There's nothing like a hyped product launch to test an infrastructure and clearly those at Apple stores, O2 stores and Carphone Warehouse stores across the country weren't ready for the onslaught of the iPhone 3G. Earlier in the week the farcical online ordering service was a sign of things to come and the signs weren't good. Let me share my own experience.
On Monday I was one of many frustrated by the online ordering process. Having been woken up at 7:30am by a text alerting me that the online ordering process was about to begin, my laptop was up and running and waiting to begin in double quick time. Several hours and upgrade codes later no progress had been made. Current customers, including iPhone users, turned out to be the biggest losers with new customers seemingly encountering fewer problems.
This posed a problem for me. I'm an apathetic man at the best of times and the idea of queuing up at a store on a Friday morning didn't appeal, especially given the wonderful English summer rain we'd been experiencing. But professional and personal curiosity got the better of me, so I started to plan ahead.
After some consultation I decided upon The Carphone Warehouse store in Sunningdale, Berkshire. It was close and a small town less likely to be overrun by people. On Thursday I called ahead to check opening times and allocation. To my astonishment they offered to put one aside for me, whatever happened to first come serve? Only an idiot would say no, however, so I thanked them and was told they'd be open from 8:02.
Clearly excitement got the better of me as I woke up a full 15 minutes before my alarm. Not seeing the point of staying in bed I got dressed, jumped in the car and headed off. Arriving around 7:15am I was surprised to be the first there. I thought at least someone would have got there at stupid-o-clock, that person turned out to be me. Not wanting to be that person I pathetically hid in my car then jumped out when I saw the first person. I am ashamed.
By 8:00am a queue of around eight people had developed and finally someone arrived to open the store, or so we thought. We were told the store wouldn't be opening until 8:30, but then at 8:30 we were told it would be 9:00 because the manager had been delayed. Not best pleased, but nonetheless good humoured, we continued to chat and exchange opinions.