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Me vs. ‘Sprint’

July 27, 2012
By Wes Burns , Times-Republican

My phone hasn't been working well.

Let me back up ... Thomas Edison was a thief.

I think I backed up too far; let me try that again.

Most inventors aren't who they claim to be. Thomas Edison stole ideas from his former assistant Nicola Tesla, Steve Jobs stole the first Mac operating system from Xerox and Vitaly Abalakov stole all his ideas from me.

That was my V-thread gearless ice climbing anchor Vitaly!

However, there is one inventor who can claim all the fame due to him and his wondrous inventions.

Englishman, inventor and late-night infomercial bon vivant James Dyson is best known for inventing a vacuum that, through some graphics of swirling wind, is better than a vacuum with a dust bag.

Also the bladeless fan, which I?believe is some kind of witchcraft.

Perhaps even more astounding than his bagless vacuum is his simple claim that, "I believe things should work."

Wouldn't that be nice - to live in a world where the things I spend my money on actually do what they are supposed to do?

But that beautiful dream world does not exist. Case in point: My cell phone.

According to my own inscrutable records (my Facebook page, without hitting the "older posts" button) it was July 6 that I?was complaining about my cell service.

Now, I don't think I should mention the name of my cell provider, lest my legion of fans descend upon that company with some ill conceived letter writing/flash mob/street dancing campaign which culminates in arrest and deportation. Let's just say that they are a national service provider and their name rhymes with Sprint.

So this "Sprint" decided to cut service in the greater MTown area as a result of, according to their barely intelligible customer service rep, "a storm."

Later, it became obvious that she was referring to a large thunderstorm that struck the east coast of the U.S.

Fine. Telecommunications are all interconnected, so maybe that actually could cause a problem.

But then, starting last Thursday my phone decided to stop working. Again. No major storms, no national disaster, I just stopped getting service.

Well ... that's not entirely true. I did not have service in my house, at work or anywhere else inside of MTown.

Except Walmart.

For some reason, as soon as my car pulled into Walmart's parking lot, it sprung to life with any number of texts asking me what I? was doing, complaining that I wasn't responding and inevitably cursing my name.

This is actually worse than only having a land line; at least then you can get calls at home. This total service disruption had transformed my texts into snail-mail and Walmart had become my new post office.

So after "Sprint" customer service explained to me the cause of my service issues was ... unknown ... I wasn't holding out hope that this would get resolved soon.


Oh yes, RAGBRAI. The cell service crushing influx of thousands of bikers was bound to destroy any hope I ever had of not buying useless items at Walmart to justify the time I spent wandering around responding to text messages.

And after the bikers, the food vendors, the storm and the post-storm parties, I?looked down at my phone and discovered that, against all odds, I had cell service.

Service. On my own phone. Glorious. Because I too believe in Mr. Dyson's simple philosophy that things should work.

He might just be the smartest man in late-night infomercials. But don't buy one of those vacuums; sure they work great, but $500? For something I use once a year? Ridiculous.


Copy Editor Wes Burns is a Friday columnist. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or



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