My iPhone 3G experience started this morning at about 5:50 AM, when I left my dorm to get an iPhone 3G. I hiked over to the Montclair Transcenter and picked up the 6:30 OmniTrans Route 66 bus heading Eastward. At about 7:05, I stepped off the bus, thinking I was there. Unfortunately, I was at another bus stop in front of a Best Buy with a gas station next to it — about a mile and a half shy of the Victoria Gardens Mall, where the Apple and AT&T stores were. A half-hour of hiking later, and I was there.
I passed by the AT&T store, which had about 20 people in line in front of it. However, I have a terrible history with AT&T customer service, so I figured I'd go to the Apple store. I was #45 in line at the Victoria Gardens Apple Store, next to a nice guy named Matt who was reading Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World". It was 7:43 A.M. now, and the Apple store was set to open at 9:00.
At about 8:25, an Apple store employee came out to ask us if we had any questions. Now, some background. I am on a Family Talk plan, with my Mum as the primary. I called AT&T last week to see what I would have to do to get an iPhone, and they instructed me to have my mother add me as an "Authorized User" on our account, then it would be smooth sailing. I did this. Now, I tend to be an unsure fellow, so I asked the Apple store employee whether I had done the right thing. I had, apparently, not. According to this employee, Apple would not activate any phones purchased without the account primary present. Seeing as how my mum is about 3000 miles away right now, that's not really feasible. I got a bit huffed, as you might imagine. He said that I should try the AT&T store, although he wasn't sure whether they actually had any iPhones in stock.
So, frustrated, I headed over to the AT&T store, where the line had grown to about 45 people. I begrudgingly stepped to the back of the line, where I chatted with a nice woman named Angel who, apparently, works Customer Service at a casino. After a couple of minutes, the store manager came out to see if anybody had any questions. I flagged him down and explained my situation. After a moment's thought, he told me that it'd be no problem, and I could purchase my iPhone. Score one for AT&T.
At almost exactly 9:00, the AT&T store opened up its doors and started taking people four at a time (there were only four non-managerial employees, from what I could see). I was a bit worried that they wouldn't have any in stock when I got there, but the friendly manager assured me that they would. As I crept up the line (enjoying complimentary ice water, score another for AT&T), the manager kept taking head counts and assuring us that he still had iPhones in stock.
Finally, I reached the front of the line. Lo, they still had iPhones in stock! Admittedly, they were out of 16G models, but that's okay with me. A four minute transaction later, and I had my new iPhone 3G. Contrary to popular opinion, AT&T did an excellent job of customer service, and Apple sucked royally.
Next up: Activation