the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: Sprint Ambassador

The Sprint Phone and the Ticking Clock


A year ago, I wrote about being offered a free Sprint phone as part of the Sprint Ambassador Program for bloggers.   All the service, music, TV on the phone and other special doodads were included for free for 6 months.  Sophia, being the gadget freak of the family, was extremely jealous, so much so that she convinced Sprint that she should get one too as my blog editor. 

After six months, the service was cut off and Sophia went into severe withdrawal.   She insisted that I pimp myself out on my blog so Sprint would include us in Phase II of their Ambassador Program.  What I didn’t realize was, that during the six months, Sophia had been giving Sprint extensive feedback on the phone and the various services, which explained why Sprint offered Sophia a different free phone for Phase II, but told me to go to hell and use the Devil’s pay phone.

Phase II is now coming to an end, and all week, Sophia has been acting all jittery.  She even kicked me out of bed a few nights ago, saying there wasn’t enough room for the two of us AND her Sprint phone all in the same bed.   The next morning, I found the two of them cuddling together, the flip-top of the LG Fusic phone leaning comfortably on the softness of Sophia’s right breast, singing her a love song that was a free purchase, of course, under the terms of the Ambassador Program.

Two nights ago, we were driving home from the Valley, stuck in traffic on the 405.  Sophia was reading her email on her phone.

“Oh God!  Sprint is announcing Phase III!   They’re already chosen the participants, but are leaving 100 slots for previous Ambassadors!  The first 100 people… First come, first served!  Stop the car!  We need to sign up.”

“Can’t we wait until we get home?”

“Are you crazy?  It’s only 100 people!  And it’s some brand new exciting-sounding phone.”

“Can’t you sign up ON the phone?”

“No, we have to go online.  I have the laptop in the trunk.  We need to find some place with wi-fi.”

“We’ll be home in a half hour.”

She glanced down at her mobile Yahoo account.

“Look, there’s another email for you.  They’re offering you a chance to sign up, too!”

“They are?  That changes everything!   We need to stop the car right now!”

I twirled the steering wheel, exiting the freeway, nearly causing three accidents, all that time thinking who gets to sign up for the phone first.  After all – it’s first come, first served.

Right off the freeway was a McDonald’s.

“McDonald’s has wi-fi.”

“They do?”

“Yeah, they all do.  It’s like $2.95 an hour.”

“OK, let’s do it.”

We pulled into McDonald’s.  Sophia set up the laptop as I ordered a diet Coke, not because I was thirsty, but because I felt weird sitting there without ordering something.  Microsoft Windows booted up, but we didn’t receive any wireless signal.  

My luck.  I picked the only McDonald’s in Los Angeles County without wi-fi.

“There must be a Starbucks around here,” said Sophia.

“Do you know how much wi-fi is in Starbucks?!”

“Now’s not the time to be chintzy.  The clock is ticking.”

I visualized bloggers around the country typing on their PCs, signing up for a free phone while some Sprint executive was sitting in Sprint headquarters counting down how many of those hundred extra phones were left to hand out first come, first serve. 

Sprint Executive:  “100… 99… 98… 97…”

It felt like we were in an episode of “24,” and the split-screen was filling up with several different events all happening at once —

1)  Sophia adjusting the laptop in different directions, hoping to steal some wi-fi.

2)  Neil asking the McDonald’s manager for the location of the nearest Starbucks.

3)   The Sprint executive packing phones into boxes, one by one —

Sprint Executive:  “91…90… 89…88…”

“I have an idea!” I told Sophia.  “We can use the Sprint phone from Phase II to help us get the Sprint phone from Phase III.”

Sophia nodded, understanding my suggestion.  The Phase II Sprint phone came with a USB cord that you could connect to the laptop, so you could use the phone as a modem.

I ran outside to the parking lot to search the glove compartment of Sophia’s Prius for the USB data cord.

Sprint Executive:  “81… 80… 79… 78…”

I “sprinted” back into the fast-food joint, clutching the cord.  We connected everything together — the laptop into McDonald’s outlet, the modem into the USB slot, the data cord into the Sprint phone.  As we were about to make lift-off, the phone started to beep and sputter.  Uh-oh, it was seriously out of juice.

“I told you to charge it last night!” yelled Sophia.

“It’s your phone.  Not mine! I don’t have the Phase II fancy-schmancy phone like you do!”  I screamed back.

As in any tense situation, the affected parties began to blame each other for the miserable turn of events.

“Wait…wait…wait….” I shouted.  “I have that emergency Energizer phone charger that Chelle sent me for my birthday!   It’s in the car, still in the package!”

If ever another blogger had saved my marriage, this surely was it.

I ran to the car again. 

