When you consider the type of individual that works for a tech company such as Point2, certain assumptions are usually made. For example, most people would generalize that Point2 employees are the type of people who are incredibly passionate about what they do, thrive on consistent innovation, and have a deep understanding of technology as it relates to business. However, it is this combination of passion, quest for innovation, and tech knowledge that leads to what some would consider an unpleasant side effect – an unbridled gadget lust that borders on obsession.
Think about it, all of us here at Point2 are so engaged with technology on a day-to-day basis that any shiny new widget that could theoretically improve productivity (or just make us look awesome) is pined for in the worst way. It comes as no surprise then that when Apple announced that its iPhone 3G was coming to Canada via Rogers on July 11th, almost all employees marked their (Outlook) calendars for the special day and planned to make provisions in order to purchase one. However, as launch day approached the more astute amongst us realized that supply and demand were not in our favor; there was simply going to be far too few phones available to fill the demand that was ignited, especially since they would not be sold online or in Apple stores. Realizing this, there was only one course of action left to guarantee a phone – the infamous “camp out”, which myself and two other Point2 employees participated in, and as such are now the new owners of shiny new iPhone 3Gs.
Now let me set one thing straight. Even the most diehard gadget-nerd will tell you that any purchase worth camping-out for, be it an iPhone, a Nintendo Wii, or Boxing Day sales at your local Best Buy will not restore the small part of your dignity that you will lose when you camp out. The realization usually comes when you are sitting in a lawn chair outside a store in the middle of the night and all of a sudden think to yourself “I could be asleep in my bed right now!” or “I’m doing all this just for _____?” Just think about it this way, do you know anyone that actually wears their camp-out experience as a badge of honor? Most people simply would rather lie and say that they just walked into a store and purchased their new gadget rather than admit to camping out when they are showing it off to their peers.
It is with this reasoning in mind that over the course of my roughly 4 hour wait I endeavored to keep a live blog of events in hopes of chronicling my quest for an iPhone and the camping process, so anyone that feels inclined to go out and get a new iPhone 3G will know what they are getting themselves into. So without further ado:
6:30AM – Alright! Today is the day! I am getting up super early so I can go into work and get some stuff done before I go wait in line at the local Rogers store (conveniently located right across the street from our office in a mall), which opens at 9:30AM – after ten more minutes of sleep.
6:40AM – I have officially decided the snooze button is the worst invention ever.
7:05AM – OK, after a quick shower, grooming, and a bagel I am out the door and ready to face the day.
7:15AM – Made it to work and am going to get as much stuff done before I head over to Rogers, even though I cannot really concentrate since I am constantly looking out the window to see if a line has formed yet.
7:43AM – Line status: One solitary individual.
8:15AM – Line status: Two more people have showed up, and judging by their attire I would not be at all surprised if they bust out a cardboard square and start break-dancing – oh to be young again!
8:50AM – Well the time has come to grab my jacket and assume my place in the orderly queue across the way.
9:00AM – Boy is my face red. It turns out that the people outside the mall are just kids milling about waiting for a bus. After figuring this out I tried the door to the mall and found it unlocked, so I walked in where upon I found the actual line, which consists of approximately 10 people. I sure hope there are enough iPhones for everyone.
9:02AM – So after walking to the back of the line I realize that the two guys in front of me both work for Point2 as well. We start talking and realize that everyone in the line except me is either a software developer or a computer science student – best keep my status as Marketing Coordinator to myself lest I become the line pariah.
9:20AM – The two people that work for Rogers have shown up. They take one look at our little queue and seem less than enthused at the prospect of having to be this busy so early in the morning.
9:30AM – The store is open, and one of the employees comes out to tell us how this is going to work. It seems they are going to take four people into the store at a time and when they are done, they will signal the next four to come in – makes sense to me.
9:35AM – The same employee comes outside to tell us that everyone logging into the Rogers administrative tool across the country has effectively crashed the system and the iTunes activation process is down worldwide. He thanks us for our patience and assures us it will not take too long. A collective groan escapes from the line, which I’m sure must have sounded like a great beast howling in pain.
9:36AM – And now we play the waiting game.
9:40AM – Seeing as this line is comprised of society’s most computer savvy elements, a lengthy discussion is started in which we speculate about what type of hardware and software that Rogers is using to process its orders, and various ways to optimize the server load. Being the least computer literate of the bunch, this discussion sounds vaguely McGuyer-esque. It seems to me that given the opportunity this whole mess could be sorted out if we only had some string, a paperclip and a toothpick.
10:20AM – The first cracks in our line’s façade have started to show as two people pack up and leave. They explain that they can’t spend all day waiting around and that they have more important things to do. We bid them farewell and exchange pleasantries, but I know in back of everyone’s mind they are thinking “good, less people between me and the prize”.
10:45AM – My Point2 cohorts and myself have come to the realization that this entire process is an exercise in opportunity cost! The marginal cost of buying the next person in lines spot is significantly less the forgone cost of missing work. I theorize that if I buy the next three peoples spots in order to move up the line I can get my phone faster and make it up by going back to work quicker than if I wait it out – now if I only had access to an ATM.
10:51AM – I cannot believe we didn’t think of this sooner! The other guys from Point2 have decided that it doesn’t make much sense for us all to wait in line together when we could be getting work done. Therefore, two of us will wait in line and hold the spots while the one can go back to the office and get something done. Luckily, thanks to my prowess at paper-rock-scissors (the secret is rock, but don’t tell anyone) I get to go back.
11:00AM – Back at the office. Now to be productive while I wait for the call to resume my duties in the trenches.
12:05PM – Received a frantic call from the guys still in line, it looks like the administrative tool is back up and running and they are starting to process people through and they can’t hold my place much longer. I grab my keys and bolt for the door.
12:15PM – Back in line, just as the other guys are just about to be let into the store – talk about close! I happen to glance back and see the despairing looks that everyone else is giving me for my perceived line-cutting. I then have to go into a sheepish explanation about how they were holding my spot, and as I turn back around I can almost feel the sting of the various daggers being stared into my back.
12:30PM – Made it into the store and am promptly greeted by a Rogers employee smugly remarking “been waiting long?” I come very close to having to physically restrain one of the other guys from assaulting said employee.
12:33PM – Beginning the process of setting up my account with Rogers and choosing a voice and data plan. One of the Rogers employees tells me to go with the “Joey plan”, appropriately named after himself of course. I sarcastically tell him I’d rather take the “Chris plan” where upon he looks confused and references the plan chart to see what I am talking about – ugh.
12:40PM – Everything is all signed and the mythical iPhone is brought out of the stock room and presented to me. I feel as though a choir of angels should be breaking into song right about now.
12:41PM – I walk out of the store with my shiny new iPhone in hand, feeling like the kind of the world. All of a sudden a wave of dread sweeps over me as I realize that Murphy’s Law dictates that I should be mugged at any moment.
1:00PM – Well that is the end of my adventure; I am back at the office and prepping for this afternoons work. Now I just have to wait another four hours before I can actually go home and play around with my new purchase – that may actually prove harder than what I have just endured…or not.
Also, check out next month’s issue of The Point Online for a complete review of the iPhone 3G, tips and tricks to get the most out of your iPhone, as well as a rundown on some of the early real-estate centric apps that have been developed.