Take me out to the mallgame
Outphoned: Think going outside the Loop makes iPhone 4 pickup any easier? Thinkagain
"Are you ready for tomorrow morning?"
When this text arrived from my best friend on Wednesday evening, I knew exactly to what she was referring.
Today is iPhone Launch Day. Ever since becoming iPhone owners a wee year ago, both she and I have been unabashed fangirls to an unprecedented degree. So, of course, when AT&T offered us the opportunity to score the iPhone 4 with the strings of two more years attached (in a contract), it was a no-brainer.
But was I really ready for my very first iPhone Launch Day? Guess I was going to find out. Play ball!
There's no home field advantage.
I groggily hit snooze (on my iPhone, no less) at 6:00 a.m., and before I knew it, it was 6:18 a.m. The doors opened to the Willowbrook Mall at 7:00 a.m., so if I cared at all, I'd have to hurry.
With a sizable commute still in front of me, I opted to skip the majority of my morning routine and head straight out the door. A precautionary text from my best friend — who was already in line for her respective Apple store in New Jersey — warned me to back up my iPhone before making the upgrade. I reluctantly returned to grab my laptop before leaving the loop.
Why the Willowbrook Mall? Well, I figured the 'burbs wouldn't be so congested. I could waltz on up at around 7:00ish a.m. and I'd be money, correct? It's not like I was one of those fools stuck in the Galleria.
So wrong, it's scandalous. At 6:47 a.m., a friend already in line at Willowbrook texted to say, "This line is ridiculous."
And there went all my theories, right out the window.
Go hard or go home.
With my tail between my legs at 7:15 a.m., I joined the queue. The wrong one. Immediately upon entering the mall, I was greeted with the caboose of the walk-up sucker train that showed up in hopes of getting an iPhone 4 today.
Haughty with realization, I followed the signs for the folks with reservations. I walked. And I walked. And I walked. Past tons of middle-aged technophiles that must've arrived at some point in their twenties. The end of the reservations line was so far away, I'm pretty sure it was in a different ZIP code.
But there were only, perhaps, 200 people in that line — my line. How long could it possibly take?
By 9:30 a.m. — a mere two hours and about 20 paces into my penance — I'd already eaten a complimentary Einstein's bagel with lox, turned down two rounds of free Starbucks Frappucinos, and jockeyed with a Kindle-engrossed grandma for positioning in the double-parked row.
My feet were beginning to scream, since I, of course, had worn four-inch wedges to this very appropriate occasion. And my shoulders were beginning to ache, as I decided a laptop and a purse were necessary gear. I glared longingly at the spattering of camping chairs and willed my legs to continue functioning.
At around 11:30 a.m., lunch was being prepared by Chick-fil-A. It was then, after exhausting all my possibilities for cyber entertainment, that I realized I hadn't consumed a mere morsel all day. And by the time lunch would be served, I would be too far advanced in the wait to partake. So there's that.
Watch out for that pop fly.
By noon, a group of guido gliders had permanently attached themselves to a pair of corporate suits in front of me. Between broadcasting live on Stickam and frantically texting everyone around the globe suffering the same consumer fate as yours truly, my iPhone acquisition position had unwittingly been ousted by at least 10 minutes.
Eh, courtesy. Who needs it anyway?
The verifiable threat, however, was the increasingly irritable crowd.
What started off as friendly banter between congenial Houstonians was slowly turning into impatience. Curious inquiries turned into cursed interrogations. I focused my bleary eyes on that glowing apple orb looming above the crowd, silently wishing the Apple employees would cease selecting individuals from the walk-in line already.
You'd think having a reservation would make a difference, any difference at all. But you, just like I, would be mistaken.
You're outta there!
Five hours later, I found myself inside the store, escorted by a very chipper Apple sales associate from Pasadena (ahem, California). He embodied all the enthusiasm I was too tired to manufacture. In fact, when he allowed me to do the honors of unveiling "my baby (his words, not mine)" myself, I promptly sent my new gadget careening to the cement floor. I didn't flinch.
Yes, Apple boy, I think I'll be buying a case for my iPhone, thank you very much.
As I left, iPhone 4 gingerly in hand, feeling strangely traitorous to my discarded iPhone 3GS, I reflected upon my flurry of a morning. It was well past lunchtime, and I felt like I'd just emerged from an all-night bender with none of the triumph you get from illicit drugs or salacious flirtations.
Four hours of sleep. Fifty miles round-trip. Five hours in line. Hundreds of strangers. Rounding the bases with one iPhone 4.
Score? Nah. Home run.