This is about the Sprint Corporate Store at 363 N. State St. in Westerville, Ohio. What I came into the Sprint store was to transfer my Sprint phone number into a new phone that I received. I didn’t anticipate this being a terribly large problem since I’ve done this several times before. My new phone wasn’t compatible with my old SIM card, so I was told to go to this Sprint corporate store to receive a new SIM (for which I was already credited) and have them transfer the old number to it. This has happened before on several of my upgrades in the past, so I didn’t mind. The person behind the counter—African American, in his early 20s (most likely), braided hair, fairly tall and rangy so that you can avoid him—_seemed_ to understand my problem and began to resolve my issue. He checked for compatibility and went into the back, reappearing with a stack of SIM cards; so far, what I expected and what the online technician told me to expect the evening prior. He then informed me that I would have to pay for a new line so that he could attach the new SIM. That was a contradiction in my past experience and what the technician had told me, so I queried to make sure I understood what he was saying, and informed him that his information ran contrary to knowledge gleaned in the past. He re-iterated the same information, saying it was the “only way” I could move forward, which, understandably, I wasn’t necessarily willing to do. It could have been possible to get the new line and cancel the old one, and so as long as I wasn’t charged any differently, it would make this transparent to me from a cost basis. He re-iterated the problem from his perspective, but, again, this ran contrary to everything in my experience up to this point. Well, what if we call someone higher up that might be able to give us a definitive answer OR work around the problem by giving me a new line and cancelling the old one with no cost detriment to me (I don’t care about the corporate logistics of this issue, I just want it resolved)? I think it’s when I brought contacting someone with higher authority than him is when the train began to come off the rails, even though I was ignorant of this at the time. The Sprint representative gave me contradictory information—he explained that he could call someone at Sprint customer care. Fine. But then he said he wouldn’t call anyone until I had agreed to start the new line process. In other words, I had to agree to start another line for my upgrade phone. This, effectively, puts me in a monetary bind—if Sprint could do something about this dilemma and credit me back for the cost of starting the new line, then it would resolve just fine; however if they decided not to do anything to refund me, then I would be essentially forfeiting at least a month’s service cost in order to simply swap phones. A Sprint customer relations person should be able to tell me this information, especially one who started saying things like “I can do everything required to help you here” and “I wouldn’t be sitting here unless I knew exactly what I was doing.” Well, I assume the technician that helped me was sitting there because he knew what he was doing, too, so escalating might be a good idea. This whole time, I never raised my voice, never used harsh language, and did my best to assure the employee that yes, I did, indeed, understand his position, but felt that he was in error (again, I think this last issue was the lynchpin of this incident). I asked, once again, if there was someone that we could call, and he indicated that I could call the Customer Care number myself, but that they would “tell me the same thing.” Ok, then, let’s have them do that. He gave me the store phone and told me I could call them (although he originally indicated that he would make this call on my behalf). Excellent! Now we’re moving forward. I asked for the number and he asked if I had something to write the number down on. It turns out I use a Galaxy Note, so, yes, indeed; but I mentioned that it would have been a good idea for corporate to give him cards that he could simply hand to people. At this point, he said something to the effect of “I’ve memorized every important phone number.” Yes, while I can certainly see why that would be important, that misses my point that it would have been really easy for his company to provide him with something so that I didn’t need to write it down myself (or, he could have even done it himself, but that would have been also unnecessary with a card of some sort). I called the number that he provided and he began to help other customers, which I indicated wouldn’t be a problem at all. Long story short—the Customer Care number informed me that the store employee was wrong. They put me on hold and called another store (Polaris, I believe), who also confirmed that the employee was wrong. It’s POSSIBLE that three people are wrong, here, but it’s improbable. Even if they were all wrong, it seems, given that they didn’t “tell me the same thing” indicates that a conversation with the store representative would have been helpful from the _outset_. The representative passed me to another employee who, once again, confirmed that a new SIM card was all that was needed and that they would see about getting me one since the store