Okay, I have a confession. We were those crazy people in line at 5 am on Iphone 4 day. Not the crazy people in line at the Apple store on Iphone 4 day #1. We were the crazy people in line at 5 am on AT&T store Iphone 4 day #2 a week later. Either way, it was 5am and we felt crazy. Correction: we are crazy.
I guess a little back story could make us sound less crazy, or at least I can hope. Sol has always been a gadget nut. I think a large population of men are, I am just lucky I happen to have one that likes to look at gadgets, but doesn’t have the compulsion to buy every new toy on the market. Because he rarely acts on these gadget obsessions, I entertain his technology researching and fantasizing with an obligatory wifely interest. Occasionally he will fixate on a gadget that he will not let go, and the Iphone has been one of those gadgets since it’s inception in June of 2007. For a little over a year, I was convinced, bugged, pestered, (insert persuasive word here), etc. about how wonderful the Iphone was and how much it would change our lives. Well, after a year of building a comprehensive argument, paired with our repeated unhappiness with our Verizon family plan and service, I caved. 2 years ago, we officially became AT&T customers and proud Iphone owners. We joined the ranks of the people that I had teased about their dependence on their phones for an entire year. These people I teased included my sister and brother-in-law, that could not say “phone” without specifying “Iphone” i.e.: “Kell, will you hand me my Iphone?” “Hold on I have to answer my Iphone.” I thought it was funny then…I get it now. I caved, and now I am obsessed. We signed up for a family plan with two beautiful new Iphone 3G’s. I was so resistant for so long, but I am the first to admit that it has literally changed my life. It has saved me in emergencies, kept me in touch with loved ones when far away, provided unlimited information at my fingertips, supplied endless hours of entertainment, let me capture and share moments that would have previously gone uncaptured…it is POWERFUL, I am drunk with Iphone power. I am a junkie. I also went from a very angry Verizon customer to a very happy AT&T customer. With Verizon, we had standard issue phones that did nothing, had no data, no texting, no nothing. With AT&T, we are paying only 10 dollars more a month for a family plan that includes unlimited texting, data and the best phone ever. It only took me a few hours to realize that caving was the right choice, I was hooked.
Fast forward two years later. Our phones have stood the test of time, never failed us, and enhanced our lives in innumerable ways. The best perk of all of this? I have nary heard a peep about a new gadget from my gadget lovin’ husband since then…until recently. A few months ago he started talking about new phones, different phones, on different plans. I would be lying if I said I was paying attention all that carefully, Droid, HTC, blah blah blah, it sounded something like that. All I could make out of the conversation was “$$$$$$$$$”. New plans? New services? New contracts? I could see the dollar signs adding up. I liked AT&T, I liked my Iphone…I didn’t want to switch! This is where the great compromise of 2010 came in. While camping in early June, I came up with a brilliant proposal. We could satisfy Sol’s craving for a new gadget by upgrading to the shmancy new Iphone 4, while staying with our plan and service that we are very satisfied with. He was sold! But there was no hurry, they hadn’t even come out yet and there was nothing wrong with our phones. I figured that it would be a “sometime down the road” solution. Oh boy was I wrong. Once I agreed to the upgrade, Sol needed to figure out how to get that Iphone 4 in his possession as quickly as possible!
The Iphones came out on a Thursday, and on Friday afternoon we casually wandered into an Apple store in the late afternoon thinking there would just be a pile of untouched Iphones. Well of course, there wasn’t…why would there be? There had been lines for miles the day before of people waiting, crazy people, people that we would never be. We were told that they would be getting in the next shipment mid July, and that we could order them online and have them within a month or two. That sounded good to me, so we agreed to do that and went home. It only took a few hours before Sol’s wheels were turning again. AT&T would be getting a shipment the following Tuesday, an unknown amount arriving for AT&T customers on a first come, first serve basis. Sol suggested we be a couple of those “first served” people. At what point that I agreed to this scheme is unclear, but I finally came around. What encouraged my desire to participate was not the overwhelming need to have a new phone, like, right NOW…but my curiosity about this whole phenomenon. I have never waited in a line like this for anything, never been shopping on black Friday, never camped out for concert tickets. I don’t even like to go to the mall or Target on weekends because I don’t like waiting in a line 3 people deep for a dressing room. The idea of witnessing this kind of spectacle first hand was pretty fascinating to me, and I knew, even if we came home empty-handed, I would be able to say that I experienced this kind of frenzy. Plus, it’s summer, I’m a teacher and hey, I didn’t have much else to do!
