Obstacles to Getting a New iPhone

by Abby Dalton

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

Support The Billfold

The Billfold continues to exist thanks to support from our readers. Help us continue to do our work by making a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time-only contribution through PayPal.