So I got the notice my phone came in from AT&T via e-mail, which was pretty cool. They gave me the FedEx tracking number and everything, so I knew my phone was dropped off and signed for at 12:51 yesterday. They were supposed to call me, but I called them, kind of expecting them to take their sweet time to call me. I just had a hunch, given the slightly oily sleaze of the staff.
I got there, and there were some people in the store. Maybe only 5-6 people, but there were only two employees and the store is pretty small, so it felt crowded and cluttered. I knew that if I didn't stand in line right away, I'd be ignored. And only three people were in front of me, and all of them were in the same family. And they spoke the same language as the person at the register, and they were all cozy and chatting away. Meanwhile, their kid was simply obnoxious. He had an iPhone, and was playing the same Spanish Rap song ring tone, at full volume, over and over and over, and it was completely spazzing him out like he had eaten some FanTek Security Central espresso bean brownies or something. "MIRA MIRA MIRA!!!" he screamed, while showing his (I assume) father whatever was on the screen. Then he'd scream the lyrics, which I could only make out the words "hope," "future," and "silence." The mother (maybe) looked all of about 25, and was completely confused. She spoke Spanish VERY well, and by that, I mean she didn't slur her words together, which makes it hard for someone like me to translate. She couldn't make out the plans at all. The salesperson was trying to explain things to them, but she kept going, "Una momento, cuanto minutos? Cuanto?? No es problema, pero no entiende ..." and the husband would explain, the salesperson would correct him, then the women got confused again. I can relate. meanwhile, "MIRA MIRA MIRA!!!!!!!"
After about 15 minutes, the salesperson said, "Can I... help you?" Like you might if you were mowing your lawn, and a stranger just hung out in your driveway a little too long. By this point, I had been translating in my head so hard, I was thinking in broken Spanish, and had to snap back into English, and sounded like an idiot because my brain was trying to say, "Yo habe iphone... no, tu habes mi iPhone... is 'habes' even a word?"
"I... have iPhone, no, you... have iPhone waiting for me?"
I might as well have said, "I CAN HAZ IPHONE?"
I wish I'd fucking get over this problem and learn Spanish fluently. And Swedish. I know more Spanish than I do Swedish. Anyway...
The guy looks at me like I am completely retarded, and says, "I am sorry, but these people have four phones, and they are switching numbers and plans, and this will take a while. Why not go to Michael over there?"
There was another desk in the back, so I went there. There was a guy who had just gotten HIS iPhone for his teenaged son, and they had NO clue how an iPhone worked. I mean, yeah, I have been studying it for over a year, and reading Gizmodo reviews for the last month like a manifest, so I might have been ahead of the curve. But the son said, "I tried to connect to iTunes but it said they wanted a credit card. I don't have a credit card." The salesperson (who was really the assistant manager) looked at him angrily, and I am not sure why. I mean, that seems like a perfectly legitimate problem for a teenager. The father, who didn't speak English very well (I think he was Pakistani), was angry because the salesperson had earlier tried to tell him top enter HIS credit card number, and he was having none of that. He was angry this whole process had been so difficult, but the salesperson said, "Like I said, you can also buy an iTunes card, and sign on that way." And the debate continued.
Meanwhile, people came in and out of the store, and after a while, gave up because no one would help them or anything. The whole thing reminded me of the DMV. And the confused atmosphere with people milling about and all the foreign languages seemed like a small booth in a Calcutta bazaar.
Finally, the father-son anger tag team were satisfied enough with whatever to leave. They even shook hands. Then the assistant manager looked at me and said, "That guy's been waiting for half an hour for his iPhone," and pointing to a very talk and skinny man in a parking lot attendant polo shirt who had been milling about. The aisstant manager seemed upset I was in line.
"I was sent here by that guy..." I said. Why was I defensive? I was in retail. This guy is in a succky environment. If I was his manager... I would handle it with kindness... and a little manipulation.
"Oh, yeah... that family has been here for hours." I guess he was as sick of the kid as everyone else was. "I'll see you after this guy."
So I had to wait for the gentleman from Nairobi to get his iPhone. He was quick, because apparently he order this phone for his girlfriend, but didn't ask permission for something. I am not sure what it was, I was texting in boredom, but I think he got a phone before he asked questions about it, and now he wasn't sure if his girlfriend wanted an iPhone after all. So the assistant manager sent him away, stating the phone would be there for the next week when he found out what he needed to find out.
Then it was me! And I took 5 minutes. I already had an iTunes account, already paid for the phone, and already knew about the plan and rates. The Assistant Manager was nicer to me, but then again, I was very nice to him, and I felt he needed a break.
So the total time in the store was probably only 30-40 minutes, but it felt longer.
And I had an iPhone. And NO CASE! Crap. Okay, I ordered a case a while back, but it hasn't come in yet. So I must be reeealy reeely careful. The had some cases, but they were all $30-50, and even the assistant manager didn't think they were worth it at all. "If you already have a case coming in, use bubble wrap and rubber bands." Hah. "No, really, go to the Apple Store, get a cheap rubber case, and then you'll at least have something."
So, I spent most of last night setting it up. More on that later.