Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The evolution of technology (and service)


This past weekend I received a call from the front desk letting me know that "my lady friends" were here. You see, before I became a spa guy, I was a computer geek. My first real job was as a sales clerk at the ComputerLand store at York Mills and Don Mills. For eight years I rode the technology boom of the eighties; first with the Apple IIe, followed closely by the IBM PC. Those were heady days. My lady friends were three sisters, two of whom worked with me at Computerland, with whom I shared some great times, lots of laughs, and hundreds of chicken wings. I have lots of great memories of those years, mostly to do with the fun people I met and became life long friends with. Every once in a while one of those friends shows up at Ste. Anne's for some R&R and we invariably sit down and look back on those fun times of years gone by. It's hard for me to believe that almost a quarter century has passed! In around 1990, as I was making the transition from computer geek to spa guy, only the coolest guys were sporting these new "cell phone" gadgets. My brother John, who was managing Ste. Anne's Bed & Breakfast back then had one of the early Motorola phones (pictured above). I either took his over, or got one of my own, I can't remember. In any case, I carried (or should I say lugged) that thing with me everywhere. We must have looked so goofy with those monstrosities strapped to our waists; yes we did have holsters for them! It's no wonder that the "hip" kids of the day waited a little while before adopting this trend. From 1993 or so to about 3 months ago, I have carried a cell phone, and I've always used Bell Mobility as my service provider. You see, up until recently, Bell was the only carrier that provided a fairly good signal to our "back-woods" location (five minutes off the 401). Even today, Bell, through Rogers charges us an arm and a leg (about $2,000 a month) for our high speed connection because we're "off the main service corridor) - ridiculous. So, when things started to sour with Bell (very long story), I started looking for another cell phone supplier. Telus ads speak to me, so while wandering through the Oshawa centre one Saturday afternoon, I found myself being drawn into the Telus store. The first thing I noticed was that everyone seemed to be having fun, but in a "chillin" kind of way - and everyone looked cool. I approached a Telus representative who was playing with his HTC P4000 and asked him, "if I switch from my Bell phone to a Telus phone like the one you're using, will my love life improve?" "Ya man" he replied, "girls come up to me in the bar all the time and enter their numbers into my phone; they love it". Works for me; I was sold. Three months later, I'm still a huge Telus fan, so much so that this past weekend I took Dave back to the Oshawa Telus store to look at a new phone for him. Anna immediately recognized us and approached us with a big smile (pictured above). Again, it didn't take much to convince Dave to leave Bell for Telus and to opt for one of the new Blackberries to replace his aging Treo. This phone not only keeps you in touch anywhere in the world, it also guides you with a built in GPS! Amazing! And even more amazing is Telus technical support - a big change from Bell. So there's the short version of how I transitioned from a computer geek to a phone geek to a connected spa guy, and from conservative Bell to hip Telus all in the blink of 25 short years. Today, cell phones have become an essential business tool, providing instant access to email, and a variety of useful productivity tools. Hard to believe that we lived in a time where communication meant tying yourself to a wall or a desk with a strand of copper wire and an old phone. Those who know me well will know that as I write this last line, my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek. Have a good day.

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