For quite some time now I’ve been looking at getting an iPhone. I am constantly at auditions and such where I need to know my availability and would have to say “I’ll let you know when I get home and check my Google Calendar”.
Now before you even say it, I don’t want to carry around a good old paper calendar/notebook/whatever. I share calendar’s with several people so we can easily see each other’s availability and I don’t want to have to document things in multiple places either.
When I first started thinking about an iPhone, there were rumors that a new one might be coming out around June, so I waited. Then came the official announcement! And I waited for the release date a month later. I knew what a frenzy it was trying to get the first iPhone, but I (mistakenly) thought that this one wouldn’t be nearly as hectic since the differences were significant but not earth shattering and I knew several people with first generation iPhones who were not going to upgrade.
So like a naive optimist, I showed up at my local AT&T store right at opening time, 9 a.m. There was a line of about 120 people. The store had 100 phones. I could wait in line and order one which would come in in about a week. That sounded fine. I mean i’d waited this long.
But the itch grew. The thrill, the desire. Some people in line were talking about how the Apple stores had a much bigger supply and if you were willing to wait in the insane line all day lone, you could almost certainly get one. I called my friend, Greg. He confirmed what another guy next to me had said. The closest Apple store had an absolutely ridiculous line according to several people who had gone by there. The way to go, apparently, was to go to the store down south because it was in a mall so you could at least wait inside in the air conditioning.
The thrill of the chase and the promise of immediate gratification got the best of me. I raced down south to the mall. There was a pretty ridiculous line there too but I figured it would probably be a couple of hours wait and then I would have my iPhone! I went to the bathroom and then grabbed a slice of pizza from the food court since I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet, and I got in line. an Apple store employee passed out free bottled water and said that they were pretty sure everyone in line would get a phone, but they couldn’t guarantee that you would be able to get a specific color/size. I resigned myself to being zen about it and decided that if I couldn’t get my first choice, really any model would do. I mean color didn’t matter since I would put it in a case and size didn’t really matter since, while I wanted a 16GB, I didn’t really need that much. I was still going to use my old 20GB iPod in the car anyway and if I ended up with an 8GB I saved $100!
Two hours later, I wasn’t even halfway through the line but at this point I was committed. Many of us in line had bonded by this point. At one point, one of “our group” bought a pizza and shared it with us. Another guy bought a deck of oversized novelty playing cards from Spencer gifts so they could play cards to pass the time.
Someone from a local radio station asked if they could interview me and it quickly became apparent that their intent was to embarrass me for waiting in line for a phone. His first question was “So how long have you been watching Star Trek?” I refused to be embarrassed and instead played up that angle myself, taking control. It wasn’t my best improv but I certainly didn’t get end up as s pawn in his bullying game.
There were displays of iRage as the time wore on. One lady behind me, who was there to get iPhones for her daughters, had that disgusting sense of entitlement so many people seem to have and seemed to think she knew could run things better than the Apple store who were, according to her, “taking entirely too long to process people”. There were many gems out of her mouth all day like “They just seem to be standing around chatting, they need to be getting people in and out faster,” and “they don’t need to be taking bathroom breaks, they need to be getting people through faster,” but my favorite was when she called Verizon. Apparently, she had just bought phones for her daughters recently, and if she canceled their contracts now she would have to pay a $300 fee or something. She tried to tell them what a loyal customer she’d been for 15 years and how her daughters just really wanted these iPhones now and that because of her loyalty, Verizon should wave those charges. Yes, that’s right, even though she was moving her two daughters to AT&T so they could have iPhones, Verizon should wave her cancellation charges because she had been so loyal for so long and still had other accounts with them. I wanted to iPunch her in the face. She was so annoying and bitchy all day.
As we neared the end of our 7 hour journey which had started with iExcitement and iAnticipation and then had progressed through iDepression, iFatigue, iResignation, and iDelirium among others, we started to come full circle back to iExcitement though for some it manifested as iDelirium. We finally entered the heavenly portal of… DUH DUH DUHNNN!!!! THE APPLE STORE!
The employees did spend as much time with each person as needed, and though I’m sure it was much to the bitchy lady’s chagrin, I thought it was awesome that they didn’t just rush people out of there and throw customer service to the wind. They answered any questions you had, helped you activate and set up the iPhone and generally spent as much time as needed until you were ready to to leave.
Would I have waited if I’d known it was going to be 7 hours? Hell no, but in the end, I’m glad I didn’t know because I got the iPhone I wanted and it was totally worth the wait.
Here’s the wallpaper I made for my phone since I figure the iPhone is really like the ancient predecessor to this legendary fictional device:
I now have access to my calendar, email, weather, movie times, news, and much more everywhere I go. I have electronic dice rolling programs for my D&D games (one even makes rolling sounds), I have a virtual light saber that turns on and off with the appropriate sound and makes the expected sounds of whooshing and clashing when you swing your iPhone around, I have a virtual cowbell that starts with Christopher Walken saying “I gotta have more cowbell” and then makes a cowbell sound when you tap it.
That radio guy may not have humiliated me but he was right. I am a total geek.