Linda Yezak

Welcome to the 21st Century

I did it. I walked right in to the AT&T store like I knew what I was doing and stared at the phone display. Which was really all I could do--stare. At the sight of all those phones and feature lists, my brain turned into a bowlful of buttered oatmeal and simply shut down.

Lucky for me, my mouth still worked (which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me). A saleslady, LaWanda, asked what she could do for me.

"Can you bring me into the 21st Century?"

"Sure I can," she said with a confidence worn by youth like a royal ermine robe. "You do have a phone, don't you?"

That brought my brain back into gear. "Of course I do. I made it to the 20th Century fine--I just need to move up a decade or so."

I told her what features I wanted from a phone, and she pointed out a couple of popular models, telling me the difference between the two.

"This one can beep-beep, wonka-wonka, and gobbledigook. This one can only beep-beep and wonka-wonka." Then she grabbed another one. "This is a popular one, too. It can beep-beep, wonka-wonka, gobbledigook, and has a larger screen!"

Larger screen. I understood that. "I want that one."

At that moment, she pulled out her own phone and compared the one I just fell in love with to hers. "Of course, this one can do the same things as the others, and it has a large screen, and it can honk-honk!"

Whatever the "honk-honk" was, I wanted it. Then she told me how much her model cost.

"Oh," I said.

As this point, LaWanda used a sales technique I'd used in the '70s when I worked at a jewelry store. I remembered it long after I got home with my new treasure. She kept her phone in sight and continued to praise the abilities of the less expensive one.

Her phone was dangling in my mind like a sapphire on a serpentine chain. "So, how does this [sorry cheap thing] compare to your [wonderful, magical jewel of technology]?"

"Oh, mine has bling-bling, bling-bling, and this one doesn't. But this one is still a good model."

Nuh-uh. I wanted the bling.

Sold! The lady bought a BlackBerry!

LaWanda spent the next thirty minutes showing me the features and giving me a brief tutorial. And my brain actually registered some of the things she said. Really, I amaze myself sometimes.

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