Sprint Executive:  “61… 60… 59…”

By the time I rushed back in, holding Chelle’s gift, everyone in the McDonald’s was staring at us, wondering if we doing some top secret government work.

Sprint Executive:  “52… 51…”

All I had to do now was open the package, but it was impossible to do, either with your hands… or with a McDonald’s plastic fork.    I cursed Energizer and their Bunny.    Luckily, a car key finally did the job and sliced the plastic.   I extracted the emergency charger and tried to plug it into the Sprint phone, but I couldn’t figure out how to make it fit.

“Can’t you read?!” said Sophia, annoyed.  “This charger is for your Nokia phone, not for my Sprint LG Phone.”

“Why do they have to make this electronics crap so complicated?!”

Sophia and I glared at each other.  Things were getting worse by the second.  Visions of divorce papers floated over our heads, all because of our greediness for this new Sprint phone.

Sprint Executive:  “48… 47… 46… 45… 44…”

Our quest seemed hopeless.  But as “The Secret” has shown us, if you believe it, good things can happen.

“Over here!  Come over here!”  called out a Voice.  Was it God?

No.  It was some Asian guy in a UCLA shirt, sitting with his Pocket PC on the other side of McDonald’s, beckoning to us.

“If you come over here you can steal wi-fi from the 1-800-Mattress store next door!”

We quickly made the move to the other side of the McDonald’s, right next to the display for their new “Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken Snack Wrap.”   The good Samaritan’s kindness made us feel guilty for the harsh words we exchanged with each other.  We told each other how much we loved each other, and begged that the OTHER sign up first.

“You go first,” I told Sophia.

“No, no, you go.” she said.

The clock was still ticking. 

Sprint Executive:  “31… 30… 29… 28…”

“Well, one of us should sign up already!  Go.” she said.

“OK, if you insist!”

Sprint Executive:  “21… 20…19…”

Frankly, I was really glad I was going first.  I mean, Sophia is great and all, but I AM the blogger.  I’m the one who deserves the phone, right?  I signed up for the Sprint Ambassador Program, Phase III.  It took me about ten minutes, because I had some technical problems.  I received a message that I would be under consideration. 

“My turn!  My turn!” cried Sophia, almost pulling her curly hair out.  I gave her the laptop and she signed up as well.  She got the same message:  under consideration.

Today, Sophia received an email that she was accepted.  They loved all the feedback that she has been giving Sprint.   Her new Sprint phone was in the mail. 

I checked my email.  I received nothing except for a few more spams telling me where to get some Viagra on the cheap. 

Almost Weekend Update

Just some random blogging updates before the weekend —

Sprint disconnected my Sprint Ambassador phone today.  So much for my pimping.  


I do, however, command respect from the Bunch O’Panties website.


I am on the shortlist to be reviewed by Bloglaughs, which is problematic because when I am expected to be funny, I just freeze up and become mean.   Dooce, maybe you can call me up and give me some advice.


Citizen of the Month has gone Pink for October.  Remember to donate to good causes, such as The Wellness Community of the South Bay.


I received one more bed today (a little behind schedule) from the talented artist, Margaret.  Now Maggie, I know some people like to keep their bedroom “romantic,” but how about putting a few lights in there?  How is a man ever going to see you naked in the dark?


Finally, did any of the “Yenta the Blogmatcher” matches work out?   I’ve noticed a few of you are now reading EACH OTHER rather than coming to me.  That’s fine.  I’m not going to go all yenta on you and give you some Jewish guilt.  Go, have fun.  Go to Vegas together and live it up.  I’ll just sit at home alone and write blog comments. 

Don’t worry about me.


And – be warned about future posts about loneliness and drug intake during the entire month of October.  Sophia is now going to be working in New York until November.

(Sophia Lansky)

But, on a positive note, because so many kind bloggers have reminded me to take my cholesterol medicine while Sophia was gone (particularly Leese and Akaky), my “bad” cholesterol has gone down to 190!


Life is good!


Donut Shop Redux (Now with Sprint Phone)


Six months ago, Sprint invited me to become part of the Sprint Ambassador program. I received the Samsung SPH-A920 phone and free service for six months.  Sophia, being my blog editor, received one as well.  They were interested in feedback and let’s be honest — me blogging about it (although this wasn’t a requirement).  I really like the phone — it has great sound quality — but Sophia LOOOVES the phone and the service, especially now that she is in NY, working as a Russian Dialect Coach par excellence on an independent film. Miss Lansky uses it all the time and is totally turned on by the fact that you can download music, watch TV and movies, read the NY Times, play Ms. Pac-Man, get talking walking directions, find restaurants, etc. all on one phone. Of course, if we had to PAY for all of this, we wouldn’t be able to eat.

