Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Not because "They're eeeevil!" Or because "they're driving out small businesses." I hate them because they institute policies that make it impossible to come up with common sense solutions to simple problems.

Take a deep breath and come along with me on a tour through bureaucratic hell...

Molly wanted to surprise me with an iPhone for our anniversary. Because she's just that awesome. She goes to the AT&T store. She is told, brusquely, that she can't buy the phone and give it to me. She has to activate it first, meaning they'd need to deactivate my current phone. They are singularly unhelpful beyond that. She is told the only other place she could get an iPhone is the Apple Store, but it'll still be the same story. Still, they're being jerks, so she decides to take her business to Apple directly.

At the Apple Store, a salesman named Gilbert is much friendlier and helpful, but, alas, AT&T gets in the way again. After an hour and a half of trying to activate the iPhone for my account and talking to AT&T's technical support, he gives up. "You're going to have to go back to an AT&T store and do it through them directly. I can't make any headway here."

So, that was Sunday.

Monday, we go in together to the AT&T store, where we are told that a new phone was activated on Sunday. "How can that be? We never got a phone." "How do we know that," they asked. "Call the Apple Store and ask them," I reasonably reply.

"We're not allowed to call them," he said. AT&T and Apple, who have partnered to create and sell the iPhone, do not allow their employees to contact each other to solve problems!

"Yeah, you're gonna have to back to the Apple Store and..."

"Stop! Stop! My wife started here, went to Apple, was told to come back here and now you're sending us to Apple? We're not your messengers. Get on the GODDAMN PHONE and figure this out."

"But we can't call them. The most that can happen is our customer service can call their customer service."


So, then ashhole employee A starts telling asshole employee B everything he'll need to tell customer service when he gets them on the phone. That's when I make the mistake of being logical and reasonable again. "If you, Employee A, know everything that needs to be asked and explained, then why are you telling Employee B? Why not just get on the phone and tell them yourself?"

"I'm not allowed. It's not my job."


Of course, they are unable to help us, and end up giving us the number of an AT&T customer service rep. We talk to him for an hour on the phone. Eventually, he calls us back and tells us that everything is taken care of, and we just need to go to the Apple Store on Tuesday and get the phone.


Today, we went to the Apple Store and, after an hour of the manager talking to AT&T on my phone, he tells us that the problem is that AT&T doesn't have a record of my phone, that I've used for two years, in their system. So they can't deactivate it. Which means they can't activate a new iPhone in its place. And it will take SEVENTY-TWO HOURS for them to type in the id number of my phone into their system - just so they can then delete it.

So, in three days, we get to go back to the Apple Store. And, I'm sure, be told that something else incredibly stupid has gone wrong.

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