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Letter: Can somebody sell me a cellphone?

Hello, to your fine city of St. John’s. Or so I thought.

On Thursday, I lost my cellphone in St John’s. After calling it several times, connecting twice to music in the background, I realized I was not going to be the recipient of your Newfoundland and Labrador hospitality. I then decided I needed to replace my phone as I’m here for six weeks on business.

Again, I inquired about purchasing the desired phone outright only to be informed that it was not possible if I didn’t buy one of their plans.

I set out on my attempt to replace my BlackBerry. I visited the Bell store near Costco and their selection included two BlackBerry phones, the Key one and the Motion, to my delight. When I inquired about them, as I wanted to purchase one outright and go about my merry way, I was told I could not purchase either phone. You have to have a Bell phone number and purchase a Bell plan — there is no other way. Those are the company rules.

I departed the store and looked for a sign on the door that stated this store is for Bell customers only. Must be hidden, I surmised. I crossed the street to Costco, of whom I am an avid supporter. Their phone selection included the Key one. Again, I inquired about purchasing the desired phone outright only to be informed that it was not possible if I didn’t buy one of their plans. It was blatantly stated, who am I to want to purchase the phone outright. I can’t make any money off you just from the phone sale. I have an inventory to be sold and I need to make money. So I can’t help you. This was reinforced by a second person who joined in, stating we can’t help you, that’s just how it is.

I have spent the weekend pondering if this is actually the way it is here in this city. Does this country have such restrictions on cellphone purchases? I am somewhat dismayed with the treatment I experienced and I’m still without a phone.

Thank you, gracious St. John’s merchants.

 

Philip Sheppard

Sydney, N.S.

 

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