The village of Ducaj near Boge, Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Tirana Airport, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Porto, Portugal on June 25th!

Friday, January 23, 2015

You just have to give your head a shake

We were up early yesterday. We wanted to do a load of laundry while at the RV Park, but although the laundry room was open at 6:00am, we didn't have any change! So we had to wait for the office to open at 8:30am.

By the time we got it all done and were ready to leave, it was 10:30am!

But, we had one other project before we could actually get on the road to Quartzsite.


Now, I know that everyone has their own horror story in dealing with cellular companies, so you won't be overly surprised when you hear mine. Seems that customer service in the cellular industry ranks pretty much rock bottom.

So, I had bought this mifi jetpack thing, and only needed to pay to activate a data package. The mifi had brought the internet screen up, with the options to pay by credit card or prepaid Verizon card with PIN. However, the system won't accept a Canadian credit card, and kept telling me the address was not right, no matter which address I put in.

Some of you suggested calling them, but we don't have a phone. I know, we're strange.

So I figured the easiest fix would be to go to a Verizon store. We showed up at the one in Casa Grande, Arizona at about 11:15am. Ruth waited in the motorhome, and I went to fix the problem. Shouldn't be too long, right?


So, I was served right away. I explained the problem, and that I just wanted to activate a data package for my new jetpack. Okay, the guy was really helpful and pleasant, but slow as molasses. How can it possibly be this difficult? He kept having to go back to his supervisor to ask questions. By the way, they actually sell these devices right at this same store. So it's not like it was a new product or something. Anyhow, after 45 minutes, of actively trying to purchase this data package, the guy comes back from his supervisor (again) and says "okay, we're all set...there's just the $35 activation fee, and ..."

"Whoa", I stopped him right there. "There's no activation fee" I told him.

He gets his supervisor, and the guy comes over and says that since they don't do very many of them in store, they charge a $35 fee. But it's their own software that won't allow me to use a Canadian credit card online. I refused to pay.

He says "that's fine, we'll just cancel it" to the other guy.

I ask if he's serious. He just wasted 45 minutes of both my time and his employees time. Yep, he was serious. Unreal.

Okay. And I walked out the door. I had even asked if they sell those Verizon top up cards, but they don't!

I walked over to Radio Shack which was pretty much next door to see if they sell those cards. No, they have a new system where you just tell them your number, and they put the credit on through their computer. Just like in Mexico. Much easier to do in Mexico where you top up your cell number at any grocery store cash register. Maybe the states is finally getting caught up to Mexico in this regard.

Anyhow, he sends me to Target to buy a card. But Target doesn't have the right dollar amount, plus it says right on the card "For existing customers with active prepaid service". Well that doesn't sound like me.

But the guy at Radio Shack swears it will work. He calls Walgreen to see if they have an adjustable amount card, and they did. I walked over there and paid my $90 plus 8% tax for 10 GB of data. Pretty pricey.

Back to Radio Shack where the guy lets me use his personal laptop to set up the account. I use his own mailing address, but with my name and email address.

And it worked.

The whole operation took almost two hours! Idiots.

With that done, we were off to Quartzsite.

A pretty boring highway. Not much to see.

I put the cruise on at 55 mph (90 km/h) while everybody else zoomed by me. We didn't pass another vehicle the whole time, but we sure did have a lot of vehicles pass us!

Cactus and scrub brush.

The outskirts of Quartzsite.

For those who don't know, Quartzsite is a small town whose year round population is about 3,000 people. But at this time of year, it is inundated with RV'ers who live in the desert campgrounds. They estimate there are 300,000 people here this year! This week, there's a big RV show on, and that's part of the reason we're here. Sherman needs some parts, and I should be able to get them here, and at a good price.

But we're also here to visit friends, some of whom we haven't met yet!

And some old friends.

Geoff and Fran are a couple we worked with the summer of 2008 when we were work camping at a KOA in Prince Edward Island. We kept in touch over the years, and they're here at Quartzsite as well. They had invited us for dinner at their place, so we got caught up last night.

Molson, their Golden Retriever. He was just a pup when we last saw him 7 years ago!

Molson, Ruth, and Fran.

Dinner was delicious, thanks Guys!

We parked up last night in the La Posa West area, where you have to buy a permit for $40. We're not staying because there is totally free camping not far away. We'll go to the RV show today, and we're going to some sort of blogger meetup tomorrow. Hope to get together with some of you folks who have been reading this blog for many years!

Our Amazon deal of the day? Yaktrax! We used Yaktraxs the last time we were in Arizona when we hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon in 2006. These innovative items easily attach on to the bottom of your shoe or boot to give you traction on ice or snow so that you wont slip. It's like putting snow tires on your feet!

Make sure you order the right size!


  1. I loathe Verizon and have had tons of problems with them. Unfortunately they are the 800 lb gorilla in telecommunications and don't care about customer service. Hope some other entity will give better coverage than they have so I can switch.

    I guess they hire people for their stores that wouldn't even be hirable as French fry cooks... :c(

    1. They definitely need to work on training the employees better so that they are all familiar with the different products and how they work and what is required to get the customer up and running with the least amount of hassle. Seems like most communication business have a similar problem. I know that they do in Canada, that is for sure!

  2. Verizon and ATT&T have created a basic monopoly in the cellular network. They are certainly typical of the shark like corporations we have here. Don't know if it is like this everywhere.

    It speaks volumes that good customer service from anywhere is such a rarity that people tend to announce those things to everyone. Can't remember when I dealt with someone who either didn't know what they were talking about and/or make answers up. Pretty well sums up tech customer service.


    1. We totally agree and not just in the US but in Canada as well. We have had very little problem with our cellular stick in Mexico and also getting set up in Namibia, South Africa or South Korea, and these are countries that many people consider to be second and third wold countries, yet they seem to have a good system for their communications.

  3. Just about everything in Mexico is easier. That's why I live here!

  4. Enjoy the RV show. Love the pic of Molson, btw, as we'll petsit a golden retriever named Poppy in the UK in April. Can't wait! :)

    1. Sounds like you will have a fun April with Poppy! Molson is a sweetheart, he just wants someone to make a fuss of him.

  5. We have had our Verizon for a few years now, ordered it on line it was shipped to us and set up no problem and just get the top up card from any dollar store, we have never even had to phone them once, it just works for us, guess we are the lucky ones.
    Have fun wish we were there.

    1. We have no issue with the product itself, in fact we are very happy with it so far. What ticks us off is that they don't make it easy for a foreigner to get it set up. It would be nice if they let you know that you can't us a foreign credit card and that you need to purchase a "top up" card in order to get your data package. If we had known this from the get go, it would have made things much easier and not wasted our time or the employees time when we were in the store. This is also information that the employee should have known right off the bat.

  6. Enjoy the blogger meet up. Wish we were there but taking a pass on Q this year. I think we can all relate to your Verizon story. It can be so frustrating. Have fun meeting everyone.

    1. We are looking forward to the blogger meet up, too bad you wouldn't be here for it but I am sure you will be able to read about it on many of the blogger's blogs in the next day or two. :-)


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