20 Fun Facts About Working In A Cell Phone Store


1. If you hand your phone to a sales associate, and they have to “take it to the back” for any reason, there is a good chance they are looking through your photos at an attempt to see you naked. Sometimes they don’t even bother going to the back, they’ll just check while doing “diagnostic tests”. This sucks, but let’s be honest, if you have that shit on your phone, what are you doing just handing it to a random stranger without moving the photos?

2. Wireless employees make more than you think. The experienced sales associates (“consultants”) made $40,000+ a year. The REAL good ones could push $70,000+, and the store managers in the LOWER volume stores came close to $50,000. Anything above store-level flirted with or exceeded 6-figures.

3. The payment machines you see in the stores are cashed out nightly, and regularly bring in $5,000-$15,000 cash daily. Some stores have 2 of these machines.

4. A regular practice in the wireless industry is to call customers and ask about their last “in-store experience”. The employees in the store actually get rated on this, and it’s part of their commission. The downside is they get paid on the store level, so one obnoxious asshole can affect everyone’s pay.

5. Every wireless employee thinks every customer is an idiot who knows nothing about what their phones are capable of. 99.3% of the time, they’re absolutely right. On the flip side….

7. A good amount of wireless employees (myself included) know a lot less about these devices than you would first believe. Good customer service and sales skills go a long way. Sell the sizzle, not the steak.

8. Wireless accessories are RIDICULOUSLY marked up. That $40 car charger you bought? That cost the company less than a dollar. Naturally, the consultants push these HARD.

9.  Store employees get hit on ALL THE TIME. Seriously, you guys offer up a lot of shit to keep yourselves connected to your Twitter account. And a lot of times, it works.

10. We like to flirt, too, sometimes. Please reference point #1; we may have already seen you naked, so why not, right?

11. You know how you go to access your account and forgot your PIN, so I need 37 ID’s and your first-born son’s left arm to verify your identity? I once personally spent a week helping a lady whose 12-year old son had his identity stolen and had 50+ DIFFERENT ACCOUNTS opened up and $1,000’s of dollars billed on EACH ACCOUNT making calls to the D.R.. We are legitimately trying to protect you when we ask for that shit, so calm down.

12. People threaten violence on wireless employees all the time, and sometimes the violent acts are followed-thru on. In my time in the industry, a T-Mobile employee was set on fire by her ex, an AT&T employee shot and killed. I’ve been threatened with everything from guns to bombs. Funny thing, though……

13. Store Managers, in partnership with their Corporate Security team, have the power to turn off any cell phones on your account permanently and make sure you never get it back. I had to do this twice. So, again, calm your shit.

14. The demo phones in the stores get stolen a TON! Sometimes, the genius thief will return to the store several days later and ask us to activate their new phone on their line. Hey, man, thanks for bringing my phone back, the cops will be here shortly to help you with that!

15. Due to shared stress, store employees become family, and like to have fun. It was not uncommon for me to set alarms on the store’s demo phones to go off right at opening time the next morning on my off-day. Seriously, it could make for a decent reality TV show.

16. Stores that do their job right maintain their inventory meticulously. They count each and every phone in the store, including returns and demo phones, by serial number, WEEKLY. The busy stores have 800-900 serial numbers at any given moment.

17. If you buy a phone at Best Buy, Radio Shack, or the like, don’t try to return it to me. The answer is no. If you are having an issue, we can try to fix it, but if you buy it there, return it there.

18. There are stores that are called “dealers”. They look exactly like corporate-owned stores, down to the dress code. Their policies can be a lot different, and even though you bought our service, there’s very little we can do if they screwed you in some way.

19. It was not terribly uncommon for refurbished phones to not have all their data erased before being sent back to stores. Meaning not only did the employees see your nudes when you traded in your phone, but some other lucky customer (or, for added fun, lucky customer’s child) saw your genitals as well. Enjoy that.

20. The management team in a store will truly do anything they can to help you in any situation, but if you’re an asshole about whatever the situation is, PARTICULARLY if nobody in that store caused said situation, what they can do will become SEVERELY limited. They get paid commission for good customer experience ratings, not for bowing to douche-nozzles. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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