Last week I blogged 2+2=5 at the ATT Store. This is the postscript, “Read my next post to see how my interrogator left me thoroughly broken.”
Slippy Pants looks at the screen where my name blazes alone. She approaches me but doesn’t sit as she had with all the previous customers. She looks down at me. “What can I do for you today?”
“My modem quit. I need to buy a new one,” I said.
Slippy Pants (SP) takes on a role similar to O’Brien, Winston’s interrogator in George Orwell’s 1984. “How old is your modem?”
Me: “Six years old. I bought it in this store in 2012.”
SP: “What kind is it?”
SP: “I mean what type?”
I hand her the note with the information I had copied from the Device Manager file on my hard drive. She draws her heavy blackened brows together. Her ruby mouth painted larger than her lips frowns into a deep scowl. “I can’t read that.”
I stare at the associate young enough to be my great-granddaughter. “Oh, I guess you can’t read cursive.”
SP: “Oh yes, I can read cursive. Just not yours. It’s messier than most.”
Chastised—broken—I read the details aloud.
SP: “Never heard of that modem.”
ATT probably stopped selling it when she was in ninth grade.
SP peppers me with more questions. “How do you connect? Is it dial-up? Broadband? Do you have to use the yellow cord?” Before I can respond, she says “One minute while I check something.”
SP stops Smiley, the other associate still assisting the puzzled man with the iPad. “A quick question,” SP says. She hands the cursive note to Smiley. “What kind of modem does she need?”
Smiley reads my written note, or perhaps she overheard the conversation and pretends to read it. “The standard modem.”
SP: “I wasn’t sure because she doesn’t know how she connects to the internet.”
SP: “Oh.” She turns to Smiley. “Does the regular modem work with wireless?”
“Yes, it should work with all connections,” Smiley says. She hands the note back to me without speaking, an apology in her eyes softened by wisdom.
“I’ll be right back,” SP tells me. She tugs her pants up, strides to the back room, and returns with an unmarked plain brown box. She processes my credit card and hands me a receipt, staring at my silvery hair. “Keep the receipt in case this modem doesn’t work, and you have to return it.”
Why wouldn’t it work?
SP continues her lecture. “But first you have to call the number on the instruction sheet.” Staring at my hair again, she says, “If they can’t help you, they will send a technician to your home. But, you’ll have to pay for that.” She thrusts the box into my hands and turns toward the exit. Dismissed like a misbehaving child, I follow. She pushes the door open and says, “Have a nice day.”
I leave not only convinced that 2+2=5 at the ATT store, but with my confidence to install a new modem thoroughly broken.
Side by side on my desk, the identical Net Gear/ATT modems remind me of an old perm commercial, “Which Twin Has the Toni?” With no curls to guide me, I’ll keep the twin with the green lights. The one on the left will go to the hazardous waste recycling facility.
Can you read cursive? I aced the test. (Could it be because my handwriting is so poor?) Let me know how you fared.