To Apple or Bust…(Bust it is)

The iPhone 4

Amy has needed a new phone for a few months. She has had my first iPhone (the iPhone 3G) since I upgraded to the 3Gs last year. So her phone is two years old.

Since the beginning of the year (maybe earlier) its has been giving her problems. The touch Screen doesn’t always activate for her, she’ll miss a call cause it never rings, or vibrates; and a host of other issues.

So we were going to upgrade her, but we knew a new one was speculated for this year, so I told her to wait. So she has been waiting.

So when the release date was announced, we decided that we would go pick one up. There was no line for the 3Gs last year when we strolled in around 10am, so I didn’t think it would be a big deal. Boy was I wrong. (If you follow along with the map, I am numbering spots I talk about)

Rosedale Mall (Click to embiggen!)

Amy drove me to work, so she could pick me up and we could go to Rosedale to pick up a phone (I work near Rosedale, and I don’t think she quite trusted me to make sure to upgrade her phone and not mine….)

We arrived at 6:40 am, and there was already a line outside of the mall entrance near The Apple Store. But it didn’t seem bad and I wasn’t sure how it looked inside. So we got in line (1).

They start herding us into the mall and escorting us where to go. They broke us into two lines. Reserved and Non-Reserved. I tried reserving one for a week, with no luck. (I heard from some people who reserved online, got a confirmation screen, but no email…)

They put reserved on one side of the hall in the entrance and use on the otherside (2). I leaned over and told Amy it felt like we were the uncool kids sitting across from the cool kids.

They then took us around the corner and parked us in the actual non-reserved line. (3). We were near the end, and not too many people came after us (about 40?) . People came and went all day behind us, but we were near the end. They offered water, bagels, and coffee throughout the morning.

Looking toward the Reserved Line from spot (3)

Meanwhile the reserved line got to go in the shorter line (the blue line) which started near The Apple Store, moved towards Macy’s then looped back toward The Apple Store. This line moved fairly steady all day.

We slowly shuffled around, somewhat steadily and got to (4) at about 9:15, when Amy had to leave for her appointment. From this spot, I spotted a high school mate, Liz, taking photos of the line from the upper level. We chatted on and off through Facebook all day.

Some guy tried to cut in line behind me at this spot, by striking up a conversation and asking me which line was which. I kind of rudely told him where everything was and he went on his way.

At around (5) Amy checked in to see if I had moved past “Tren. D. Home” store (which we joked I would still be at when she was done with her appointment). I was…This was bout 11:30. The See’s Chocolate kiosk opened and the lady came around with free samples, which was nice.

Around (6) is when the line stopped. Speculation was that AT&Ts activation servers were slowing down as more Time Zone’s came online and more stores opened. So for about an hour or so, nothing happened.They also informed us that the 16GB were all gone, and only 32GB were left. Amy also called and let me know she wasn’t coming back. (She had plans to take the kids to her Uncle’s Cabin for the day and everyone was waiting for her). But she arranged for my dad to pick me up when I was done.

By this time my feet were killing me (I wore the wrong shoes) and my back was so sore. As we neared pillars, the 3-seater benches were hot commodities, people would spin them around the pillar to be closer to their spot in line. I tried to sit when I could. With my weight, I can’t just sit on the floor, I need something lean against. So I would lean against a pillar when I could. Three times I almost pulled a muscle in my foot. Like when you over extend your jaw when you yawn, and you pull a muscle…that same feeling.

Then the line slowely picked up. The Apple Store Guy’s kept coming out and making updates, talking with us and trying to keep everyone in good spirits.

By (7), we were going on 6 1/2 hours! We were all friendly with each other in line, would hold each others spot for bathroom breaks, and a few people would even make drink runs “on them”. We joked about the line and the people, chatted about our lives. We even had “mile markers” in the Reserved Line so we could keep tabs on their progress. There was a guy dressed all in black with Red Shoes, so we joked we were on “Red Shoe Watch” and would watch his progress in line. At this point too, The Apple Store guys came around with carts full of Green Mill Pizza and pop. What a gesture!

Also, we found an Apple Guy that we nicknamed “Buzzkill” as he was the realistic downer of the group. He came in and told our section that “somewhere in here, is where we will probably run out”. But we were all committed.

So they started taking our information and put us on a Priority list, so that when they get another order, we get first dibs. (He was even using an cool app on an iPod Touch built just for this!).

Fourth from the Door.

So we waited for another two hours, and by the time I got be the fourth from the door (8), they came out told us that they were sold out.

We were all stunned. All we had known for the past 8 hours was standing in line. I had just told the guys that I felt like we were all family! The Gay guy behind me agreed and asked whose house he was going to for Christmas. So we just stood their. I thought the little Asian Lady, who was three in front of me, and the VERY NEXT person in line to get a phone, was gonna pass out! We were all so shocked and crest fallen, that we didn’t move. We were all waiting for them to tell us their were kidding, or for someone to make the first move. The Gay guy went ballistic, he was so mad.

So, I stumbled away with my really sore back, my sore legs and feet and found the nearest empty bench, and sat, called my dad and waited…I was tempted to do some therapy shopping, but my feet hurt too much to move.

But, in the end, I was glad I did it. I have never waited in line before like that. Not for tickets, not for anything. So I was glad for the experience.

And, Amy treating me extra special today for all my hard work, is very nice too!

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