I called my local Apple retail store to ask them if they could do an in-store repair of a broken iPhone, and to check what the expected turnaround time would be. But when calling the number, I got trapped in their automated routing system, which offered zero options to allow me to speak with a human who actually works at the store.
I then remembered that many automated phone systems have a secret word that you can speak at the prompt (or yell at the prompt, depending on the nature of “customer service” that you’re looking to address) that will immediately route you to a human, even if no such option is presented to you.
So after some quick Googling, I learned that the secret word to say is “manager“.
Within seconds of saying “manager” at the initial prompt, I got a real, live employee on the phone and an answer to my questions in under a minute!