A Saturday Afternoon At The Wireless Store

By  Susan Nunziata — November 04, 2008

Malls are places I typically avoid on a Saturday afternoon. But I was motivated to visit the mall near my home in Northern New Jersey this past Saturday for several errands, not least of which was to replace the cellphone I accidentally drowned.

Real-life evidence of recent reports about plummeting consumer confidence was clear as soon as I arrived at the parking lot and took a spot among the many empty ones quite close to the mall entrance.

There were discount signs aplenty at retail shops throughout the mall, and traffic seemed rather sluggish by typical Saturday standards.

That is, until I entered the Verizon Wireless store. There, things were buzzing. A Mom with her three teen/tween-aged kids was looking for a replacement for her personal cellphone. "I've already got a BlackBerry for work, I just want something to make calls on," she said.

Her kids were looking for much much more: they were brimming with enthusiasm for the new Motorola Krave touchscreen phone. In fact, they were among a line of teens waiting to play with it. Also rated "cool" by the under-18 set was the new Samsung Sway.

A Businessman Dad was there with his toddler, upgrading his BlackBerry. While he was waiting to pay, another eager businessman ran in to ask a clerk when the new BlackBerry Storm was expected. "November 15," came the reply, although a Verizon spokesperson tells Mobile Enterprise that "they must be playing guessing games." The official launch date has not yet been announced, confirms another spokesperson.

Businessman Dad hadn't heard about the Storm. He hesitated as he heard more about it, then decided to go ahead with his purchase anyway.

Of course, one visit to one day to just one carrier's store is far from scientific market research. But it leads me to a few observations:

  1. Wireless devices generate enthusiasm. Everyone I saw was engaged and excited about the technology on display.
  2. The "Businessman Dads" and all the rest of us so-called "prosumers" will continue to blur the lines between our work and personal lives thanks to mobile devices.
  3. Mabye not everyone wants one device that does it all. Just ask the Businesswoman Mom, who still wants to carry a basic phone for her personal voice calls.
  4. The Milennials are coming! These kids are excited about wireless, its part of their DNA, and they're coming to a workplace near you very very soon. Is your enterprise ready?
Been to a wireless store lately? Email me your observations.

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