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Why Verizon salespeople should make Jeter hear them

A Verizon salesman catches Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit ball and gives it right back. The Yankees offer him gifts. Jeter, though, has offered nothing.

Tonight is the All-Star Game, a time when rich people gather together to celebrate the fact that they are rich and can hit a ball with a broom handle.

It's a world away from being, say, a Verizon salesman. It's not easy being a Verizon salesman. Yes, you can now sell the iPhone. But you also have to be a tolerant, cheery person, especially in the face of some customers whose sense of decorum and language can leave them in the twitch of a nostril.

When you hit a ball with a broom handle, you can ignore every last word uttered by a customer. When you're a Verizon salesperson, this is a little more difficult.

So when a Verizon salesman suddenly rubs shoulders with an All-Star, you might imagine that only joys can ensue--at least for the Verizon salesman.

In case you have been detained by the TSA for the last few days, you should know that a fine, upstanding Verizon salesman, Christian Lopez, caught Derek Jeter's 3000th hit last weekend.

A 2 out of 10 for customer service? CC Terren in Virginia/Flickr

This ball is worth somewhere in the region of $250,000. Not because it is a ball of magical value, but because some sad Yankees fan will probably pay this much for that particular ball.

Lopez is not a sad Yankees fan. Indeed, he was very glad to simply give the ball back to Jeter. Oddly, in the photographs of the two of them together, Lopez smiled broadly, while Jeter couldn't have looked more bored if he'd been forced to read a whole copy of Angling Monthly while seated in a dentist's waiting room.

The Yankees offered Lopez four luxury seats for the rest of the season (yes, those overpriced padded seats have proved to be a very hard sell). For this, he may have to pay around $13,000 in taxes. Jeter, though, signed a couple of shirts and bats and reportedly offered Lopez nothing at all.

This seems very poor customer service on Jeter's part. Surely he could offer something a little more material in order to show the value to him of Lopez' magnanimous gesture.

If an outright donation is thought to be inappropriate, perhaps Lopez might offer his freelance services to help Jeter on the customer service front. He might offer him a little advice on how to appeal to those who pay your wages.

Tonight, you see, Jeter is missing the All-Star game. He is claiming a calf injury, despite going 5-for-5 on Saturday. There is, no doubt, an All-Star bonus payment in his contract. Perhaps he might think of sharing that with Lopez in return for some advice.

Perhaps, though, if no gesture arrives on the part of Jeter, the rest of the Verizon customer service world might stand in solidarity with their fellow salesman. Jeter is supposed to be the ultimate team player, so he would surely appreciate the whole of Lopez' team entreating the Yankee to offer more than some mere doodle dandy on a bat to such an altruistic fan.

Perhaps the power of Twitter, the Web or the text can be employed to bring attention to what seems like a slight dismissal of the humble cell phone salesman.

Customer service is a rare art. It can go awry with one misplaced word or one lost smile. Surely, in this case, the Verizon salesperson deserves a little better and the Yankees' shortstop deserves to hear about it now.