The ear piece for my cell phone died recently, so I went to Best Buy to get a new one.  They didn’t have an ear piece for my old phone, but they informed me that I was eligible for a free phone upgrade. 

I settled on a phone that is also an MP3 player and decided to add more memory.   I bought the phone and the extra memory and Best Buy had AT&T transfer everything over to the new phone.   

Then I discovered that Best Buy didn’t have any accessories for the new phone.  My new “free” phone required me to go to the AT&T store to buy:

– A case –
– A car charger –
– An ear piece –
– Ear phones for the MP3 player –
– The cord to load the songs from the computer to the phone –

I decided not to buy the warranty.

A few days later a woman at work told me that her sister got the same phone at Costco and they got all the accessories for free.  I went to Costco and confirmed that this was in fact the case.

I went back to Best Buy to return the phone.  This was an extremely long process.  It was as if nobody at AT&T knew how to reverse the transaction on their computer.   Eventually Best Buy told me that I was all set.

I started thinking that I should just go to another store and buy an ear piece, but I went back to COSTCO to get the phone with the accessories.  At COSTCO I was informed that AT&T’s records still showed that I had a new phone (the one that I had returned).  COSTCO gave me a rain check for the phone I wanted and told me that “the package” ended that day. 

Frustrated, I went to Radio Shack to buy an ear piece for my old phone.

It took another trip to Best Buy and two calls to AT&T over 10 days to get my records corrected.   The new ear piece didn’t work well.  I had to return it.

I decided to use the rain check and get the new phone at COSTCO.   That same day I got a letter in the mail that my Costco membership expired.

I went Costco and updated my membership.  Then I went to buy the phone with the rain check.  I paid for the phone only to find out that COSTCO no longer had that phone in stock.  I had to get a checkout supervisor to do a refund for the transaction.

I went back to the cell phone display booth and selected a phone that they did have in stock.  Actually it was the original phone that I purchased at Best Buy.  However the new phone now cost $20, as the price had increased.

The sales clerk (a really new sales clerk) told me that I needed to submit forms to AT&T to get the rebate.  I went through the checkout line, paid for the phone, got the new phone and went back to the cell phone booth to have them set up the phone service.

At the booth the sales supervisor said it was not a mail in rebate but an instant rebate.  The now frazzled sales clerk rewrote the slip and took me back to the checkout supervisor to credit my account for the rebate.  The checkout supervisor (the same one) now labeled me as “This poor woman”.

Then I made a huge mistake.  I did not look closely at the rebate transaction completed by the supervisor.

I smiled at the frazzled sales clerk and said that I would be back.  I knew that I was in the middle of an epic saga and I told her “Something is going wrong as we speak.  I just don’t know what it is yet.”  She laughed, I laughed and I left with my new phone.  I confirmed that it worked when I got out of the store.

When I got home THEN I noticed that COSTCO had only given me a $45 rebate and not the $100 rebate.

The next day I called the cell phone booth at COSTCO.  I asked if “Dave” (the supervisor) was there and was told that his girlfriend had just had a baby and he was out indefinitely.  Then I asked for the sales clerk who had done the transaction and was told that she did not show up for work.  I think that she quit or was fired and I think it was my transaction that did it.

I eventually got the new cell phone salesperson to go through their records and confirm that the sales clerk had indeed given me the wrong rebate the day before.

I left work early and drove back to Costco.  After lots of explanations, conversations, filling out forms and waiting in line the Costco Customer Service staff decided that I was due $70 – but nobody knew how to do the transaction.  Eventually they decided to give me cash.  (Cash works for me.)

Two weeks later I got the American Express bill and I was FINALLY able to verify that all the transactions were correctly recorded.  I had called American Express to confirm this, but could not rest until I saw the actual bill.

It’s over.  It’s finally over!   I can put this whole thing behind me.  Now all I have to do is read the 161 page manual that came with the new phone.