Waiting for iPhone Activation

iPhoneApple, you have been my friend for so many years now, but I'm going crazy waiting for you or AT&T or both of you to activate my phone. Would it have killed you to at least let me play with the thing while I wait for mobile service to be activated? I've been sliding that "Slide for Emergency" button over and over again. Trying to get my iPhone touch screen fix. I feel like a hospital patient pushing the drug button every 5 min. for another shot of morphine. At one point I even considered dialing 911 just so I could experience using the phone.

Please Apple, if you are reading this, activate my phone!

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For those suffering through the same ordeal here is a rough chronology of my events (all times eastern):

Day 1:

~7:00 PM - Leave office with 2 friends and head to AT&T store

~7:15 PM - Arrive at store, discover line of about 30 people

~7:20 PM - AT&T guy is telling us there might not be enough to make it to us in line

~7:35 PM - Caleb pays guy in 3 place for his spot in line, cost 75 dollars. Reason: Just so he can torture me, Arggg!

~7:40 PM - Becca (my wife) arrives after calling me earlier when we just started waiting in line, we are about 20 people from the door now.

~7:42 PM - Becca can't hold back any longer, opens purse where I am surprised to find a recently purchased iPhone! Becca rocks!!

~7:43 PM - I hold up iPhone to crowd and scream, everyone cheers, Caleb looks angry! Muhahaha!

~7:50 PM - Caleb goes in, comes out 5 min later with iPhone

~8:20 PM - AT&T rep comes and tells us (just 1 person away from the door) that they have run out of Phones, Ray (other friend who came with me) is not happy. We decide to go to the nearest Apple store and check it out.

~8:40 PM - We arrive at Perimeter Mall in Atlanta and head to the Apple store. Short line, tons of iPhones, why the heck didn't we come here first? Oh right, Becca did, smart girl, should have followed her lead!

~8:50 PM - Becca buys another iPhone for herself, I get a Jawbone Bluetooth headset, Ray gets his iPhone, we all cheer, life is good. (We notice about 35-40 iPhone boxes remaining on our way out but people are coming in and buying them pretty fast)

~9:00 PM - Head to Caleb's, watch him activate his phone, the process is amazing. Fast simple, straightforward. Exactly what you would expect from Apple. He is up and running in 5 min with a new phone number, wow!

~9:30 PM - Can't take it any longer, the iPhone is pretty damn cool, must run home to activate mine at once, Becca and I leave for home.

~9:45 PM - Plug in iPhone, fire up iTunes (already upgraded to 7.3 earlier) all is looking well and then "Sorry your account is a business account or is not compatible with iPhone service" Gives me a number to call, which I dial

~9:50 PM - Brief hold time (10 min or so). I get an amazingly friendly AT&T service rep who tries to help but can't "your account looks like a business account and I can't pull that up in my system" gives me another number to call and apologizes many many times. The rep is so damn nice it's scary, I think she must be an Apple rep in disguise. She could have told me that nuclear war was imminent and I would have left the call feeling good. I leave the call feeling good, even though my iPhone is still not activated.

10:00 PM - I call the other number I was given, I get a message "We are experiencing technical difficulties, please try again later" Click. Uh Oh...

~10:05 PM - We decide to rush over the the AT&T store, maybe they are still open, maybe they can work this out in person.

~10:15 PM - Arrive at AT&T store where we were just at 2 hours ago, 1 AT&T rep and a police officer hanging outside the store. They tell us they just closed. I mention that I thought I heard they were open until 12:00 tonight. AT&T rep starts going off "Don't know why you would think that, we have had signs up for weeks, no we are not open until 12:00". I'm a little put off but whatever. I explain my issue anyway she tells me that the systems are all clogged by all the activations and I just need to keep trying. I tell her about the conversation I had with AT&T and how they said it was an account issue. She denies all of that says it's just the backlog because of so much demand. I tell her fine, what time do you open, I'll be back tomorrow so we can look up my account and figure it out. She tells me they open at 9:00 AM but if I come back all she is going to do is give me a phone number to call, there is nothing she can do. I ask for the phone number and this is where I loose it: "I can't give that to you, I'm off the clock" she says. WHAT? You are off the clock? You are standing in front of the store and you can't give me a phone number? You are going to make me come back here tomorrow just so you can give me a phone number, what kind of nonsense is that? I'm yelling, she starts yelling telling me she can't be bothered it's not her problem, they don't pay her to work past 10:00. Forget it I'm outta here. Cop tells me "Dude, why are you trippin? Don't be like that" I tell them both it's stupid that she can't give me a phone number and we walk away. I suddenly remember why I hate phone companies,memories of amazingly bad customer service float into my head and it just pushes me over the edge, I'm now very pissed at AT&T, still hanging on to hope for Apple however.

