1 Obstacles to Getting a New iPhone | The Billfold

Obstacles to Getting a New iPhone

1. I was not excited enough about this phone to arrive at 6 a.m.

When I got on the line at 6 p.m., there was an employee chatting on his phone while I waited happily for about 15 minutes. Then he got off, and turned to me.

“Oh, the line actually starts upstairs.”

“But I’ve been here for 15 minutes, and no one said anything, and also there is a sign that says ‘iPhone Line Starts Here.’”

“Well it starts upstairs.”

Then he got back on his phone.

I went home.

2. I returned a few weeks later. After wandering around the store trying to make eye contact with employees as they walked away, I finally found someone willing to talk to me.

“Hi! I was hoping to get an iPhone 5, and I was wondering if you have any in stock.”

The employee eyed me with instant disdain. “Oh, you’ll have to buy that online. We don’t have any here.”

“Oh, sure! But I mean, I’ve been online, and I was just wondering if there’s a way to order it now and have it shipped to this store instead. I realize it will take a while, but this just seems easier.”

“No, you can only order it online.”

“So there’s literally no way for me to order it here, at this store, and have it shipped to this store, or to me?”

“No, you have to order it online. I mean,” and here he sighed with immense weariness, “I could walk you through ordering it online HERE, in the store, if you have to. But you should really just go online. It would be best if you just refreshed the site at 10 p.m. each night when you’re checking for stock.”

“So you’re telling me that even though I am here, Apple has literally no way for me to order a phone in this store, where you swipe my card, and then ship it to me, or this store?”


“And you want me to just go online every night at 10 p.m. to check the stock?”



I walked outside to my waiting husband. “WHAT IS THIS? HOW IS THIS SO IMPOSSIBLE?”

3. We went home, and I got on the computer, to order the phone. The Apple site promptly rejected my payment method, four times. I called my credit card company; nothing was amiss. I tried again, to no avail. I had my husband confirm I was typing the numbers correctly; still nothing. I gave up.

4. I did not check the iPhone stock every night at 10 p.m., but when I saw that there was one available for in-store pickup while playing around with the online cart on a lark, I went ahead and ordered it. The site took my credit card, and there was much rejoicing.

At the Apple store, the salesgirl assigned to help me set it up and kindly showed me how to input my email address and other information, which I consistently and terribly screwed up. As her eyes glazed over from watching me operate basic technical equipment with the skill of a toddler with delayed hand-eye coordination, I felt vindicated.


Abby Dalton  lives in Massachusetts with her husband and her cat, and occasionally blogs about money. Photo: Khawkins04


5 Comments / Post A Comment

Vesna@twitter (#2,738)

Can you only order it through Apple? Why not through [Insert American telecom company here]? I ordered mine through my service provider [Canadian telecom company]. I was put on a reserve list, waiting for the next shipment. They told me what number I was in the line. I got it in less than two weeks. Buddy from the telecom company set it up, I started using it 20 minutes later.

I love, love, love my new iPhone. I tried to be upset over the amount of money I plonked down for it but then I just accepted that I love my smart phone and all I do with it.

megsy (#1,565)

@Vesna@twitter I’m pretty sure you would need to unlock (is jailbreak the right word here, techy people?) your phone to switch it around to different companies – my Telus phone doesn’t automatically work on Rogers, for example. By getting it at the Apple store you don’t have to worry about any of that. Or being tied into a contract.

Maladydee (#909)

@Vesna@twitter – Unlock is the term you are looking for. You give your current cellphone provider money, and then they unlock the phone, which allows you to take it to whichever provider you feel like. Phones bought from the apple store directly are unlocked right from the get-go. The best reason to do this is if your current cellphone provider doesn’t actually offer the iphone (or samsung galaxy or whatever phone you are lusting after) and if you don’t want to buy out your contract to switch companies.

Jailbreaking is something you do to the phone yourself. The quick n’ dirty explanation is that you are altering the phone’s operating system to do things it’s not meant to do, and there are a wide range of jailbreaks, for different purposes, most commonly to get apps without paying for them. They all void the warranty, but usually you can factory reset your phone with no harm, no foul, if you have to. There is a rare situation where you can permanently turn your phone into an apple-branded brick, if you have jailbroken it and then try to run an update on it without factory resetting it first, but that is uncommon. There is probably a jailbreak that unlocks your phone. I know there are jailbreaks that allow you to tether for free.

readyornot (#816)

Well, if the suffering of the Apple employee makes for vindication, then perhaps the long misery of a PC user can make for triumphant self-satisfaction. The last time I bought a new laptop, I bought it on the web to take advantage of some discounts and get exactly the specifications I wanted. The shipping address didn’t verify for some weird reason, so two order cancellations, a dozen calls to Lenovo, a dozen calls to my bank, multiple three-party calls, countless hours on hold, and THREE WEEKS later, the computer finally shipped. It was such a nightmare.

skip2mylou (#2,806)

@readyornot The same thing happened to me – only after I finally got the Lenovo this weekend, I used it for one day and the wireless radio switch quit working and I had to send it away for repairs. Let’s see how long that takes. Curses!

Comments are closed!