Just to keep it real: that headline was a joke.
Backstory: I’d just gone fishing with my dad and some of his friends in northern Ontario. I wasn’t sure if my phone would work in the Canadian wilderness, so I asked my dad.
Dad: Sure, it’ll work fine.
Me: You sure? I have to stay in touch with the office if something goes haywire in the markets or with my clients.
Dad: You’ll be fine.
The short story: I wouldn’t have a tale for you today if it’d worked. The owner of the fishing lodge bought me a phone card on a trip to town for supplies. I was allowed to stand in his living room and use his personal phone for about 15 minutes each day.
It was ugly.
So, a couple months later I was headed to Toronto for a business meeting. Being the think-ahead-guy I am (you may recognize that as another joke if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time), I decided to call Sprint to verify that I could keep in touch with clients and my office.
Sprint: Thank you for calling Sprint. This is Betty. How may I help you?
Me: I’m headed to Toronto in the morning and I wanted to verify that I’ll have phone service.
Sprint: I’m happy to help you with that, sir. First, I need to verify some personal information.
It’s clear to me at this point that she didn’t even listen to my question. We verify that I really am AverageJoe, quite a sexy dude.
Sprint: Okay, now how can I help you sir?
Me: I have a work trip to Toronto, and I’d like to make sure my cell phone will work.
Sprint: Certainly. I can look that up for you. Where was that again?
Sprint: Hold on a moment, sir. I’ll find out for you. Can you hold please?
She’s gone for flippin’ ever. I don’t mean “walk around the house” ever. I mean “fix lunch and dinner and mow the lawn before she gets back” ever.
Sprint: I’m sorry for the delay, sir.
Me: (I was starting to think she’d hung up on me) That’s quite alright.
Sprint: Where was it you’re heading?
Me: (amazed) Toronto. Ontario. Canada.
Sprint: Certainly, sir. Can you hold again? I apologize.
I remember her being very nice about it. Now I’m starting to think something is wrong.
It turns out, something was wrong.
Something was very, very wrong.
Here’s where the Sprint woman gave me the awful news for Americans everywhere.
Sprint: It appears that Toronto, Canada isn’t a part of the United States.
I couldn’t help it. There was only one possible reply.
Me: (indignant) SINCE WHEN?
I hung up. I couldn’t stop laughing.
(Not that it matters, but my phone worked. There were huge roaming fees…maybe so they could hire geography experts.)
How about that? Canadians, are you sad you aren’t a part of the United States? Americans, are you sad the awesome city of Toronto isn’t part of the United States? What’s your best customer service story?
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