So, on Tuesday I went back to the mall kiosk, returned the phone and had absolutely no problems whatsoever(Incidently, D was not working).
Easy peasy. I head over to the independent Sprint store close to my house to order my phone. J is not working that day, so I'm helped by A. Since they have no Instinct phones in stock, she puts in to have it overnighted to the store. (I already knew that this would be the agenda from earlier chats with J). She starts putting in the order but notices my rebates are no longer there - apparently the other guy didn't return my rebates when I returned the phone. So, she calls up customer service and it sounds like they've credited me my rebates again. She tries to order it again, but it's not showing up yet. She says she'll keep working on it and that I can go ahead and leave (which I do because I'm way too trusting that people will do what they say they will do). Before I leave I ask her when they usually get their shipments in and also to call me if they need any additional information.
Flash forward to Wednesday. I call the store up and get A again. I ask her if the phone has arrived (hence the overnight shipping scenario). She explains that they didn't put the order in because there was a question as to how to handle the payment of the phone - she says I'll need to pay the full amount up front and then get the rebate credit on my bill. I'm frustrated because I could have answered that question yesterday if they had called. She apologized and said she was swamped and she'll get the order in today.
Thursday - I call in again. No phone yet.
Friday - I stop in. J's working. He apologizes about the phone not being there yet, but the phone will be there in the morning.
Saturday - J calls at 10 am and Yay! My phone is there! I have some errands to run, so I stop by a little before 1. We sit down and start working on activating the phone. Oh, wait...there's another problem. Apparently Sprint's databases are FUBAR and my phone, which I am holding in my hands, is labeled as pending shipment and can't be activated yet... *sigh* Customer service reveals that the turn-around time for fixing that little snafu is 1-2 days. So now I have my phone - it just doesn't do anything except for look pretty.
On the bright side, J was nothing but awesome. You could just see the look of disappointment on his face when he knew there would be another delay. The bad service in this case is on Sprint as a whole entity and not on the independent retailer.