I’d written up this long, convoluted post about my travails trying to get an iPad, but by the time I’ve gotten around to posting it… I finally got an iPad. I guess I’ll recount the story anyway.
Let’s rewind to Saturday, April 3rd, the very first day of iPad sales. As you may recall, it was at that point that I started saying, “I want an iPad.”
Saturday: We went into the Best Buy on Camelback road at around 8:00PM and, although the store wasn’t terribly busy, there was still a cluster of people around the Apple mini-store. There were 4 iPads on display, all of them was being tested by children. A small group of people were standing by hoping to get to play with them.
One teenager, the oldest, seemed the most oblivious, so I came and stood right next to him and made a big production out of trying to watch everything he was doing. He was still oblivious.
After about 5 minutes, his parents and a couple other kids came over, he then started to explain the iPad to them in great detail. After two or three minutes of him gushing on, his mom said, “Have you been on this the entire time since we left you?”
She looked at me, “Are you waiting to try this?”
…and she kicked him off and gave him a bit of an earful. Good for her.
While I’d been waiting, I’d noticed that people were actually buying iPads – they weren’t out of stock.
I played around with it and came to my somewhat surprised conclusion. (Which I’ve documented elsewhere) I went and got Irene and the kids and, after a little wait, got them onto an iPad. Moments after Irene said, “I want one.” I checked with the Apple guy who told me they had a “couple left” of each of the models; however, Irene wasn’t quite ready to buy.
We went home, leaving that damned teenager once again reattached to the iPad and giving his family a lecture.
On the way how we thought about it. We considered turning back. Best Buy closed in under 30 minutes. We just had time… but… we didn’t.
We went home to check to see if there were any government employee discounts. There aren’t.
We checked to see of there are any educator discounts. There aren’t.
Amazon hasn’t got them, so there’s no tax-free option.
Basically, if we wanted an iPad, there’s no option save for paying the $499 + tax.
I checked online and realized that Best Buy was closed on Easter. That meant that whatever stock they had at closing time Saturday would still be there at opening time on Monday. I hatched my cunning plan: An early lunch, timed to arrive exactly when Best Buy opened and an iPad would be mine!
Other obstacles got in the way, but ultimately, I found myself pulling into the parking lot of Best Buy, 5 minutes before they opened, fully expecting to walk in, straight to the iPads and buy one before they had a chance to run out.
Apparently, 40 other people had that idea, too, because there were that many people standing at the door waiting for it to open… and so I didn’t get an iPad. Again.
Tuesday: At lunch, John and I went to the Apple Store at the Biltmore. They have many more iPads on display and, just as at Best Buy the other day, Could see that people were buying and leaving with them. I decided to buy one right then and there. When I finally got the Apple Store employee’s attention (they were very busy) I learned that they didn’t have any 16GB models left, just 32s and 64s. I won’t be too harsh on him, but he indicated first that they got less 16s than the others and that people were realizing that 16 just wasn’t enough. I felt like I was being given a very direct suggestion that I should buy a bigger iPad; however, that’s not in the cards. The 16 is absolutely the most I can possibly afford
The Apple Store guy had no idea of when the next shipment would be in.
Friday: I had read on Thursday that people who had pre-ordered their iPads and didn’t get an April 3 delivery date, began receiving notices that their iPads were winging their way out of China. Figuring that Apple would no doubt also getting more stock at this time, I decided to try again. The kids had a half day at school and so I left work at lunchtime and still had an hour to go before picking up the kids. I stopped in the Apple Store and the same guy was there. I asked again about the 16s and the answer was negative. “Just 30 minutes ago we got a truck load of 32s and 64s, but not 16s. They don’t tell me how many we’re getting, what types or when they’ll arrive.”
Discouraged, but still with about 45 minutes to kill, I started playing with the iPads on display. 5 minutes later a female Apple Store employee came up to me and said, “Excuse me, [Apple Sore guy] (indicating the guy I’d previously spoken to) tells me you’re interested in a 16GB iPad.”
“Yes”, I said.
“I’ve got good news. 3 minutes ago a truck pulled up with a shipment of 16GB iPads.”
…and so I have an iPad, but not before she really put the hard press on me to buy… MobileMe (which would have extended my existing subscription out to about 3 years), AppleCare for the iPad (even if you want an extended warranty, you don’t need to buy it until 1 year has nearly passed), a case and/or docking accessories.
I existed the store 5 minutes later with nothing except an iPad.
I’ll post some thoughts on it tomorrow, but for now, the whole family is really enjoying it: Except when I have to fight to get to use it, that’s already becoming a problem.