Cell phone stores are the new DMV, only worse.
A visit to your local AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, or GCI (Alaska only) outlet fills you with a unique sense of dread paralleled only by that bleak government office.
That's because you know that you have to go there in person. You can't just phone it in, so to speak. And you know that no matter when you show up, you'll be spending your entire day there amongst the unwashed masses. You're bored, grumpy, impatient, and waiting to drop a bunch of money in fees on something for which modern society has created a "need."
You take a number and sit down on an uncomfortable plastic bench. The whole time, you're looking around at all the different phone options and trying to unravel the various "plans," all of which carry a pungent "the-house-always-wins" whiff about them.
Like renewal of your driver's license, it's time for your "upgrade." Your contract is up and you can't function without a new one. The people who finally call your name are a little younger, a little nicer, and notably less surly: They work in the private sector and know you have "your choice of carriers," and therefore feel compelled to project a false sense of cheer and hipness. They could definitely beat you at Call of Duty and were born sometime in the 90's. They're here to take care of you.
Except not really, because they also know the company they work for has you by the short and curlies, and that like all their competitors--with whom they're in cahoots in an Orwellian dystopia riddled with antitrust violations---they're literally--LITERALLY--selling you air, and you're going to buy it no matter what.
Even the background music is the same level of annoying, only different. There's a hip Apple-approved soundtrack here, unlike the DMV where you're a captive audience to Steve Miller Band and Van Morrison on loop. "Some people call me the space cowboy, dadadada yeaaaah, some call me the gangster of looooove, some people call me Mauriiice, whoo whoo, 'cause I speak, of the prophecies of loooov-- OH SHUT THE FUCK UP STEVE FUCKING MILLER!!!"
Now that song is stuck in your head. And all you can think about is the first boy who shoved his tongue down your throat and gave you a mix tape featuring that song, Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl, and Led Zeppelin's All of My Love in the hopes that exhibiting such a broad mastery of non-top-40 music would gain him access to your boobs.
God, cell phone stores are the absolute worst.