While I wouldn’t exactly call myself a phone-shunning millennial, after years of communicating primarily through texts and emails, I do have a certain amount of unexplained anxiety about making an actual phone call (especially when it’s non-work related). I can’t tell you the last time I called in a food order (thanks, Seamless!), and as for leaving an actual voicemail? It gives me serious angst.
In short, technology has made me soft. And also, apparently, super averse to using my vocal cords.
So when I heard about GetClose, a new app that lets you ask businesses across the country without uttering a single word, I knew I had to try it, if, for nothing else, to see if I could avoid awkward phone conversations at all costs.
The free app (which is sadly only available to iPhone users at the moment) uses your location to select what stores are around you, from department stores to boutiques and restaurants and coffee shops. You can also search by specific stores, so I looked to see if Lord & Taylor had a particularly cute party dress in my size earlier this week. The app works like an SMS or WhatsApp, showing chat bubbles and letting you “text” any store in question.
Within a minute, I got a pleasant response back from a store clerk saying to hang tight while they checked for me (and not a hint of the usual disgruntled store clerks of the past!) While the clerk was looking for the dress, I wasn’t subjected to the usual agony of bad Kenny G. hold music and could go about my life without having my iPhone glued to my ear.
Granted, it took me 45 minutes to get an answer because the store clerks were “very busy.” And, a week before Christmas, I believe it (and, they had the dress in my size).
To satiate my curiosity, I also wanted to see how smaller boutiques responded and messaged the Alexander Wang store in lower Manhattan carried a particular handbag I’ve been eyeing. Within two minutes, I got a response from a store clerk telling me that they were checking and thanking me for my patience (!).
And a mere four minutes later, I got a message telling me that several color options were currently available to buy.
And, if your chosen store isn’t listed, you can put in a request. That’s not to say I’ll never pick up the phone again (my job kind of depends on interviewing people, after all) but this will save me the hassle of trekking to my favorite store, only to find the handbag I was lusting after is sold out. Dreams can come true, people.