How Verizon tried to unsell me an iPhone

Rumor has it that Verizon store reps are doing everything possible to divert sales away from the iPhone. To see if this might be true, I went to a Verizon store, only to be told that Verizon doesn't push the iPhone, Apple does.

"So why do you sell iPhones at all?" I ended up asking Phil, the Verizon rep.

"Because people want them," was his beautiful reply.

This was the conclusion to a morning foray to a Verizon store in the New York area, one in which I tried to discover if the rumors were true.

No, not whether the iPhone 5 is coming next week, but whether Verizon tries to sell any other smartphone, but Apple's. This notion had been fostered by several posts this week that offered Verizon's apparent reluctance to encourage anyone to buy Apple's Godpiece.

Not being a believer in what I read on blogs, I went in posing as a customer. Actually, that's not true. Though I did once play a French count in a high school play, I didn't need to pose here. I have an AT&T iPhone. I was ready to be sold.

First, I noticed that the iPhones at this Verizon store weren't displayed near any of the other smartphones. They had their own little home, tucked away against a wall. The majority of this store was given over to rivals.

When Phil came over I told him the truth, said that my friends toss stale eggs at me because I still have AT&T, and asked him what he recommended.

He darted immediately toward the Motorola Droid Razr. He explained that this would download anything 10 times faster than the iPhone.

"Ten times," I replied. "Wow." Actually I said "Gosh," because the English accent can make me sound even more naive sometimes.

"So this phone is amazing," I continued, quite awed. Phil explained that this was what 4G could do for you and the iPhone just isn't 4G. He added that the Marketplace is so much less expensive than Apple's. "And a lot more apps are free."

He could still feel my doubt. I have that kind of face. So he added: "And the battery lasts a lot longer than the iPhone."

I was surprised that my iPhone really was quite so dated, quite so troublingly awful.

"So you think I should buy this Droid Razr?" I asked.

"Well, no," said Phil. "I'd get the Galaxy Nexus."

I looked at him as if he'd just told me he was once married to Jennifer Lopez.

He obviously felt my confusion, because he said: "It's the screen resolution. It's better than the Razr's."

"Oh," was all I could emit, before he continued: "The battery's not so good, but I'm always near a charger."

He explained that both these phones had bigger screens and that they would make me far more attractive to my target sex. All right, he didn't say that last part. For that's when I interjected with my questions as to why Verizon sells iPhones at all.

"Verizon doesn't push iPhones," he explained. "Apple pushes iPhones."

I resisted commenting that Verizon seemed like something of a henpecked spouse in all of this, because Phil then went in for the kill.

He explained that as soon as his contract was up he was going to get a Galaxy Nexus.

"Ah," I mused. "And what do you have right now?"

He reached into his right-hand pocket and pulled out an iPhone. With a Verizon-red bumper.

 

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