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Root Canals are Still Worse: Tips for Shopping for a New Phone
By: Melody Weister
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Except in the case of those who are supremely tech-savvy and decide in advance which phones they want, most consumers shudder at the thought of shopping for a new phone. The process has been called less desirable than a root canal, and has also been compared to shopping for a used car — with wireless sales representatives filling the role of the typical used-car salesman. In reality, the process of shopping for a new mobile phone doesn’t need to be nearly this agonizing. Taking the following advice to heart makes the entire experience much less painful:
Do your research in advance. Don’t be afraid to do some online investigating prior to hitting the stores in search of your new phone. Websites like www.phonescoop.com or www.phonearena.com are perfect if you want to compare the specifications of phones. Phone Scoop also lets you search within carriers to find new phones available, or filter by specific brands, so if you’re a die-hard Samsung/Motorola/HTC user, you can see which new phones have launched, or are scheduled to launch in the coming months, and read reviews. Similarly, Best Buy features interactive tutorials on their website for a number of devices, so you can familiarize yourself with the features and navigation of phones, or decide what appeals to you versus what doesn’t. 
Ask questions. There is nothing wrong with asking as many questions as it takes for you to gather all the information you need to make a decision. Ask questions when you’re researching; ask questions at the store; just don’t dismiss the idea of asking a crucial question because you feel like you’re bothering the salesperson. The job of the salesperson is to help you make the best decision for you, and if you don’t tell them what you need, they can’t do that job. Once you’ve made your purchase, in fact, it is entirely acceptable to power your new phone on and ask any questions you might have about its operation. 
Return policies are your friend. After all, if you bought a shirt or a pair of shoes only to discover they don’t fit the way you expected, you would take them back to the store and exchange them for something that does fit. There is no shame in taking back a phone that turns out not to be a proper fit for your needs and lifestyle. Many carriers have return policies ranging from 14 to 30 days, so make sure you are aware of your specific carrier’s time limitations in advance. However, many carriers will only allow you to do this kind of exchange one time, unless there is a specific flaw in the physical phone or its software, so be sure to do additional research and ask more questions to make sure the phone you switch to is going to be a better fit.
Shopping for a new phone doesn’t have to be a painful experience. If you still feel hesitant, it’s okay to bring a friend or family member with you for support or assistance. As long as you are prepared in advance and not afraid to ask questions, the process can, in fact, be simple, smooth, and even fun. Take these hints, do some investigating, and good luck with your shopping. 

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About the Author
Melody Weister is a technology aficionado, unashamed smartphone geek, and casual gamer from Montclair, NJ, where she works as a Social Media Coordinator. Follow her on Twitter: @msmelodyrose.
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