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The email from Verizon was good news. “Congrats, you’re being rewarded with a special offer. You’ve earned it, now enjoy it.. Enjoy email, Facebook, Twitter, maps, and so much more right from your new smartphone. You’ll love it!” For an old retired professor the offer was for a new Samsung Galaxy Stellar Smartphone. And the December 16, communication from Verizon was the beginning of a two week odyssey that proved that an old dog can learn new tricks.
As the proud owner of a Verizon flip phone for the past 10 years, the present writer has planned to keep the LG flip phone that worked beautifully and did everything that was needed until it was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. Vontisha Fludd, Retail Sales and Business Specialist, for Verizon Wireless on 6198 Little River Turnpike in Alexandria, Virginia, understood the apprehension that many seniors have about the new technology. “You can master the apps and the new technology,” she said.
When the customer pointed out that there were over 50 apps already preloaded on the smartphone, the positive customer service specialist said that was not a problem. “Verizon offers free classes to help our customers understand how to use the smartphone. We will take you through all of the functions and we will show you everything you need to know to use your new smartphone,” she said.
For a baby boomer, where everything had to be in print, the writer asked for the instruction manual. Another Verizon sales associate said “The manual is 500 pages long. It would take a box to put it in. There is no way you could fit it in the small box the smartphone is packaged in. You will have to get it online.”
Reading and studying the manual was a course in and of itself. The smartphone has a GPS system that will locate a coffee shop, provide all the information in regards to location and number, and then will give a street map and directions to take you to the door of the small business.
Hands too big to text represent no problem for the new smartphone. You can simply voice text. Speak the words and they magically appear on the screen. “My nephews laugh at me. I am 69 years old. I can’t understand all of the gadgets on the smartphone. I am using my flip phone until I die, said one old man. The digital divide need not separate the old from the young. There is no conspiracy to make older Americans obsolete. This is not Logan’s Run where everybody over 30 is marked for death. This is technology and this is positive change.
The new Samsung Galaxy Stellar Smartphone is truly amazing. In the two weeks since Verizon gave the phone to the present writer it has revealed new and incredible capabilities every single day. It did take several days to learn how to receive calls. You don’t tap the phone, you have to swipe it. The phone does not have a ring. It plays a theme song. It is like an episode of Ally McBeal where everyone has there own theme song.
The Verizon class answered all the questions about the operation of the smartphone and made a major difference in teaching the class of seniors not to fear the technology. After being a Verizon customer for over a decade, being given a new Samsung Galaxy Stellar Smartphone was the best introduction to the new technology and the new year.
It is time to upgrade to the next generation.
Happy New Year, America.