~10:30 PM - Get home, try activation again, same result. Go on to other things, start reading work e-mails to drown out my frustration.

~11:00 PM - I call that number I was given before again, this time it works, in 8 min I'm talking to a rep. She explains that they just found out about this issue, that they are working on it, they don't have a solution to it, they didn't realize there were so many people who would have this problem and she promises to call me the moment they have it resolved. I give her my cell phone number, it's the best place to reach me right?

~2:00 AM - Going to head for bed, decide to try activation one more time. This time something different happens! iTunes tells me that my account will have to be converted, that I may loose any special discounts I had since my line was a business line (which I had no idea it was) and that if I'm OK with all that, I should proceed. I'm good with that, so I carry forward, fill out some forms, enter my mac account and everything is looking good! My mind is racing, I'm anticipating taking my iPhone up stairs and playing with it until I fall asleep with it in my hands, woo hoo! Alas, it was not to be. "You activation requires additional time to complete". I'm told I'll receive an e-mail when it's ready.

DAY 2:

~10:00 AM - I'm out of bed in a flash, I race downstairs. Could it be? Will my iPhone be activated? What excitement awaits me?

~10:00:03 AM - No e-mail, but I try activation again, no luck. Ugh...

~10:15 AM - I decide to play with my new Bluetooth headset, I go looking for my old phone. "Inactive SIM" is displayed on my cell phones screen. Uh oh...wait, didn't I ask them to call me on that number when they fix the system? Crap!

~10:25 AM - I call AT&T, after a brief hold time I speak to another super nice person. She explains that my account is now showing up in the right system, that all looks correct and that she can see that there is one final step that needs to be completed. She explains that this final step is taking a super long time, about 11 hours, and that around 1:00 PM things should be taken care of. She apologizes a ton, tinkers with my account and re-enters my order which she says will sometime make things go faster and we end the call. Arggg! 1:00 PM? I do the only thing I can do - actually get some work done around the house like I'm supposed to this weekend. Sigh.

~1:00 PM - No e-mail, try to activate again, same response. Ugh.

~3:32 PM - I receive an e-mail from donot[email protected], my order is being processed, here is your order number, we will send you another e-mail soon explaining how to activate. Could this be it?! I'm so close!

~6:50 PM - We are heading out to dinner with friends, I check one last time before we leave. Still no service, still a dead cell phone and no activation instructions.

~11:00 PM - We come home, I zip downstairs. No e-mail, no working phone, iTunes still says the same things when I try to activate. Ugh!

~1:00 AM - One last check before bed, no luck.

DAY 3:

~10:00 AM - Repeat of day 2, rush downstairs, no e-mail, no luck, I'm thinking of crying

~11:00 AM - I call AT&T, short hold time, very friendly person again, this time I'm told that the process they thought was taking 11 hours, is now taking even longer and that they honestly don't know anymore how much time it will take. She explains they are being crushed under the load of new activations. I suggest that this must be a good thing overall for AT&T, I hear nervous laughter. Hmmm...

~3:00 PM - I'm cruising the message boards, looks like a lot of people are having this problem, no phone service, no activation, trapped in limbo. I feel good to know I'm not alone, but not sure I like knowing that there are so many people out there with the same issue. I selfishly wonder what my place in line is regarding all these other people, oh the humanity! I post a brief synopsis of my experience thus far on David Pogue's blog on New York Times and then I decide to blog about my experience on my own blog.

~4:09 PM - Still waiting...help...

---UPDATE---

~7:07 PM - Still no activation. Called AT&T, asked them if it's normal for me to be 2 days without service now, she said yes! One interesting thing however, she told me to remove the SIM card from my iPhone and place it in my old phone which I did. I now have a working cell phone (yea!), just not an iPhone. I did get some funky text messages however, one looked like some programing codes which I assume were meant for my iPhone. Hope those were not important...yikes...

---UPDATE---

~8:41 PM - Still no activation. I decided to put the SIM card back in my iPhone, now there is a new message on the phone "Insert an unlocked and valid SIM to activate the iPhone". Somehow putting the SIM in my other phone has changed something. Not sure if this is good or bad. Hopefully the advice I received from that last AT&T rep isn't going to ruin my chances of getting this thing activated anytime soon...

--UPDATE--

~9:02 PM - Got my activation e-mail! After over 48 hours, I'm finally ACTIVATED!