employee was unwilling to proceed further. After the employee was finished with the customers and free, I told him “I believe what you told me was in good faith,” but that he might be in error, but that it might be a matter of policy education or something of the sort. He stuck his hand out and told me to give him the phone and he’d talk to them. I immediately told him that I had no problems with that, but I needed to inform the phone representative that I was handing the phone off as a matter of courtesy. I was told by the store employee that he had full rights as a Sprint employee to speak to them—I never debated that, out of a sense or propriety, I didn’t want to simply hand the phone over without informing the person on the other line. I also informed the employee, once again, that I believed he was interacting with me in “good faith” and that he had helped me to the best of his knowledge up to that point. He indicated that if another Sprint store had spoken with me (they didn’t; they spoke to the phone representative), I was welcome to do go there. I didn’t want to go there, I only pointed out their opinion to demonstrate that the employee might have been in the wrong. It is at this time, the employee began to claim that I was “belligerent” and that I was having a “power trip” and that our entire interaction was being recorded on audio and video. He also said that there were others who witnessed my ill behavior (why that mattered since he had everything on audio and video is lost on me since those media would render any hearsay witness accounts moot or interpretative at best). He kept telling me “as far as you and me, we’re done.” He then stridently demanded the phone back—the one he gave me in the first place—and claimed I would have to leave the store. Those things are fine, but as a matter of politeness (a point ironically lost on the in-person employee), I, once again, wanted to hand off the phone after notifying them that I was doing so, and now confirming that I’ll be able to continue the call even after I hang up (the Customer Care person offered to call me on my own phone which I agreed to readily). After handing the phone back to him, he told me I couldn’t come back and told me that he had taken a photograph of my plates and that if I came back, I would be charged with “harassment” (the charge would be “trespassing,” actually, unless my coming back were persistent and put the business under some sort of duress). To his credit, the employee at least demonstrated enough intelligence not to have touched me in this incident, as I would have interpreted this as a direct attack upon my person (at least he did something right this day, I suppose?). I think there’s a couple of issues going on here, but most of them centered on a customer service representative who has self esteem problems related to his perceived level of knowledge. It’s not “belligerent” to have a disagreement, not is it “harassment” to ask for a better level of customer service, especially when it’s the simple request of escalating to someone who might have more power or authority over an on-the-ground employee. This is a typical stragegy employed by customers when they believe they’ve reached an impasse with a particular representative. I had no intentions of implicating this employee in anything or claiming he was incompetent in any way; I was just hoping to have my problem resolved as my experience has provided for, and as a separate (now four) representative of Sprint indicated it could be. If there’s a customer service representative who feels this cocksure about his abilities (I’m going to avoid the obvious reference to Bertrand Russell here), even though he’s been contradicted four times, this probably isn’t someone who should be on the front lines, dealing with patrons. He could have actually talked to the representative in my presence, and between the two of them, figured out what the ultimate solution could have been. However, this would have required some humility I’m not sure this particular employee has the ability to affect. The second issue has to do with this employee’s lack of perceptual language abilities. If one gets mad at someone after that person has absolved you of direct fault (“good faith”x2), then there might be a problem with linguistic reception at a fundamental level. Continually saying “let me explain this to you again” after the person you’re communicating with has said “I understand what you’re trying to communicate,” repeating what was said, and asking for other potential solutions demonstrates a lack of whole language processing that fails to see the forest for the trees. It demonstrates a type of linguistic and cognitive “anchoring” that, once again, doesn’t lend itself to good customer service. I can only hope this store takes measures to ameliorate this type of behavior in the future. I can’t say that anger is (or ever was) a reaction to this incident since it’s all so very surreal. I believe the employee is deficient or defective in some manner, and can only hope he gets help. If one can’t handle a disagreement and a request to escalate without the raising of voice, harsh or surly language, or direct threats to life or livelihood, then this is a person that shouldn’t be helping customers directly.