Waiting in Line For the iPhone

by Sachin Balagopalan on July 21, 2008 · 1 comment

Last weekend while we were in NYC I was tempted to join the “madness” at the Apple Cube store on 5th Avenue. However when I saw how long the lines were and not to mention it was a hot and humid I decided to join my wife and one year old son next door at F.A.O Schwarz instead. Watching my son go crazy at a toy store beats standing in line for 5-6 hours any day :) ! Besides I live in the Boston area so I was pretty sure I would be able to get the new 3G iPhone without having to terribly endure the long lines - there are about 10 flagship stores within driving distance from where I live and a bunch of AT&T stores as well. Boy, was I wrong! First of all unlike the 5th Avenue store none of the stores in the Boston area had regular shipments coming in every night. Secondly if they did they were limited in number and were sold out within an hour of the store opening.

Last night I checked the Apple website after 9:00 pm and saw the store at the Providence Place mall in Rhode Island had a shipment coming in for Sunday. So on Sunday I arrived around 11:00 am right when the store was opening and there were already about 30 people queued outside the store behind a roped line. The Apple “dudes” in blue T-Shirts were handing out little cards based on the kind of phone you wanted (8G black/white or 16g black/white) so as to speed up the process once you go into the store not to mention the card also guaranteed you a phone. “Not too bad” I thought - an hour maybe 1 1/2 hours tops? Wrong again! By the time I was inside the store it was 2:00 pm. It was like a dripping faucet to say the least - 3 hours for for 30 people to get into the store! Behind me there were about 20 people before the the cards ran out - so in essence the total shipment for the day was ONLY fifty pieces! So the rumors about supply chain problems must be true then!

In all fairness though “dripping faucet” notwithstanding the experience was not too bad surprisingly. People in the line didn’t seem to mind at all. The Apple guys were frequently walking by and answering questions and also trying to get you to sign up for MobileMe - the new service to sync up all your devices a la cloud computing. They were also offering us water and candy which helped. Once I got into the store the service was great. Being an existing customer who already owned the first iPhone the process of switching was pretty painless and I was out of the store in half hour with my new iPhone.

Would I stand in line again for more than three hours the next time? Probably not!


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

ctak10 07.21.08 at 6:31 am

Hey Sach,
Say hi to Jenny. I am glad that watching your beautiful baby boy in the toy store won out over waiting for the iphone!

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