If you want to learn about modern life -- especially postmodern life -- look at your smart phone.
Because if your life . . . er, your smart phone, is anything like the deal one Omaha man got, congratulations! You're a officially a member of a club born when Eve bought the serpent's line about that apple.
If not that Apple.
IT'S ALL in the book of Sprint, Chapter 4G (as told to the World-Herald):
For two days in late July, Monty Poland searched Omaha for something that didn't exist.OVERPROMISING -- and, alternatively, getting suckered -- is what we do as children of the first consumers, who believed Satan when he advertised that "your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad."
Poland, 39, had just purchased a new smart phone from Sprint, the HTC Evo. The handset, purchased at a discount with a new contract, cost Poland $275, excluding a $100 mail-in rebate.
It was loaded with features, including bundles of applications, the latest version of Google's Android operating system, a touch screen, dual cameras and wireless Internet that could be channeled to make the phone a wireless hot-spot.
Poland discovered those just fine. What he couldn't find was a place to use a feature Evo has that few other smart phones possess: the ability to connect to Sprint's 4G wireless network.
He tried to access the network from many places. At his home near 72nd and Giles Streets? Nope. In downtown Omaha? No way. At the La Vista Sprint store where he purchased the device? Not even there.
That's because even though Sprint proclaims Evo's 4G capabilities on in-store signage, the company's website and in commercials, 4G service isn't available anywhere in Nebraska or Iowa.
The term 4G stands for “fourth generation,” meaning the latest and fastest version of digital mobile functionality. It is superior to 2G, which was introduced in the early 1990s, and to 3G, which dates to around 2002.
Having the latest and most reliable technology is key to companies' profitability, because smart phone customers are hungry for faster mobile Internet connections to stream video, download applications, or “apps,” and browse the web. Mobile phone companies engage in heated battles to reach pacts with network providers while investing billions in the updated networks.
But in the end, all the whiz-bang features need to work.
“It's like buying a laptop computer with supersonic speed, but the local Internet provider doesn't offer supersonic Internet connections,” Poland said. “Why spend the extra dough to buy something you can't use?”
After two frustrating days, Poland revisited the Sprint store and asked a manager why the 4G connection wasn't working.
Poland learned that 4G wasn't available in the Midlands. In fact, it is available in only 48 U.S. markets, of which the closest is Kansas City, near Sprint's national headquarters in Overland Park, Kan.
I'll bet the scaly SOB stiffed 'em on the 4G service, too.
The thing is, we never learn.
In fact, our entire Western economy is built upon the fact of our permanent placement in planetary special ed. Let's just say it's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Men World.
AND THE hell of it -- literally -- is illustrated by what Monty Poland did when Sprint offered him a full refund: He turned it down.
Which explains why America's churches are so empty come Sunday.