(Frustrated by the lack of knowledge from the teenagers at Best Buy? Tired of being gouged for repairs at a tech company’s official store? Sometimes, the most knowledgeable, the most reasonably priced and the most reliable businesses are the local ones. Welcome to Going Local.)
If you own an iPhone, chances are strong that you’ve had to deal with a broken screen. If you haven’t, you need to be counting the days. That kind of bliss can’t last long. Naturally, the inevitable occurred: the glass on my iPhone 4 broke an I had to see about getting it replaced.
First, I hit Google. Then, I began to make phone calls. Then, I began to drive. I called or visited about ten different businesses, but each of them managed to be just out of my desired price range, with the average price ending up around $120 Naturally, this was after they told me $90 on the phone. Sometimes, the asking price ended up hitting $140. Eventually, I just had to give into the basic facts of the situation: I was going to drop over a hundred bucks on a tiny piece of glass. Such is life.
It was on a whim that I decided to stop at Mobile Phone Geeks. I’d never been in there, but it was on my route to work, so why not? I was going to be spending the same amount no matter where I went, so I might as well get it done without going out of my way. If I was lucky, I could even get it done while I waited, letting me head to work with a fixed phone (and minus a chunk of cash).
I’d be lying if I said things looked promising at first. Mobile Phone Geeks looked like it was located in a dry cleaners! But there was the correct counter, right off to the side. I was greeted by the employee at the counter, Quoc Pham, and explained my situation: broken iPhone screen, need it repaired while I wait and so on and so forth. Quoc immediately went to work on my phone, assisting other customers as they came and went. Despite being busy, he was always pleasant and the other customers seemed to be regulars…and all of them seemed to be very happy with his work. One man in particular was there to pick up four or five iPhones that he had dropped off for repairs. The man, satisfied with the work, mentioned that he only did business with Mobile Phone Geeks. Hmm…maybe I had come to the right place?
Quoc noticed that I had taken out my iPad — I’ve got pass the time somehow, right? — and offered me the passcode to his Wi-Fi. This way, I could chat with a good friend in Massachusetts while I marveled at how fast Quoc was able to dismantle my iPhone. Ten minutes later, Quoc had a line of people at his counter and my phone was ready, looking like it was brand new. He explained that he had used Foxconn glass, the closest alternative to OEM glass, and that he had taken a few minutes to clean my camera, since it was dirty after being exposed through the broken glass. Then he gave me the price.
$75. On top of that, he offered me a free bumper iPhone case (my choice of color!) to prevent the breakage from happening again. That’s $45 less than the rest of the competition, done quickly and pleasantly by a man who cared enough about a new customer to clean his camera. And he’s giving me a free case. I was astonished. Obviously, I know where I’ll be going for phone repairs from here on out. Big business may be trying to put a stranglehold on the market, but they simply cannot compete the speed, kindness and personality I got from Quoc Pham. This is what small business is all about.
(Benjamin Sanders is the Lead Designer at Rocksauce Studios)
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