For many years, there was a store on Central Avenue that sold and serviced mobile phones. There was a large Verizon sign outside, which led me to believe that it was a Verizon store; it was not. One could purchase any mobile phone in the store and get help with it, regardless of which company was the carrier. Since Verizon is the largest carrier in the United States, with over 100 million customers, it made good sense to have a Verizon sign out front. In point of fact, although we usually refer to Verizon as a carrier, it is actually a large telecommunications company that offers wired internet, phone, and television service.
Two young brothers from Brooklyn manage the store. There was a period of time during which I bothered these poor fellows incessantly. This happened shortly after I leased a new car. Nobody bothered to tell me that a connection must be made between a phone and the car. And as I have always been an uninformed consumer, I had no idea that, unless it was set up, my Bluetooth would be incompatible with the audio system in the new car. Since I was unaware of that fact, my phone would not—could not—work when I was in the car. I could use my phone by itself but couldn’t hear it through the car’s audio system. This meant having to hold the phone in my hand, something I did not want to do while driving. It was frustration with a capital F.
Because my service is Verizon, every time I had the problem, I would race over to the “Verizon store” to ask for help.
This happened so often that when the brothers saw me walk into the store they would try to avoid me. One brother would suddenly get busy on the phone talking to what I’m sure was an imaginary person; I was convinced that there was nobody on the other end of that call. Brother number two would suddenly drop below the counter and out of sight. Clearly, he did this in desperation; he had to have realized that I saw him when I walked through the door! That aside, how long could he hide down there?
I could hardly blame either of them since they both knew that whoever got stuck helping me would have to come outside to attend to my problem. It had never occurred to me to let them know that this was a new car and that my phone had to be set up to be compatible with the system and thereby operational. I told them only that my mobile phone (which they referred to as a Bluetooth) had always worked in the car before. For that reason my helper would spend time doing one thing or another to get it working, and when he was done he returned to the store. Then I would drive off in a state of bliss.
But the bliss was not long-lasting. It was usually less than a day or two before I again had phone trouble. At that point I would once again return to ask for help from the brothers. In time I almost felt sorrier for them than I did for myself—almost! And in a small attempt at humor, I thought of them as the Brothers Grimm. That was because it was obvious that they were indeed grim whenever they had to deal with me and my Bluetooth issues.
As Central Avenue is a busy street, it is often difficult to find a convenient parking space. As a result, many times I had parked my car quite a distance from the store and that meant that my helper of the day had to spend extra time outside, away from his desk. This meant that the brother lucky enough not to be helping me that day was also unhappy since he was alone in the store for an extended period of time and had to do double-duty. I was never sure which of the two fellows was more displeased by my frequent visits and requests for help.
But nothing lasts forever and, eventually, after mentioning my problem to a friend, I learned that I had to let the fellows know that this was a new car and not one in which my phone had previously worked. I told them this when I walked up to the counter, and one of the boys figured things out and managed to establish a permanent connection between my phone and my automobile.
All of this was many years ago, and I have not bothered the brothers too often in the years since. I have purchased every one of my new phones from them, and each time I did I needed some assistance. However, the amount of time they had to spend with me on the occasions of my purchases was minimal, and there is no doubt that they were genuinely pleased about that.
Last week, I saw a notice that they had moved and that their new premises are now a few blocks from where I had originally met up with them. There was a notice on Facebook about their move to the current location. They may not be aware that I am a Facebook user, so there is a distinct possibility that they still recall my requests for help all those years ago and were hoping I would not see the notice about the change of location. But I did see it and jotted down the new address, just in case I should need their services again.
They were able to run, but they can’t hide. That’s the way it is.
Hannah Berman lives in Woodmere and gives private small-group lessons in mah-jongg and canasta. She can be reached at Savtahannah@aol.com or 516-295-4435. Read more of Hannah Berman’s articles on 5TJT.com.