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When I worked in a retail setting, one of the most common things that would walk through the door were existing customers who were ready for upgrades. Upgrading your device is an exciting time; out with the old and in with the new! Unfortunately, on more than one occasion when a customer’s account was pulled up, it turned out their upgrade wasn’t available when they thought it would be. This could be for a number of reasons, but one of the most common reasons was due to upgrades being rotated around.

Generally, it’s a never-ending cycle when one family member takes another’s upgrade. Somebody’s phone broke, or somebody else has to have this phone now because it’s awesome.  Then when the next person’s upgrade is available, the person whose upgrade was taken can just swap for the next upgrade. These were the easiest cases because it was understood that these were how the upgrades would work for that family from now on.

When it comes to upgrade swaps, sometimes they come easy for the employee and sometimes things get mixed up. Without the experiences I’ve been through I would have never known just how confusing a seemingly simple upgrade switcheroo can really be. If it’s between two phones there’s generally no issue – you upgrade the eligible line and you switch it to the line of the person who is taking it – easy as that! But once you involve more than two the numbers can get confusing and sometimes somebody’s phone gets turned off in the process who shouldn’t have had their phone turned off at all. In any phone switching case, it’s always best to alert all people on the plan that they might have service interruption for a brief moment (just in case something gets messed up).

Some upgrade rotations are more difficult than others. This next type of rotation I’ve seen is actually very interesting, but I’ve only come across this three times in my retail experience: the tech guru of the bunch will receive all of the new upgrades and the other phones get passed down the line each time. It’s an interesting tactic because generally that means every person in the family gets a different phone every few months – especially if there’s a lot of members in the plan. Everybody wins!

And then there’s the not-so-fun upgrade rotation… which ends up being more of a steal than a rotation. These cases were the worst to deal with, generally because it ended up not being anybody working in the store’s fault but we would be the ones who were expected to fix it. These cases were the ones where somebody took an upgrade when they weren’t supposed to. So if you can imagine a person’s dismay (or fury) when they arrive at the store and have been told that they can’t upgrade because somebody else has already taken their upgrade. This usually resulted in a call to somebody (presumably the person who stole said upgrade) and a one-sided yelling match unfolded in the store. Unfortunately there was (most of the time) nothing we could do to solve the problem, so that’s how a game of “upgrade rotations” sometimes starts.

Does your family do upgrade rotations? How did it start? Has it ever stopped, or has it just become the norm for your family? Let me know in the comments!

 


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