"Surely this process would move faster if I went to the Suncom store", I thought. At least I won't have to listen to Harry Connick Jr on hold.
So, I get to the store 15 minutes early. Once inside, it is explained to me that the process may take 35 minutes. I have one hour till I have to be somewhere else. Turns out that you DON'T get better service by going to the store. They call the same 800 number and wait on hold.
Finally, we get a customer service rep. The Suncom employee then removes the battery from my smart phone without turning the phone off first. Next, she tries to unlock the phone and is unsuccessful.
As an aside, one of the reasons for going through this "SIM switch" procedure was to get my phone unlocked. Their procedure for doing this is at the SunCom store is completely non-standardized. Basically, the store employees surf the internet for free "unlock sites" and use that information. Apparently, this is news to the customer service employee, who makes note of the URL.
I could have done that myself. Suncom is "the phone company". They have access to the fancy hardware phone unlocking gadgets. But they don't use them. They don't even appear to have a list of standardized procedures for unlocking phones. This is left up to the store employees to figure out.
She offers me a Nokia 3620 to replace my 3650. The Nokia 6680 is apparently not an acceptable replacement as "it is a smart phone". I explain that my 3650 IS a smart phone. No dice. I decline the 3620 swap and leave with my old phone and both the new and old SIM cards.
To be fair, the switchover with my wife's Sony-Ericsson T616 goes off without a hitch.
Later, while in a waiting room, I search the internet for unlock sites, find the right one, and unlock the phone myself. Thankfully, as around 6pm, the old SIM card stops working. I pop the new SunCom card into the phone and all is well.
Needless to say, I was not impressed by the experience.