I went to an AT&T store recently to upgrade to an iPhone 6.
The very nice rep listened to my request, fell to the floor and rolled around with slightly maniacal laughter.
I paraphrase slightly, but he told me that Apple doesn't send AT&T many phones and he asked if I would like to order one that might arrive before Christmas.
It was almost as bad when I went to the Apple store.
"Well, we don't have any 128s. We only have gold 64s. We still have some 16s, though," said the lovely blue-poloed lady with a Scientological smile.
As I looked at her with the perplexed eyes of a drunken shrink, she insisted that, even though I might not realize it, gold was truly me.
It seems, however, that many Americans don't even expect to find a gold iPhone 6 during this holiday season. A survey has fallen before my eyes -- before it is even published.
It declares that 42 percent of the 1,004 people aged 18 and over surveyed believe that seeking an iPhone 6 for their loved ones is a complete waste of time. The phones won't be available, they said. 33 percent believe that looking for an iPhone 6 Plus is a waste of time too.
In fact 71 percent think that stores will run out of one gift or another, as harassed shoppers seek to assuage their own guilt by throwing money at it.
The research was performed by uSamp on behalf of 1010data, a big data company (well, a company dealing in big data) that claims to "analyze without boundaries."
You might think that the unavailability of desired items is no great boundary to happiness. However, 52 percent of these 1,004 people insisted that they'd experienced pain and suffering from a loved one who didn't get what they wanted.
20 percent said they'd received the sulky silent treatment. 18 percent claimed their failure to satisfy had been reported to friends and family (ah, the ease of Facebook). 10 percent revealed that gift failure had caused an argument.
And who cannot but despair for the 1 percent who said that failing to buy the right gift for their loved one brought an end to the relationship? Oh, surely the failure-to-gift must have related to an already existing failure-to-love.
Holiday shopping is also apparently associated with recurring nightmares of wares that disappeared in Christmases past. There was the infamous 1983 Cabbage Patch Kids shortage that still haunts 18 percent of these respondents.
16 percent muttered mournfully about 1996's Tickle Me Elmo debacle. 13 percent are still disturbed by the 2013 Playstation drought. And 32 percent are awakened at 3 a.m. by the spittle of ungracious children who .
Actually, I made that last one up -- well, the 32 percent figure. I bet it's higher.
But what can you do? You are at the mercy of Apple's supply chain -- or perhaps the company's occasional supply chain-yanking.
You are also at the mercy of those who believe that love can be expressed only through the right gift, rather than the right thought, the right hug or the right spelling of their name.
Christmas is for sharing. Unless what you share isn't what another greedy capitalist being desperately wants.