A few days later, it still hurts to say: I didn't buy my iPhone from the Apple Store.Some disclaimers:
- I am a certified Apple fanboy, and in no way is this my way of dissing the company, just an honest account of my experience
- My experience may have been characteristic to this one store, this one year
- As always, the employees were enthusiastic, friendly, and supportive
- The iPhone 6 is a great phone and this is nothing against that phone
It happened like clockwork. The alarm went off at 4:30, and the group message, named "Team iPhone 6" (thanks iOS 8 for that feature) was already active. By 5:10, the four of us left campus in the quest of 2 iPhone 6's, and 1 iPhone 6 Plus (one came along for moral support, more about him later).The year prior we left at the same time, for the same store. This year, we arrived before 5:30, perhaps 30 more people before us than the year prior. The man standing in front of us had just completed a count, and we fell somewhere between 150 and 155 in line. While we thought about waiting outside the Best Buy Mobile, or carrier stores located in the same mall, Apple was still our clear winner, for a few reasons:
- Culture. There's a certain camaraderie when over a hundred Apple fans are waiting in line together for the release of a new product. A diverse demographic discussing everything from the first iPhone to OS X Yosemite. You could call us the crazy ones,
the misfits, the rebels, the trouble makers, but it's a surprisingly fun experience
- Food. We were going to be there for a few hours and Apple provides Starbucks Coffee, pastries, fruit, snacks, and bottled water
- We didn't actually all have the same carrier.
- Past Experience. Last year, we left the Apple Store before 9:30, which was more than reasonable
- The employees. Between doing the wave, being otherwise peppy, and just knowing the products quite well, it makes the entire experience different
Our first issue, was the vast number of people...who weren't buying iPhone's. While it's grown in frequency over the years, we estimated between 50-75 "line-sitters." These people came in sleeping bags and even tents, and switched spots for much more business-formal-dressed people, just before 7:00.
An older woman fainted. This was not at the fault of anyone else, just an interesting precursor to the following events (she was fine, and continued to wait in line, while employees got her water and a chair).
Apple employees began to give out "cards" for phones. This year went digital and you were texted a Passbook card that reserved your phone until close of business that day. The aforementioned older woman and her husband left once they found out that Apple was out of all Plus's. My friend, who wanted the plus was none too enthused. At that point we had reserved 2 Slate Grey iPhone 6's, and 1 gold.
Employees helped count down until the store open and a massive cheer erupted.
At this point we had only moved up around 10 spots in line, and learn the employees are taking people into the store one at a time.
Frustrated, two of us check the Best Buy stock downstairs and discover that they have only gold 6's available, with no line. Two of us were content with that decision, one was not, and we continued to wait in the Apple Store line.
The friend who was coming for moral support was about to miss work, and I let him take my car. At this point I'm considering leaving with him and coming back for my now reserved phone later. We find out my car is dead. A woman jumps it for us.
The woman who jumped our car...has her son's car die and we jump it to return the favor. This is also the time that we finally convince our friend to go to Best Buy instead.
I miss an exam.
We finally leave Best Buy, with phones in hand and go to Apple to purchase cases and screen protectors.
We leave the Apple Store, to see that the people who were in front of us in line, were still around 15th in the Apple line.
We arrive back on campus, frustrated, annoyed, exhausted, but excited for our new phones.
All in all, the experience was a wild one. Over 10 Million iPhone's were sold this weekend. Apple was personally selling AT&T Next and Verizon Edge plans, which slowed the process significantly, and may have been part of the reason why our wait was so long as compared to previous years.
We've already decided, for the Apple Watch, we're just going to go the day before. Though, our "Team Apple Watch" has already dwindled down. For those wondering, I was able to reschedule that exam.