Sophia, being Sophia, thinks we can wrangle our way into getting another SIX months with the phone. I told her it was a six month deal, and everyone seems to have gotten the same email recently that “time was up.” Sophia does not understand those words.

“Maybe if you had blogged about the phone more, Sprint would let you keep it.”

“How many times can I blog about it? I did blog about it.”

“You blogged about it ONCE — using the camera phone to take a photo of your c**k. That’s not the type of publicity Sprint wants.”

“The official phone of Neil’s…”

“That’s not funny. Write about them one more time. Maybe they’ll extend the term.”

“I’m not going to do that. My readers will see right through that. I’m always complaining about how bloggers are sell-outs. They’ll lose all respect for me.”

“How much “respect” do they really have for you anyway? You don’t think THEY would sell you out for some free phone service?”

“Never. Brooke maybe. But no one else.”

“Just do it for me. Just write about them one more time.”

Now, as most of you know, “pleasing a woman” is my middle name. So, since most of you didn’t read my story about the donut shop from a few days ago, I’m now going to rewrite it, showing you how much more of a better “experience” it could have been if my Sprint Ambassador Phone had played a bigger role in the story.


Near my home is a little independent donut shop. I’ve never seen one person inside other than the owner — a petite, middle-aged, Korean woman. After being woken up in the morning by the alarm on my Sprint Ambassador Phone, I went out to get something to eat. As I was driving, I decided I was in the mood for a donut. I used the Garmain GPS I downloaded onto the Sprint Ambassador Phone to lead me straight to my local donut shop. I went in, ordered a jelly donut and cup of coffee, and sat down at the bright orange, plastic, uncomfortable, table/chair thingamajig that’s bolted to the floor. I used my Sprint Ambassador Phone to read the New York Times and my favorite blogs on Bloglines. The donut and coffee were truly the worst coffee and donut I’ve ever tasted. As I sat eating my disgusting donut, the owner watched some infomercial on a 13″ TV sitting on the counter. I thought about downloading some tunes with my Sprint Phone, but I decided on watching the owner instead.

The infomercial was one of those get-rich-quick schemes:

“Use my stock market technique, and within two weeks, your two thousand will be two hundred thousand!”

As one “success story” after another gave his testimony, I could see the eyes of the donut woman widen. She was totally enraptured by what was being said. I made a voice recording on the Sprint Ambassador Phone reminding me to call the TV network and complain about them showing this type of crap on air, and I used the Sprint Ambassador Phone to email my attorney uncle in San Francisco about taking legal action against them.

I began to feel bad for this woman. She clearly had no talent in making either donuts or coffee. I used the Sprint Ambassador Phone to IM my friend at El Camino Community College to see if there was some type of “refresher course” this woman could take. This woman was probably losing all her money in this awful donut shop. I used the calculator on the Sprint Ambassador Phone to do “the numbers.” It looked bad. And this type of infomercial preys on a woman like this — someone who may be uneducated or part of an immigrant community. It is these innocent people who don’t realize that it is all a scam. I took a photo of the woman with Sprint Ambassador Phone so I would always remember the sad moment, and emailed Sophia a copy.

“I put two thousand dollars into the stock market, and soon I was able to quit my job,” said some overly-eager male voice on the television. “Now I don’t spend time behind a desk, but behind the wheel of my new yacht!”

I felt anger at this scam artist on TV, with this modern era three-card Monte swindle. (is it monte or Monte? I used the dictionary on on my Sprint Ambassador Phone to figure it out). I was so furious that I squeezed my donut with my hand, shooting some jelly onto my shirt and the Sprint Ambassador Phone (but the sturdy plastic is easily cleaned).

What was I to do? I had to warn her. I saw her writing some information on a piece of paper. Was she actually going to call these crooks?

I knew this really wasn’t my business, but I felt it was my duty to speak up. As an American citizen. As a Good Jew. I walked over to the counter. She pointed at the pile of donuts.

“Donut?” she asked.

“No, thank you,” I said. “I just wanted to tell you to be careful with these types of TV shows. They might look like real shows, but they are commercials. Don’t believe everything they tell you. You weren’t thinking of calling them up, were you?”

“Donut?” she asked again, being that it was the only English word she knew.

Luckily, I had my Sprint Ambassador Phone. I contacted Sarah, an Asian-languages professor at UCLA, and downloaded a English-Korean dictionary from the internet. I was able to explain everything to the woman in Korean, who revealed to me that she was about to invest her life savings with this crook. She was so grateful for my help that she offered me free donuts for life. I was honest and told her that her food needed improvement. I told her about this “Donut Shop” course they had at El Camino Community College. We quickly enrolled her online with my Sprint Ambassador Phone, grabbing the last spot in the class.

