The other half of the conversation

The "Can you hear me now" guy

Do you recognize the guy pictured at right? He's been touting Verizon's superior wireless network. But-- did you notice something? All the commercials ever show us is this guy. Who's on the other end of the phone?

Well, let's find out...

FADE IN.

Scene opens with a nerdy looking guy in thick, black-frame glasses walking up a street, toward the camera. He carries a cell phone. The phone is held to his ear as he walks.

He abruptly stops. His eyes glance upwards as he poses the question:

           NERDY GUY
     Can you hear me now?

The NERDY GUY pauses for a moment.

           NERDY GUY
     Good!

The NERDY GUY takes a few more steps.

He abruptly stops. His eyes glance upwards, and...

We switch views to a dimly lit scientific laboratory. The only light source is from the display panels that pepper the console in front of a LAB TECHNICIAN.

The LAB TECHNICIAN sits in front of a bank of oscilloscopes. He wears a headset that dwarfs his own head. As he sits, he is operating the panel in front of him. He is busily dialing knobs and flipping switches. He reaches for the largest dial and rotates it up to the highest setting, labeled "11".

The LAB TECHNICIAN leans inward, eyes shifted to the side, as if he is straining after something.

As we listen in to the headset, we faintly hear, along with the oscilloscopes reacting in turn, with a very low yield:

           NERDY GUY
     ...Ksshhh...bzzzzzzzzzzzzt!...ooo.....rr
     .....sssshhhhh me... ow?... shhhssss....

The LAB TECHNICIAN seizes the mic on the headset. He shouts into it, with all his might:

           LAB TECHNICIAN
      YES! Affirmative!

Flash back to NERDY GUY:

           NERDY GUY
      GOOD!

The NERDY GUY continues to walk.

FADE TO BLACK.

LazyWeb wish: a video for this mini-script. I would love to see that.

By the way, is it just me, or doesn't this strike you as one of the silliest ways to test the reliability of a cell phone network? If this is really how they do it, no wonder the service ain't all that great. If I were them, I certainly wouldn't advertise that this is the best they can do.

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5 Comments

TjL said:

Some friends of mine on Verizon were the first to use line portability when it became available. They had the routine worked out between them:

One (mimicing cell phone): "Can you hear me know?"

Both (together, yelling): "NO!"

Ashutosh said:

I think Verizon has great service. Atleast where I live (SoCal), it's been much better for me then ATT WS and Cingular.

Brad Author Profile Page said:

I use Verizon myself. Much better than Sprint in our area. But I still find cold zones.

Mark J said:

TechTV actually did a little story on the REAL "Can you hear me now?" guys. The one guy showed how he did it. He had an SUV with about 8 phones plugged into diagnostic equipment and computers. He said that he would drive around in areas on the fringe of the signal, and the computer would measure signal strength, signal quality, and log the GPS coordinates constantly. The data collected is translated into maps of trouble zones, and from there they do a geographical analysis as to the best solution (if a solution is worth it, financially).

Verizon is unmatched in coverage, so they like to tout this. Also, I suspect that marketing wants their signal quality assurance guys to have a more human face... walking around and using a phone just like a regular joe.

I've always liked to think that he's just talking to a delayed loopback. Signal goes to a computer on a landline that echoes back a few seconds later.

Tech: "Can you hear me now?"
Phone: ".........Can you hear me now?"
Tech: "Good."
Phone: ".........Good."

And when he goes home at night, he talks to himself, gets into a solo argument, and then cries himself to sleep.

Anonymous said:

Hi, I absolutely hate that "Can you hear me now" asshole. He's freaking annoying!

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This article was published on May 1, 2004 7:43 PM.

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