Monday, March 14, 2011

Clear the launch (i)pad...

So Friday was exciting.

For those of you who take up residence under a rock, the iPad2 was launched on Friday. Normally I would stay home and feel sorry for myself because, once again, technology exceeds my budget and I have to settle for an average run-of-the-mill laptop while everyone else enjoys the fruits of Apple's most recent labor.

(Get it? Apple? Fruit?  I'm a genius.)
The good thing about last week's iPad launch, was it fell on a week right after I had turned 30. Due to that blessed occasion, I got lots of nice presents from Hubs, parents and in-laws. Well, really just one present. Cash. I mean, what else are you going to get a 30 year old who has a tendency to pout for three hours when she doesn't get the gift she wanted? The correct answer is of course, gift cards, cash or Dr. Pepper.

My family was smart enough to give me cash. Bless them.

And of course Hubs also pitched in to provide me the necessary dollars to get my dream gift. But he warned me that getting the iPad2 on the day it was released would be touch, and I should probably just order online and wait patiently for its arrival.

Impatience is my middle name.

No dice.

Friday arrives. Word on the 'net states that multiple stores wil be selling the device this time around, not just Apple stores. Armed with this knowledge, I arrive at my local Beat Buy store at 10.00 am on the dot. The parking lot is practically deserted, which I take as a good sign.
 I saunter into the store and bee-line for the iPad section. A stray Beat Buy employee eyes me as I whiz by in a whirlwind of determination and confidence.
"Can I assist you, Miss?" he asks politely.

"Um, yeah," I stop abruptly and turn around. "I want that uh, iPad2 thing," I mime a rectangle with my hands and pretend to type on it. Just in case this person doesn't know what an iPad is.
 Employee man raises his eyebrows. "They don't go on sale until 5.00 pm."

Duh. I shift my weight back and forth like a toddler who needs to pee RIGHT NOW.

"Yeah, I know, but there's already a line at the Apple store. Don't you read Twitter?" God, these ridiculous people. "I thought there would be a line here, too. I want to be sure to get one. Like absolutelypositivelynodoubtaboutit want to get one."

He smiles and nods his approval. "I think you're safe to come back a little later. Not many people even realize this store is here since it's so new and small. Good strategy coming this early, though."

I sigh and buff out a black scuff mark on the floor with my shoe. "Okaaaaay, so if I came back around 3:00, would that be a smart time?"

He thinks for a moment. "Well, I know that's when we find out how many we're getting in the store, so that sounds good to me. Is there anything else you need while you're here?"

I pause for a moment. I have always wanted a television in the girls' room. And I KNOW they have a good selection of movies Must stay focused. These damn sales people.

"No, that's all I'm here for. I'll be back around 3:00. Thanks!"

I drive home and re-group. The Twitter posts are getting more and more frequent. The lines at the Apple store are growing into the hundreds by noon. Should I go back to Best Buy a little earlier? Maybe around 2:00?

(In all honesty, I drive by the Best Buy store six times in total on Friday. It's only 3 miles from our house, so it's okay.)

I manage to focus on work for awhile at home and knock out some pending tasks, but all I can think about is how fun it will be to do these tasks on my SHINY NEW iPAD2!!! And then I start to daydream about playing Angry Birds on a ginormous screen.

All work productivity is officially lost.

At 2.45 my phone rings. I pray for a telemarketer I can ignore but see that it's an important client. I answer and spend the next few minutes answering questions. By the time I hang up it is 2:56. I am supposed to be in line in four minutes.

I grab a book, triple check that I have my wallet (don't laugh, this has been a problem in the past) and drive like a bat out of crazy town to Best Buy. Relief washes over mewhen I see very few cars in the lot. I totally have this. It is 3:05.

Upon entering the store, I immediately see the line. Or glob. It is at least 10 people. How did THAT happen? The competitor in me was kind of hoping to be first.

As I approach the group, I can't tell where the line starts. Like Ralphie and the line for Santa Claus in "A Christmas Story". Where the hell am I supposed to stand? This is no way to run a rodeo. 

"I assume this is the line for the iPad?" I ask upon approach in my most confident voice.

"Yes," says a tall man who looks very tech savvy. (Read, nerd.)

"Great! Where does the line begin? I can't really tell."

"Right over there," says a man in a green shirt, who looks at me like I'm going to steal his first born child. "This is the front," He points hard to his spot. He is clearly proud to be first in line.

"So right here?" I ask in only the slightest of condescending tones as I take my place behind a young man in a KU shirt.

"Yes, right there. This here. This is the front," Green Shirt Man says, almost out of breath. It's like he's just dodged a bullet. He seems agitated. Now I am agitated.

"Well really, your spot could be the end of the line," I motion to the glob of people. "There isn't a very clear indication of what the front is."

"She's right," Tall Nerd says. I love him. 

"What we should do," I say as I make a wide swinging motion with my hand, "is stand single file along here so people can tell where they're supposed to stand when they come in. Just a thought."

Green Shirt's eyes narrow. "Well, we don't have a control freak in our line at all, do we?  HA HA HA HA HA HA."

Okay, that was rude. I am NOT a control freak. Yes, I like to know where I'm supposed to stand and when I'm supposed to stand there. And besides, who insults a complete stranger for trying to bring some organization to a potentially chaotic situation?

It is at this point that I get out my phone and update my Facebook Status.

"Omg, just WAIT for my blog about my ipad2 experience here at Best Buy. Been here two minutes and there's already drama."

It is also at this time that I become even more agitated at Green Shirt Dude. Seriously, what's his deal? Is he afraid someone is going to stand in front of him? He's FIRST IN LINE.

So I decide to take a picture of him for my blog later.