Meg (the donut owner’s name) now runs a chain of donut stores in Redondo Beach and is a great success. We also became lovers while Sophia was in New York. We send cutesy text messages to each other every day. Thank you Sprint Ambassador Phone. Think what else I could do with six more months of free service!

Call Me


Last week, I made fun of businesses that “pay” bloggers to talk about their products.    I became a hero to consumer advocates everywhere, a Ralph Nader of the blogosphere. 

That exact night, in a bizarre twist of fate, I received an email from Sprint.  In it, someone from Sprint wrote that after reading “Citizen of the Month,” they wanted to invite me to be part of the Sprint Ambassador Program.  As an “ambassador” for Sprint, I would receive a free phone with free calls, emailing, etc. for six months. 

The Sprint Ambassador Program is all about exploring our latest products and services and allows you to give direct feedback to Sprint. We recently launched the Sprint Power Vision (SM) Network and want to provide you with the full experience, at no charge. Sprint Power Vision Network enables customers to download data at faster speeds and experience new data products.

I wasn’t required to do anything, but I wasn’t discouraged about writing good things about Sprint on my blog.  At first, I thought this was some sort of Nigerian scam, but I Googled the program, and found out it was legit.

“Go for it,” said Sophia.  “Then give the free phone to me.”

“Why should I give it to you?  They want me to use it.”

“Neilochka, you still haven’t figured out how to use your current phone.”

She was right about my lack of interest in my current phone.  And what type of ambassador would I really be?  Would I have to keep on bugging my readers to switch from Cingular and T-Mobile?  I could imagine the post I would be writing in a month: 

Hey, blogger pals!  Have you seen Sprint‘s new phones lately?  SEXY!   And Sprint‘s sound quality?   I haven’t actually listened to it yet, but I know it is the best in the business.   You can hear a pin drop!   And I’m not just saying this in the hope that Sprint extends my use of a free phone to one year.  Of course not.  As a fellow blogger, I care about you.  That’s why I strongly advise all of you to go out RIGHT NOW and…

My thoughts were suddenly interrupted with a tapping sound.

“Uh, excuse me…”

I looked down and saw my penis tapping me on the right thigh.

“What is it, Penis?”

“I guess I should also come clean with your readers.”

“Jeez, Penis, I don’t think my readers want to hear the details about what happened while watching Cheryl Burke, Drew Lachey’s amazingly sexy dance partner, do the mambo on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

“No, not that.  I also got an email from a company wanting to recruit me.  I’m now an official “Trojan Brand Evangelist.”

“What the hell is that?”

“I get to try out Trojan’s new “Super Ribbed for Her Pleasure” condoms for free.    Only a select group of A-list penises are asked to be evangelists.  Of course, there’s a little promise I made.   You’ll have to write about how good the condoms are on your blog.”

“Write about them?  I haven’t even used them!”

“But I did.”

“You did?  When?”

“While you were sleeping last night, I put one on myself.  And they are excellent.   Much more comfortable than those awful Japanese ones you bought last time.   And with the “Super Ribbing,” women are going to love getting fucked by you.”

“Penis, could you watch your mouth?   I have religious people reading this blog.”

“I’m trying to get you laid, you idiot!  Now shut up and listen to your big cock!”

“Well, you’re really not that big…”

“Shut up, moron!   It’s all about salesmanship!  You’re never going to get anywhere without selling yourself.  No matter whether its cell phones, condoms, blogs, or getting some pussy.”

“Penis.  I must insist you stop talking like that.  I pride myself on being a feminist.  I don’t think women should be objectified as sex objects.”

“Think about it, dumbass.  Why do you think you’re not getting laid?  Women like sex.  Don’t you read your own comments?  They even like getting spanked.  So stop asking Sophia, “Would you like to fool around?” in a meek little voice!   Carry her to the bed, go between her legs, and don’t come up until she’s screaming for yours truly, your cock, in Russian and Hebrew.” 

“That’s enough out of you… or I’m going to wash your mouth with soap.”

“Ooh, please do.  By the way, Neilochka, that was an interesting IM conversation you had with that female blogger last night.”

“It was completely innocent.  We talked about stat counters and blogging.”

“Oh, you wanted to blog her alright.  So did I.  Several times that night.”

“Penis, she’s married.”

“So?  Her husband never has to find out.  After all, soon you’re going to have an extra, untraceable Sprint cell phone to give her as a secret “fuck me” line.”

“A “fuck me” line?  Are you crazy?   I’m a Sprint Ambassador, not a pimp.  What would Sprint say?”

“They’d love it.  Think of their sales!  Think of the ad campaign:  “A new reason to get another Sprint phone.””

“Please, Penis.  It’s like you alway have just one thing on your mind.”

“Salesmanship. Neilochka!  Remember — it’s always Salesmanship!”

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