Never Say Never

I love it when lessons come at unexpected times.

Monday night I slammed the car door on my cellphone, nestled inside my jacket pocket. The impact shattered the screen, and of course, rendered the cellphone useless. Oh, and had I downloaded the program that would have backed up my 400+ contacts, and would have easily let me load them onto a new phone? You know the answer to that question! More crazy-making than that was that the phone still received incoming calls--I just couldn't answer them. I contacted the insurance company and my new phone arrived Wednesday night.

I then called the local carrier store on the off-chance that the contact info could be rescued. The first "associate" said it wasn't possible, then asked another who said it might be. I took the chance and drove 12 miles to the store. There I was met by another smiling associate who assured me, in 30 seconds, that nothing could be retrieved from my phone because the screen couldn't be accessed. I recounted the earlier call, to no avail. I appealed with the rush hour drive, and finally, she reluctantly went to ask another associate. I watched #2's response, and clearly it might be possible. I made my way to the back of the store to show #2 my phone.

Kaylee--her name--looked maybe 22 years old, and could easily have been one of my former first grade students. Watching her problem-solve was an art in and of itself! When the usual route of beaming the info from the damaged phone to a data device didn't work, she repeated it three times, just to be sure. Then she used my second phone to access the same process to make sure (since she couldn't see the screen) that she had pushed the right buttons. And then, to leave no stone unturned, she tried one last process: beaming from the damaged phone (she counted how many clicks to move the cursor, using the new phone as a guide) to the new phone. Voila! It worked. In one second, my contacts jumped from one phone to another. On top of it, she skipped the lecture on why I hadn't backed up the contacts ... And on top of that, there was no charge.

The story doesn't end there. While Kaylee worked, and a third associate watched while she was doing her own task, a fourth associate approached. "Are you busy? Could either of you help with a billing problem? I need someone good." They let him know when they could help and he returned to the customer.

"That was a compliment," I offered, and they both laughed.

"Yeah, maybe a back-handed compliment!" I subtly asked about their laughter.

Seems the young women are "good" at billing (and the simpler repair issues), and the young men are "good" at sales. Salaries, of course, are based on sales commissions. How can you get good at something that you don't often do. On and on it goes.

There is so much to learn from this brief 15 minute encounter. My greeter, for instance, was overly interested in being right, rather than problem-solving. My insistence made the difference. Kaylee might be "going places" with her incredible perseverance, or maybe not! And gender issues might be more subtle, but are ever present.

For my part, I'm reconsidering times I've been overly invested in being right myself. A great lesson for a Friday afternoon.


  1. NOTE TO SELF: You have still not backed up your phone contacts!

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