After a month+ of being aggravated by Verizon's increasingly lame customer service, I went into one of the retail stores and ran into an old high school buddy who works there. I told him what I was looking for and within 15 minutes he'd sold me the phone, given me an awesome discount on it (<$45 for a their new "flagship" phone on the day it launched) and largely restored my faith in Verizon.
It never ceases to amaze me how much customer service can make or break a company. I'd been extremely close to posting a pretty angry entry about how Verizon was pissing me off and how they sucked (hell I was seriously considering leaving them even though they have the best combination of price to value given how we use our phones), but this one guy and the business manager he works with restored my faith in the company. I should also point out that it's not just that he's my friend, I've seen him work while I'm in the store waiting and he's one of the best customer service reps I've ever seen. This might possibly explain why he's just been promoted to assistant store manager while other people who started working when he did have already been laid off. I have no doubt if he sticks with Verizon he'll end up district manager or better eventually, he just really "gets" customer service and it's good to see his superiors have recognized that. Knowing that they're promoting him up the corporate ladder makes me think that maybe there is hope for Verizon even if I did have some aggravating episodes with them recently.
Now I'm happy with my super shiny all black phone. Seriously this is the nicest most attractive phone I've ever had. I can't believe it took them this long to come up with a phone that looks this good and works this well.