So we had decided that we were going to show up to the AT&T store on Tuesday to score a couple sweet new phones, but now came the daunting task of deciding what was too early and what was not early enough. They opened at 7, so we first decided that we would get there at about 6:30. The more hype we heard, the more worried we got that 6:30 would not be early enough. AT&T was being super hush-hush about how many phones they were getting, they could have a shipment of 50, or 1,000- there was no way to tell. On Monday night we went to dinner at Allison and Mike’s. We drove by the Folsom AT&T store at 9pm on our way home, and there were already at least 15 people camped out in front of the store, several of them that had been there since 10 AM MONDAY MORNING! IN 100 DEGREE HEAT! We started to get a little worried that 6:30 was not early enough. Plus, if we were going to do this, we were going to do this. So we picked the time of 5 am, after a silly debate about how early was too crazy and how late was too late.
Tuesday morning we woke up at 4:30 and arrived at AT&T at 5. There were about 30 people in a sprawling line that wrapped around in front of Sports Authority. The line included businessmen, college kids, even a few junior highers with their dads. We set up camping chairs and began the task of entertaining ourselves. I worked on a friendship bracelet, and Sol made friends with a nice guy sitting next to us, and got out his laptop so they could watch “Funny People”. As soon as I arrived, I was instantly entertained with the whole idea of this early morning line, and our presence in it. Other bonuses? In the hot Sacramento heat, 5 am is apparently the only time of day that it is pleasant to be outside, and I got to witness my only sunrise of the summer. At about 6:30, the AT&T staff showed up, 20 lucky commission-receiving salesmen with a looonnnggg day ahead of them. I appreciated their enthusiasm and desire to “jazz” things up with games and contests while we waited in line, but the majority of the crowd wanted to sleepily pile into the store, get their phones, and go back to bed. (Or back home to play with their phones!) Sol was in a hula hooping contest, I played and won a game in which you toss a bean bag into a hole (I credited my many years of beer pong and washers in honing my ability to throw a small object into a hole) and scored a discounted accessory coupon. At 7am the doors opened, and the long line (which was now 2 or 3 times longer than when we had arrived) started to slowly move into the store. I was anticipating a free for all, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was extremely civil and well-organized. A sales person would come out one at a time to meet the next person in line, get the information about plan/service/upgrade/etc., walk them into the store, and begin the efficient buying process one on one. We were in and out with our fancy new Iphone 4s by 7:45.
Here are a few shots from “the line”: Front of the line
Back of the line: The kids behind us were watching Anchorman. I didn’t even have to be watching it, I’ve seen it so many times that I could envision every scene by just hearing it!
Entertaining myself by making a friendship bracelet for Kelley. The ticket was our “pass” to get a phone, only one ticket per person!
Since then? I have fallen in love with my new phone. It is faster, does way more cool “stuff”, has a much better camera, and much more reliable service. A few of my favorite things are that I can “Facetime” (Skype via phone- a novelty but SO much fun!), keep multiple apps open and switch in between them, and take HD videos. The first thing I did was Facetime with Kelley, who of course, had pre-ordered hers like a smart lady and was already in possession of it. She walked around my parents house showing me dogs and taking me to video chat with my parents. When she stuck it in my dad’s face, instead of being amazed by this cutting-edge technology, he said matter-of-factly “Britt, you should really shower before you video chat!” Leave it up to dad to put me in my place, lol.
The best part about this whole compromise? We bought our new phones for 200 dollars a piece, and sold our 2-year-old 3Gs on Craigslist for 180 dollars each. A TWENTY DOLLAR UPGRADE. I don’t get it, I totally don’t get it, but I’m going with it! Hopefully this awesome toy will pacify Sol’s gadget cravings for a little while, because I am definitely enamored with it.