PGH: South Hills Village, Cell Phone, Spiffer

Posted after returning from the trip.

This morning, Jodi was still exhausted and not feeling too well — the effects of dinner last night, probably. She was also out of cash, as was I, so I transferred $100 to checking and took it out in cash, plus the usual fees. The fees aren’t that bad when you take out largeish amounts, really. By 2:15 (too late, again, for the museums), we were waiting for the 91A to take us downtown. Jodi showed me to Fat Tommy’s, where I sampled a slice. (They’ve also got fried cheese planks like Bennigan’s — asiago-covered, I think.) We also went to Primanti’s, because I’d been craving that for a while. I ran out of room about halfway through, which was a damn shame.

From Gateway Center station, we took the 42S to South Hills Village Mall. This requires an extra 50¢ fare because it’s outside Zone 1, but it’s worth it. It’s a long-ass trip. I was looking for a charger for the camera’s batteries; Jodi wanted to get a cell phone. We stopped first at Radio Shack, where a snot-nosed punk tried to convince us that 2-year Verizon contracts were an industry standard (beware of anyone who says “it’s a known fact”) and that I was out of touch if I didn’t agree with his view of the industry. We tried the Verizon store and heard the same details in a more straightforward manner. We checked the Nextel kiosk but saw that their walkie-talkie minutes were cutting into what you could get for $40/mo.

Finally, we went to AT&T. What a wonderful difference! Not only were the plans better (Jodi gets to switch phones every 6 months if she wants (as opposed to 24 months from Verizon), the free phone has a lightweight lithium battery and a color screen with games, and incoming text messages are free), but the salesman dropped to his knees nonchalantly to address Jodi face-to-face (she had borrowed a chair). He was warm, friendly, and self-assured, and even sent us a message a few hours after Jodi signed up to make sure we liked the service. I think this is more than AT&T’s mlife campaign to attract women as customers — I think he’s damn good at his job. He filled out the rebate form for us and gave us a copy of all the things we’d need to redeem it, even an envelope. He even filled out our “no marketing” preference for us before we asked!

Jodi pretty much saves money on the deal since she’d be paying about $30/mo anyway just for a land line with caller ID, plus long distance bills. Here she’s got long distance at the cost of airtime with nights and weekends (which is when she calls most people anyway) for free. And she’s got a wi-fi connection to a T-1 at her USF-area apartment, so she doesn’t really need the phone line at all. I’m not so lucky: DSL requires a phone line, cable modem’s expensive too. So I probably won’t get a cell phone until we move in together again and share a cable modem.

Jodi celebrated with — what else? — another trip to dELiA*s, where I saw another kind of digital convergence: a pen that includes an emery board, cuticle pusher and fingernail cleaner. On the way home, we made the obligatory “You’ll never guess where I’m calling you from!” calls.

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