I’ve been waiting for an iPad 2 since the original tablet computer was released a year ago, but all of my friends that had one said, “Wait, they’ll get a new one. It’ll be soon.” So I took their advice and held off on the purchase. So when Apple officially announced them on March 2 I felt rewarded for my patience. It was never my intention to stand on line on the first day, as I’ve seen the lines waiting for the iPhone and never felt like camping out for a piece of tech was worth it. But things change.
The day they were released my co-worker Micheal Scott Jones ventured out to the AT&T store near the office to see what the lines were like. At 3:30pm he texted that he was the “first person in line” and that there was no one behind him, which was shocking considering we are in midtown Manhattan. As a long-time Verizon customer I decided I’d stick with the devil I know to get the 3G version of the iPad. When I checked online the wait time for delivery had gone from 3-5 days to 2-3 weeks. Curiosity got the best of me and I decided to check the Verizon store on 58th and 3rd just to see what kind of line was there. As I hoofed it up the avenue I thought to myself “this is crazy” but as I got closer to the store I could not see any noticeable gathering of impatient technophiles. Finally reaching the front door I spoke to the sales people incredulously, “You must not be selling it…”
“What? The iPad? At 5 o’clock”
There were only about three actual customers. In fact, it was more crowded a few weeks ago when I went in about a malfunctioning touch screen on my Droid.
So here I am at the Verizon store, Neil Armstronging it. I was the first person in line. Hell, there wasn’t even a line yet. I was a point. It’s 4:10pm. so what’s an hour?… Boy was I wrong.
Here is a time line of what happened:
4:12 “There are 5000 people at the apple store! People have tents!,”says the now third brother in line. “He’s been there since Wednesday, his wife has been bringing him lunch!”
At 4:25 the line is now 4 deep. One of the reps has informed me that they “may not have them exactly at 5pm” giving me the option of leaving. But what did I have to lose? I decided to stick around just for the show. The view is better from the front of the line.
4:32..line is seven deep. The new recruits have more stories from the Apple store front line. Discussions of what size to get bubble. “I’m getting the 64GB,” says the second customer in line. “You’re going big dog!” High fives are shared. Everyone is professionally dressed and cracking jokes. No real tension yet.
4:38 Verizon store rep comes around to take names of us in line. It’s only eight deep at this point. Third guy–a very tall Black man– says he’s Bill Gate’s son. Asks if anyone is waiting for the Xoom.
4:52 Line is still only 12 deep. Tweets are going out about a woman who sold her spot in line for $900. Everyone agrees she got low-balled.
5:04…No iPads yet. Line is now going the length of the store. Folks are getting antsy.
5:13. Rep says they don’t have them in the store yet. They offer to order it for you. “It’ll take 3 days.” Haggling begins. “What happens if I wait?”
5:25 I decide I’ll wait til six. The customers don’t trust the reps thinking they’re trying to hold them for their friends and family. But once 6pm comes there are still no iPads.
The reps say they are no longer sure when the shipment will come in and assure me that if I order the iPad 2 now it will arrive in three business days. I shrug it off and put in my order, as did a few other people in line. One guy holds out hope they bring in a shipment that night and waits around.
Three days later I receive a call from a Verizon rep saying that the wait will now be three weeks. Feeling betrayed I cancelled the order. A week later the charge was still on my credit card so I had to call again to have it removed. By now I wanted to Roshambo the whole crew at Apple. Going first of course.
Unfortunately, this has not been an isolated experience. Our friend Royale Watkins is still upset a month later. He has three iPad 2s but thinks Steve Jobs gets the gas face. Watch his video to find out why!
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