Almost a fiasco…

Saturday morning I discovered that my local Apple Store had in stock availability of their new flagship, iPhone X. I wouldn’t usually venture anywhere near a mall two days after Thanksgiving, but the desire for new and shiny tech got the better of me. Stunningly, I arrived five minutes after the mall opened and parked within 20 yards of the door. It seems that their “holiday hours” are poorly advertised and almost no one realized they were opening an hour early. Fine by me.

I was an AT&T cellular customer since back in the mists of time when they were known as Cingular. I was generally a satisfied customer, too – until I moved to Fortress Jeff, which is located in a black hole of their coverage map. I could make and receive calls over wifi, but when wifi was down, my cell was pretty much an expensive paperweight. Unacceptable. With this change of phone, I wanted to make the jump to Verizon, who neighbors promised had at least a bar or two of coverage even the local power and cable is out. It happens more often than you’d imagine out here at the end of the transmission line.

Without going into details, I’ll just say that AT&T, Verizon, and Apple corporate policies all threw up roadblocks to converting from the Apple Upgrade Program under AT&T to the same program under Verizon. The guy I was working with, though, was an absolute bulldog and took the problems first to the floor manager, who was as confounded as we were. The floor manager then elevated the issues through two layers of management “in the back.” Finally they decided there was actually no way to get from Point A to Point B using existing policy and procedures. That’s they point where one of them decided “we’re going to break the rules” to make the sale.

I can’t say for sure if any rules were broken, but if the number of Apple employees standing around looking concerned while they fiddled with various entries on their tablet is any sign, they were certainly doing something unusual. In the end it took six people and almost an hour to make the sale.

It wasn’t quick and it wasn’t seamless, but in the end I walked away with exactly what I wanted. I appreciate that level of tenacity when the easy answer was “we can’t.” I appreciate it even more when I’ve got two bars of service when the wifi’s off. Well done, Apple. It’s a wonderful lesson for other business out there that customer services really, truly doesn’t have to suck.

Live… from my kitchen…

iPhone release day is typically one of the highest traffic days of the year here at jeffreytharp.com. Then again on a fair number of those days I was standing in line using the blog as a time killer at 4AM more than anything else. Lots of pictures. Lots of updates. It was just something to do to pass the time that didn’t require “making new friends” with the people on my left and right.

FullSizeRenderWith Apple again offering home delivery on release day, I opted t stay home and follow the whole event from the comfort of my kitchen table. So…. if you’re checking in to see what kind of foolishness is happening over in the line at Christiana Mall, you’ll need to find a different huckleberry this year.

I’ll spare you the constant updates this year since what I’m doing to pass whatever time now between me and delivery are such exciting events as paying bills, washing dishes, and running the vacuum cleaner.

In the spirit of my heroic live blog of past years, I give you the following:

7:21AM – My iPhone 6 traveled overnight from Harrisburg to Philadelphia and arrived in Newark, DE last night at 2:41AM. It loaded onto a UPS panel truck at 5:47 AM and send out into the world for delivery. All that’s left now is the waiting.

8:40AM – A moment of hope for an early delivery. Sadly, the squeal of breaks and rumble of a diesel engine at the end of the driveway turned out to be a school bus.

10:10AM – First pot of coffee finished.

12:01PM – Soup.

1:24PM – I’m going to cut the grass… in hopes that UPS will try to sneak up on me while I’m distracted.

1:48PM – UPS delivers to guy two doors down… and then drives off in the opposite direction.

2:02PM – Delivered.

Just another launch day live blog

4:37a – Well folks, here we go. Up and moving, getting caffeinated, and prepping to head over to Delaware for my tax free shopping fix. Starting to see some reports from the earlier time zones coming out and it sounds like it’s another winner. I’ll be uploading pics, general impressions, and plenty of snarky comments from the beautiful Christiana Mall Apple Store this morning. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy bringing it to you.

4:42a – I think it’s cute that Apple sent me an email letting me know that “The new iPad is here”. Wow. Thanks for the heads up on that. Maybe I’ll trundle on over to the Apple Store and check it out. You’d think by now they’d know me well enough not to have to send the marketing.

5:17a – It’s go time. Hope the real die hards kept me a place in line.

5:59a – DE State Police are running crowd control. Big, big crowd.

20120316-060047.jpg

6:16a – DSP is randomly pulling people out of the crowd and putting them in line. No apparent organization or plan from Apple to manage people. Not good.

6:27a – 3-400 people in the main line.

20120316-063030.jpg

6:30a – What the line looks like if you pre-ordered for personal pick up.

20120316-063140.jpg

That’s right, who’s 4th in line. This guy right here.

20120316-070114.jpg

7:30a – 12 people in the personal pick up line. All very civilized. The other line, not so much. Lots of Apple employees and troopers yelling at people. Good times.

7:37 – sadly, I just turned down an offer to be interviewed by the Wilmington local news station. Sorry to disappoint.

20120316-073829.jpg

7:49a – This crowd is stooooopid. Lines completely out of sight now. Lucky to be in line with some fun guys. Making this enjoyable.

20120316-075820.jpg

7:59a – in my hand and out the door.

8:02a – Here are a few shots on the way out. Stay tuned for the review.

20120316-080338.jpg

20120316-080350.jpg

20120316-080409.jpg