Dubious AT&T Employees

I recently reacquainted myself with just how bad employees at the AT&T store really are.

I stopped in because my phone (a Samsung Captivate) started behaving bizarrely when it came to WiFi. The issue was that it would take 3-4 attempts at enabling wifi to get it to actually connect to the wifi network. This was reflected in a cycle of “connecting” and “failed” messages. In some cases, I would have to restart the phone. A restart is painful as it takes about 15 minutes for the media scanner to finish doing it’s thing and the phone to be usable again (I am not sure if this might be a symptom of the same problem).

I explained this to the AT&T associate and asked if he had any advice. He snatched the phone out of my hand, looked at the screen and proclaimed ‘that ain’t right’. He then proceeded to pop open the battery door and flick the battery out of the phone. I pointed out that that was not the proper way to shutdown a phone. He looked up at me and grunted then replaced the battery. I reminded him that it was going to be about 15 minutes before the phone was usable; again he responds with a grunt and a ‘that ain’t right’.

After a minute or two he gets impatient and ejects the battery out of the phone WHILE it is still booting up. He squints at the battery ‘to make sure it ain’t a knock off – that causes lots of problems’. Satisfied that it was a ‘real’ battery he places it in the phone again.

While it is booting up he blurts out ‘you probably need to upgrade the firmware in the phone – that’ll fix the problem’. I asked what the ‘issue’ was; he responded with a shrug and a reassurance that the firmware will fix the phone. I then pointed out that I had already updated the firmware and still have the issue. He starts nervously tossing the phone from hand to hand and staring out the window. He then raises the phone to his face and starts poking around in the settings. ‘You got a external memory card installed?’ I said that I did. ‘It is probably that. Yeah. The memory card is corrupt and that is causing the problem’. I asked him to clarify how a bad memory card would effect the wifi and he had nothing. I then pointed out that if the card was corrupt, I wouldn’t be able to read anything from it. Again he shrugs and starts to get an agitated look on his face.

I say to him, if it is a bad memory card then removing it should make the problem go away. Fun boy grunts again, pops the back of the phone and hot ejects the card, while the phone is still powered on. I pointed out to him that if the card wasn’t corrupt before doing ignorant shit like that would contribute to corrupting it. That just got me a side long glance. I asked to speak to the manager; he looks nervously around and says that the manager isn’t in. I ask one of the other employees and they point to the guy on the phone behind the counter. While I wait for the manager to free up, we continue with the diagnostic farce.

Surprise, surprise. With the card out of the phone, the wifi and performance issues persist. He taps the phone on the counter then announces ‘you have installed some software on here that has a virus on it, that is what is causing the problem’. Hmm, now we really are reaching. I point out that I haven’t installed a lot of new apps on the phone and the ones that I have are very well known and were all installed from the android marketplace (in fact, the phone only allows marketplace installs). Nope, definitely a virus. Have to factory reset the phone.

I point out that there are some things on the phone that I would like to backup. He hands me back the phone, steps away and puts both hands up in front of him, palms out. ‘Ain’t nothin else I can do for you ’til you fact-tree reset that phone’. I ask what I do after I fact-tree reset it and it still has a problem. He shrugs and takes another step away. ‘uh, call us…’

The manager finally frees up, so I go tell him about my experience: in the course of my visit, the issue with my phone was 1) fake battery 2)firmware 3)memory card 4)a virus . The manager looks across the room at the guy who was ‘helping’ me, then at the phone, then at me. Silence. Finally he comes up with ‘Um, maybe you should try the reset and see what happens’. And then what? I ask. ‘uh, call us…’

I got home, backed up my phone, factory reset it. Same behavior as before. I am not going to waste any more time with AT&T.

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