AT&T treats customers badly, still manages to sell out of Apple iPhones at most stores

Cnet.com reports that AT&T is claiming to have sold out of iPhones at most of it’s 1800 stores last night, but they aren’t exactly endearing themselves to their new iPhone customers.

It’s not clear how many phones each store had. Apparently, the store with the largest allotment, the Redmond WA store, got 90. Other stores had as few as 20, but it sounds like 40 might be a good estimate for the average. That would work out to 72,000 units and $36M in revenue. Not a bad evening.

AT&T says almost sold out of Apple iPhones | CNET News.com
“Virtually all of our stores sold out of the iPhone last night,” AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said, declining to specify how many units had been sold.

What is clear is that AT&T is rubbing some iPhone customers the wrong way. People in NYC were not treated with much consideration by store staff, who said that they were closing the store at 11pm, no matter how many people were left in line. They also made no effort to update the queued masses about stock levels, even when it was clear that they were running out of stock. People didn’t find out that they’d sold out of the 8GB model until another disappointed customer emerging from the store told them.

In Colombus Indiana, customers of the AT&T store were treated like dangerous criminals. Only 10 customers were allowed in the store at a time, so they could be guarded 1:1 by AT&T employees. They were also warned not to get too rowdy, and their were security guards inside to drive the point home.

Others discovered that while sold out AT&T stores were promising 2-3 delivery times for people who still placed orders, area Apple stores still had plenty of stock.

Some people had AT&T sell them iPhones even though they wouldn’t work with their corporate accounts. And others got home only to find that AT&T was horribly slow in activating their shiny new toys.

This certainly doesn’t reflect well on Apple for having chosen AT&T as a partner, but it is even worse for AT&T, who isn’t protected by a Reality Distortion field the way Apple is.

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