Yesterday, I finally got an iPhone. And I queued a lot longer than I expected, which was a bit of a shame.
After walking past a few Optus stores on launch day last Friday, I decided I was going to wait until this week to get my iPhone. Unfortunately, the Apple store always seemed to have a really long queue whenever I went past. I thought I should follow the advice of the Apple store staff and come in early one morning. They assured me that they got new stock in every night, so I wouldn’t have trouble getting a black 16 GB model if I arrived early in the morning.
I arranged with a colleague, Michael, that we’d try to get to the store early on Friday morning. I arrived at 7.05 am to find him second last in the queue, so I slotted in next to him. We started off with about twenty people in front of us. Michael said he’d have to go back to work by 9.30 am, and I needed to get in by 10. We didn’t think this would be any trouble with only twenty people in front of us.
The store opened at 8 am, and the queue slid around into the front of the store. We ended up just outside the door after this happened. After an entire hour — at 9 am — we were still just outside the door. The queue inside had moved forward by two people in an hour.
At 9.30 am, we got to move inside and the Apple store kindly provided coffee and hot chocolate for the people in the queue. This was good, but it was still to be two more hours before Michael and I were allowed upstairs to sign the contracts and so on.
While we were standing in the queue, one of the Apple staff mentioned that they’d increased the number of Optus staff signing up new customers from two up to eight. However, this didn’t seem to make any improvement whatsoever to the speed of the queue. Even though he mentioned this at around 10, it took more than 90 minutes to process the ten people in front of us.
I finally signed all the paperwork and got my new phone shortly before 12. Was it worth it? No, not really. I’d got up yesterday morning expecting to spend perhaps one or two hours in a queue. While I think the iPhone 3G is a great device, I wish I had those five hours of my life back.
If I had known at the beginning it would take so long, I don’t think I would have stuck around. When you’ve been waiting for a few hours, the front of the queue is getting so close, the staff tell you that processing is getting faster, it just ends up with people like me waiting around for much longer than we ever intended.