Do you see what I mean by GLOB? If Green Shirt Dude is first in line, someone explain White Shirt Lady to me. And what is the lady on the floor doing?  Taking a nap? 

I inquire how long Green Shirt and Floor Lady have been waiting, since they are clearly together. Green Shirt actually looks at his watch and actually thinks before replying, "In two minutes, it will be ten."

So eight minutes.

Is it really necessary to sit on the dirty Best Buy floor after you've waited for eight WHOLE minutes? Is it also really necessary to act anxious and worried and call a complete stranger a CONTROL FREAK after waiting only eight minutes? If it had been two hours, I could understand. But eight minutes? Really?

I wonder how crazy things are over at the Apple store where hundereds of people are waiting. Something tells me over there it's all Coach purses and complimentary backrubs and tech talk over espressos. I'm in Wyandotte County in Kansas. Apple's on the Country Club Plaza. When in Rome... 

I decide it can't get worse.

Fifteen minutes later a tall sales kid with killer dreads and a great attitude comes out and begins counting heads. By this point I have done my own count and determined that I am 9th in a line of 16. Surely I am going to get an iPad2.

As Dreads counts heads, I notice his wide grin dwindling as he gets to my part of the line.

"Um, okay guys, listen up!" he barks and claps his hands. "I need you to listen to what I say very, very carefully. Okay?  LISTEN. In about twenty minutes, I am going to hand out vouchers for the iPads. The store ad states that we must have at least four iPads at this location. It also-"

"ONLY 4!?" A big guy with gold teeth exclaims. "But, I'm 5th in line! I thought for sure that I would-"

"Please LISTEN to what I'm saying," Dread's interrupts. "At this location we are only REQUIRED to have four iPads. That does not mean we only have four. LISTEN TO THE WORDS I SAY. And for the love of God, back up!"

I hadn't even noticed, but Green Shirt, his floor wife, Tech Boy and Gold Teeth have slowly taken a step closer to Dreads with every word he says. They're close enough to get a view of his dental work. 

"Look guys, there are about 20 of you here," Dreads continues, massaging his temples. "I can't promise you all are going to get the iPad, and further I can't promise if you do get one that it will be the one you want. I don't even know what we have in inventory yet. Think of it this way...I have to watch you all get the iPad and I don't even get one."

"But you do have at least two?" Green Shirt asks quietly, nudging Dreads. I think Dreads is going to kill him.

"I. Don't. Know. How. Many. We. Have. Please step back," Dreads is starting to lose it. "I will come back in a few minutes with the vouchers. I'll also go over with you what accessories we have for the iPads for those of you that get one. Okay?"

After Dreads leaves, everyone in the line loses their minds. Green Shirt is calculating the chances that they will have more than two iPads, even though Dreads just told us they are required to have four. Tech Savvy Guy is debating between whether he wants the 16 or the 32 GB model and gets in a tech arguement with some pimply dude next to him about 3G versus Wi-fi. The kid behind me who is clearly in high school is on the phone calling in sick to work. I think a lady in the back of the line is crying.

I want to hang myself.

Instead I update my Facebook status again.

"OMG.You guys will not BELIEVE this. #iPad2"

(That's two "OMG's" in one day for my status updates. I think it's warranted.)

The moment of truth finally arrives. Dreads comes back out, this time armed with a second employee for back up. He has pieces of paper in his hands. I know he only has a certain number of papers, and there aren't enough for anyone.

I suddenly pray he gives a Tyra Banks America's Next Top Model speech. "I only have 10 vouchers in my hands...the people who do not receive vouchers must immediately pack their belongings, and go home."

Instead of a speech, Dreads just says that when he's out of papers, he's out of papers. End of story.

He walks to the front of the line and I can already feel people pushing me forward. WHY? This is not going to improve your place in line. People amaze me.

Green Shirt and his Floor Wife get what they want (despite my control freak-ness) and immediately walk around with a satisfied "I Just Took a Huge Dump" grin on their face. By the time Dreads gets to the guy in front of me, I'm convinced I'm not getting one.

Guy in front of me wants a black 32 GB. Dreads doesn't have it. He settles for a black 16 GB.

Dreads comes to me. I want a white 16 GB. He gives me the ticket for the model I want. The kid behind me takes the last piece of paper, and Dreads holds up his empty hands.

Game over.

Without thinking, I throw both hands up in the air and shout "YAAAAAY!" like a five year old. I have a desire to hug someone. People stare. Green Shirt glares at me. I think he's actually mad I got one.


Dreads wishes everyone in the line well and also mentions that if any of us wish to sell our tickets, we can't do it in the store. He then informs everyone that we have an hour to kill before we can purchase our iPads. We can look at accessories until then or busy ourselves elsewhere. He doesn't really care.

I ask for a picture with Dreads, whose name turns out to be Franklin. I prefer Dreads.

Hubs arrives twenty minutes later to wait with me. I try to convey to him the chaos that has ensued while he has been away, but it's impossible to explain.

The time soon arrives for us to purchase our iPads. As we're all standing in line with shitty grins on our faces, a thought occurs to me. You would think this group had just won the lottery. In reality, we simply won a chance to spend over $500 of our hard-earned money on a gadget that likely will be replaced with an even better gadget in a few short months.

And then Dreads reminds me they have a Buy Back Program. For a small, nominal fee.

I shake my head and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all, and even consider walking away. But then it's my turn to buy. And Dreads puts the iPad box in my hands. I remember Angry Birds. And Face Time. And email. And apps. And bright lights and colors. My eyes glaze over, I swipe my card and head home to play.

1 comment:

P said...

Yup, I would have had no idea he was the front of the queue either!