So what's been happening in those stores -- and in carriers' customer service offerings overall?
Thankfully, the large brains at J.D. Power have constantly been monitoring customer sentiment among the likes of Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.
And the general sentiment seems to be: "Ugh."
The latest J.D. Power Wireless Purchase Experience Study offers a somewhat somber view. J.D Power's managing director Ian Greenblatt put it like this: "The study finds that respondents believe they're paying more and receiving less."
There are few more pungent feelings than getting nothing for something. You're spending money, and you're getting not much of anything at all. Not even a smile.
With these wireless carriers, though, there seems to be a particular -- and familiar -- problem.
Said Greenblatt: "Staff retention constraints, shorter representative tenure and less training are leading to a longer time to complete the purchase, more perceived effort from the customer and, ultimately, a decrease in satisfaction."
One can't help feeling that carriers would prefer to close their physical stores entirely and move every interaction online. When that happens, you can be sure of one thing -- the customer has to do even more of the work.
You might wonder, though, about specifics. Which carrier still manages to offer some sort of customer service, and which appears to have abdicated?
Talking of AT&T, it's not the worst. This survey of more than 14,000 customers gave it a score of 754. Yes, this is below the category average. But it's still a fulsome 16 points above Verizon, which finished at the very bottom.
Could it be that Verizon has an especially troublesome time pleasing its customers? Or could it be that its customers -- always being told that Verizon is the best and has the finest coverage -- are simply more demanding?