When 9th in iPad 2 line can't get the one he wants

Reports are emerging that even those near the very front of iPad 2 lines at Friday's launch couldn't get the models they wanted.

I know that patience isn't everybody's thing. Friday, I wandered along early in the (my) morning to see how many people were lined up at the Apple store in Corte Madera, Calif.

It was the most civilized line I have ever seen, not unlike the one you'd see at Starbucks every morning. It was populated by those who might be described as being past the middle of their lives.

And yet, it seems, there was still no guarantee that these very nice people would actually get the iPad 2 that they were queuing for.

A most civilized line in Corte Madera, Calif. Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

A report in 9to5Mac, for example, describes how one enterprising man was ninth in line at the Century City Apple store in LA.

You might imagine that if you were ninth in line at a significant Apple store in a large city, you would be able to choose precisely the model that you were craving.

It seems not. For, in this case, the white 64GB models were already sold out. Yes, Verizon and AT&T. Worse, those who were around 30th in line reportedly weren't able to buy a 3G model at all. None. Of any kind.

LockerGnome's Chris Pirillo offered a video in which he complained that Best Buy simply didn't have any 3G iPads at all. And yet, he says, there was no way of knowing whether the store would or wouldn't.

You'd think that, in this socially networked world, there ought to be a better way for purchasers and stores to find mutual accommodation.

When I asked those at the front of the line in Corte Madera why they were prepared to sit all day, reading airport novels (albeit in nice little folding chairs), in a rather deserted shopping mall, they all told me the same thing.

They said that if they didn't sit and wait, it might be two weeks before they got the iPad 2 they wanted.

When I asked whether those two weeks really mattered, I was told that they didn't know, but it certainly mattered in the case of the iPhone 4. Why? Because they had one and their friends didn't.

Perhaps no one should be surprised by what people will do in order to feel that the Joneses are one step behind them.

But it might be advisable, even for those at the front of the line, to have first befriended--or, um, incentivized--the manager of their local Apple store, Best Buy, or other fine retailer. They might know something (though one Best Buy manager told me he had no idea until the product turned up at his store).

Otherwise, queuers might end up feeling like those fans who turned up at this year's Super Bowl, only to discover that, thanks to the NFL's incompetence, their seats weren't there.

 

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