Epic iFail: AT&T and the Circular Phone Tree from Hell

When I left AOL, I gave them back my Blackberry, and have since been either without a phone completely or using Jen’s bright pink Razr. I want a new iPhone, but waited a little while to get past the initial rush. Well, this afternoon was supposed to be the day. I called up the local AT&T store to see if they had any, and got a menu. Here’s what happened:

  • I pressed 2 to order new wireless service or hardware. Waited six minutes to talk to someone
  • Asked the guy who picked up if the Savannah AT&T store had any in stock. He asked me my zip code and then asked me to hold. I spent three minutes on hold (there’s a timer on the phone… handy).
  • He told me he could transfer me to the store. I then spent 8 minutes on hold.
  • I ended up at the original phone menu and pressed 2 again just for fun. I waited for 5 minutes before my head exploded and I hung up.\
    That was twenty-three minutes to go basically in a big circle. AT&T, you suck. I mean, you’re a phone company and I can’t dial a local number and talk to the local AT&T store? How stupid is that?\
    Thank you, AT&T, for wasting almost half an hour of my life. You’re the balls.
Categorized as computing

By Kevin Lawver

Web developer, Software Engineer @ Gusto, Co-founder @ TechSAV, husband, father, aspiring social capitalist and troublemaker.


  1. Tom and I visited a store last week in Tulsa just to check out their local coverage and phone prices since he’ll also have to give back his work phone. We walked in and told them what we needed and the girl at the front had us take a number, telling us it will be a 5 minute wait. After waiting, a girl called our name and asked how she could help us. We told her we wanted to know about their phone packages and coverage. She handed us a brochure and pointed to it. AAAGGGH. What is with this company?

  2. Hey Kevin, going directly to the store itself by car and asking them would probably have taken ten minutes, right ? Why did you use your phone ? Adopt a european point of view !!!-)

  3. This is why (well, okay, one reason) I just bought a new Blackberry. As much as I love the idea of owning an iPhone, I just won’t give up Verizon Wireless’ service and coverage. I’ve never had a (serious) complaint about what I’ve gotten from them.
    That said, I’d love to have the _option_ of owning an iPhone…

  4. I’ve actually found that I’ve gotten better customer service from AT&T (or, at least, the store from which I purchased my iPhone) than I ever got from VZW. Not only was I well taken care of on launch day, but the sales rep I worked with has actually answered my e-mails – and not with a form letter! But everyone’s going to have a different experience, I guess.
    That said, to your point Kev, in my experience there’s no such thing as a ‘good’ phone company. I’ve been through the hold loop of doom with VZW on a number of occasions, my former roommate had nothing but problems with Sprint. And don’t get me started on wireline utilities -when I moved into my condo about 5 years ago, it took no fewer than three visits from technicians and a dozen or so phone calls to Verizon to get my phone activated and to have another jack put in. Compared to those guys, AT&T is the shiny. (Again, YMMV.)

  5. hehe.. funny that you didn’t go online to get this info Kevin!
    I think Customer Service over the phone for every phone company is just the same. It is great as long as you don’t get the same nasty experience that someone else somewhere has had already.
    So it is just relative.. I would just say something like – XXX’s Customer Service has been great TO ME SO FAR – to be accurate.

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