, perhaps. Just add a bit more and I'll give you a one year warranty," I would have bought the Blueberry.

But they didn't. So, I left.

I didn't get mad or anything. It's very simple. If you want my money and you are rude to me, I will react with no emotion, no hatred, and no money...for you.

I guess Low Yat is doing so well nowadays that they don't need my business. I am just one guy in torn shorts with a hard-on for one Blackberry. They must have contracts for thousands of netbooks or something.

Low Yat's Blue Cube also said they have no Blackberry in stock. Again, this is after I told them exactly what I wanted. I wasn't shopping around. They seem not to like that. They want you to perhaps agree with them on an item or something.

I went to Sg Wang, which had more humble people, but still I couldn't get a better deal than before. The Curve Gemini stands at RM1199 at the cheapest.

I had to come to a decision, and it was to purchase a new Blackberry, without any of the packages.

Feeling that the atmosphere of both Low Yat and Sg Wang to be a bit seedy, I decided to buy it from the Celcom Blue Cube outlet I had visited earlier. At the very least, that one looked respectable and would scurry to give me service - customer service.

So I took another cab to Megamall and withdrew money. With a fat wad of cash in my wallet, I went to the Celcom outlet...and was told that they did not have any in stock.

Wow. Three Blue Cube outlets, and not one Gemini 8520? Oh well.

I went to the Maxis Center in Gardens to perhaps get the Curve - my last option.

I went there, took a number, and was served by the same pleasant girl. Unfortunately, I was told that I would only get the Curve at a discount if I signed a 2-year contract with them. I was planning to switch to Celcom, so this was a drag.

Particularly after I discovered that if I were to break the contract - by porting my number to Celcom, for example -I would be charged the full cost of the phone (RM1999) as well as RM800 for something.

RM2800 for breaching a contract where I pay them money? I think these telcos need some competition. Go DiGi!

And, with my wallet still reeking of cash, I walked away. Not disgusted, as the salesgirl was good, but disappointed.

I was going to take yet another cab to Sg Wang and buy one Gemini from a nice salesman there, when I thought to give Megamall another try.

I walked to their IT section, went into a shop selling lots of different things, and asked the shopkeeper there.

"Do you have Blackberrys?"

He answered with a snortle and a chort. With a sneer, he shook his head. I was snickered at many times today, so I knew what to do.

No hate. No emotion. No money for you.

So I went to a stall next to the shop, and saw a Gemini.

Me: How much is this?

Salesman: Here.

And he began to do that annoying thing - typing the price on his calculator. Why do they have to do that? Am I deaf? It showed the figure RM1399.

I said, "Best price?"

And he typed some more on his calculator.


Me: Look, put it at RM1200, and I'll buy it right now. Cash.

I whipped out my wallet, and - whoop! There it is! - took out my hard-earned money.

The shopkeeper was having problems with the device. I handed him my thumbdrive with my saved data on it - luckily, I backed up last week - and that made him more stressed.

I told him I'd go for dinner and come back to pick the thing up.

Had spaghetti tom yam, ice lemon tea and a pot of Earl Grey two levels down. Then, I went back up and he was still failing! It was 9pm and I had to get back, soon.

Me: That's all right. Let me have it. I'll do it myself at home.

Before that, I went for a massage, just to ensure that at the very least, I would have a happy ending.

Back home, I had some tense moments as I found out that the old Blackberry software is not compatible with the Gemini. That, as well as the two chargers I had before this. The Gemini's hole or port is smaller and shaped slightly differently.

Had I gone through all that for nothing? Did I waste my RM1200?

After praying to the Gods of Technology and rebooting my PC twice, I was finally able to restore all data from last week.


Next week, I'm switching to Celcom. As a principle, I do not want to go with companies that would charge you ridiculous fees for breaking a contract pushed down your throat. Maxis has been good, but I think their sales planning does not really benefit consumers, for now.

I mean, I am paying a more expensive fee for my data package, and they do not have Blackberry models I want. Their sales people are now much better than before, I must say, and Celcom would do better to follow suit and improve on their knowledge and service.

I do not believe we should stop any company coming up with biased contracts, as it is their choice. Biased because if we fuck up, we have to pay through our noses. If they fuck up - say, their system is down for a few days - do we get a refund or get to charge exorbitant fees? No.

But fuck that shit, man. No emotion, no anger, just no money for you.