A Microsoft salesman gave me a clever reason to dump my iPhone


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Persuasive. In a spiritual way.


Image: Asha McLean/ZDNet

I was on a mindless stroll when I saw the sign.

Placed outside a Microsoft store, it declared that I’d get up to $650 if I wandered in and gave them my phone in exchange for a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.

Recently, I’d been told by a T-Mobile salesman that the Note 10 was, well, alright. But not that great and really not worth the money.

It’s hard, indeed, to justify spending more than $1,000 on a phone. Which is, these days, really a camera. Or, in the case of the Note, a camera and a pencil.

Still, this Microsoft store was empty and, as I stood in the doorway, a salesman walked past with a cloth, cleaning the gadgets.

“Do they make you do that?” I couldn’t help asking.

“No, I just want to,” he replied. (Let’s call him Oscar.)

I told him I’d seen the sign about the trade-in. Oscar took one look at my black iPhone XR and said: “Yeah, that’s a new phone. We’d probably give you $650 for that.”

“Yes, but what would I be getting?”

“These are the Galaxy Note 10 and the Note 10 Plus,” he said, pointing at the phones on display with peculiar enthusiasm.

“But this is a Microsoft store,” I said. “Why are you pushing these?”

“Because three weeks ago, you couldn’t do what you can do now,” he said.

This was quite some drama. I hadn’t heard that my life had changed just 21 days prior, but Oscar was ready to explain.

“Now you can have a terabyte, which means this phone improves your mobility and can now replace your laptop. You can now run your business straight from this phone,” he said.

This was odd, as the T-Mobile salesman had told me that any phone could replace my laptop and that there was nothing too special about the Note 10 in terms of business use.

A New Dawn In My Life.

Oscar, though, had only just just begun.

With a fervent — and, I have to say, elegant — enthusiasm, he talked me through my new possibilities. The ability to have all everything from Outlook to Word to Excel to One Drive existing simultaneously on every gadget was, apparently, my new Nirvana.

He took me over to a desktop and showed me how to dock my new Samsung phone and work simultaneously on the phone and the desktop.

He then led me to the Surface Pro 6. “This is the one I’ve got. And, look, you don’t need a keyboard,” he said, as he brought up the on-screen keyboard that really isn’t very easy to type on.

Oscar’s congenital positivity was so alluring that I had to insert a pause and ask him what phone he had.

He pulled out the same iPhone XR as mine, but sadly in a case.

“I’ve been with Apple for a long time,” he explained. “But I just need to pay my iPhone down a bit more and I’m going to switch to this Note.”

It’s astonishing how technology has shortened time. 21 days ago, I didn’t know I could run my business from a phone. For Oscar, the turning point was a few more days before that.

“Six months ago, I knew nothing about computers, nothing about phones,” he said. “Now I’m teaching six-, seven-, eight-year-olds how to run a business on these things.”

“Do we really want kids running businesses?” I asked. “I’m not sure the slightly older kids have done that well destroying the world as we know it. You really think the tiny kids will do better?”

“Sure. They’ve already got great ideas,” he said. And he meant it.

If Microsoft could get itself another few thousand Oscars, I’m sure its Samsung phone business would be soaring. As it is, despite my two raised eyebrows and an elevated nostril, Oscar promised me that a lot of iPhone users are flocking in to buy the Note 10’s.

“Look, with an iPhone you get 5 Gigs, with the Note you get that Terabyte,” he said. I again looked at him a touch skeptically.

He replied to my eyes: “And just so you know, I’m not on commission.”

I have half a feeling he was on something, mind. He had me completely engrossed. “My glass is always three-quarters full,” he said. Which I’m sure former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s was when he singularly failed to anticipate — or even understand — the phone business.

The Bait For The Switch.

So I had to broach the question that, for some, is the most painful. “Switching from iPhone to Samsung isn’t easy, is it?” I muttered.

“It’s all in your mind,” he replied. “You need to have a growth mindset. That’s what leaving your iPhone behind represents. Growth.”

I had to laugh. Not out of insult, but out of sheer admiration for his TED Talk attempt to inspire. He was appealing to my spirit, not my rational mind.

He was right, of course. I have a growth bodyset, not a growth mindset. My mind is set on such concepts as ease, speed and constantly watching sports, not on switching operating systems.

Oscar had provoked me into considering how low I’ve sunk and how buying a Note 10 would allow me to leap beyond my stasis, as much as my bodyset would allow.

I asked him how he could exude such uplifting optimism. “Global warming’s going to destroy everything,” I said. “Soon, there’ll be nothing left.”

“That’s not true,” he countered. “What’s going to be left are the good people. Every day, they’re doing good and passing it on to someone else who’s doing good. The good people will win in the end.”

He gave me a calendar of the classes the store holds, explained which ones he taught and suggested I attend one because they’re all free. Yes, he was trying to take me to the (Microsoft) church.

If ever there was an example of a good person doing his best to pass on something (apparently) good, this was it.

And then, as I walked out many minutes later, I remembered there was a new iPhone coming out. Three new iPhones.

Would any of them represent personal growth?



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