Why Even Call it Second Day Air AT&T?

ups scooterSo with AT&T offering $99 refurbished iPhones until the thirty-first, I swallowed my bitterness towards cell phone contracts and ordered a phone Saturday morning. Like 8am on Saturday. They offered free 2nd Day Air, but stupid me didn’t check the method, I just assumed it would be regular US mail. I received an email Sunday saying the item had been shipped, which led me to believe even more so that it had shipped Saturday via US mail. However, yesterday morning, I took a closer look at the email, and saw tracking info. It was being shipped UPS, and the tracking info showed no movement. Today I checked it, and it left Dallas at 8:15pm. So much for 2nd day air.

Aside from now being anxious to start playing with using my iPhone, (I’ll be in a location that doesn’t have any internet to speak of through the weekend), I’ll be leaving for said trip first thing tomorrow morning, so I didn’t want the phone sitting on my porch until Sunday evening. I called UPS thinking that I could simply have them keep the package at the Tampa shipping center, and pick it up before I left. Even if I didn’t have time to activate it, it wouldn’t be sitting there beckoning some noisy teenager to steal it.

UPS’s automated 1-800 number leaves something to be desired to say the least. They must have held a competition for the most annoying voice, because this woman’s voice is disturbing to say the least. I tried the usual “operator” and “help” at the prompts, but each time was met with the recording asking me if I wanted to “trackapackage”. Yes, a new word in the English lexicon, “trackapackage”.

I finally found a human via a local UPS Store, who told me the magic word is “representative”, and to just keep repeating it, ignoring anything the automated prompts tried to use to derail me from talking to a human. This worked, and after a few minutes on hold, I was speaking to a real live person. This woman, Danielle I believe she told me her name was, said that UPS doesn’t “intercept” packages before their first attempted delivery. I grumbled a “thanks AT&T and UPS”, and she said to give her the tracking number, and IF the package were to arrive in Tampa before 6pm, someone might be able to pull it and I could pick it up this evening. However when she saw the timestamp on the origin scan from Dallas, she didn’t sound hopeful that scenario would unfold.

So now I must find a neighbor who can check on the package and hold it for me, which really isn’t a big deal, but had I known that 2nd day Air didn’t really mean 2nd Day air, I would have paid the extra charge to have it overnighted, and avoided the headache altogether.

Fortunately my Nokia has a pretty good 3G connection, and a decent browser, not to mention Google mail/maps, so I won’t be totally disconnected, not that I couldn’t probably stand going dark for a few days, but I’ve got too much work pending to completely go off the grid. Plus, I’m really looking forward to snapping some shots of the last sunset of ‘08 and first sunrise of ‘09 for a New Years day post. The pass on the north end of the island I’ll be on has a great vantage point for taking both, and now that I’m a little more familiar with the little point and shoot camera I’ve got, not to mention sporting a tripod now, I’m really hoping to get some good photos.

Obligatory Response to New iPhone

I was really looking forward to today’s confirmation of the lower price 3G iPhone. I purposely held off (for a change) on adopting a 1st gen Apple product, knowing the 3G service would be coming. However, now that reports have confirmed that you will have to sign a contract, I’m not so sure now that I will be adopting the new phone. I genuinely do not use a cell phone for talking enough to justify signing such a contract, and being required to have such a plan (what $70 a month?). The previous $20 a month data plan plus minimal talk time per minute was fine with me, as I have used it with other “smartphones”.

I will be curious to see how they treat 1st gen iPhone users who currently are doing pay as you go plus data plans. Perhaps those will still be allowed to use the prepay, and I’ll pick one up on teh cheap, until I can justify signing a contract paying for that much phone usage.

My other option is to wait to see what happens to iPod Touch prices, as I may get just as much use out of one of those as an iPhone.

If anyone has a suggestion for a smartphone that can be used with pay as you go and unlimited data plan with AT&T, has a great web browser support, bluetooth, and is iSync capable, I’d love to hear about it. edit: and can be purchased new/used for $200 or less without a contract.